Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Review4.052009-11-06 13:07:54Maura SWhen compared to the likes of the recent Clone Wars Republic Heroes, a game that was so bad it made you want to gnaw your own arm off with frustration, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 shows how a popular licence should really be handled on the Wii. Itís not the most awe-inspiring or ground-breaking game youíll ever play, thatís for sure, but it faithfully represents the much-loved Marvel universe, and by doing the simple things right it ends up being a really enjoyable old-school style brawler with some truly impressive set pieces and showdown boss battles as well as a gripping storyline.
At the start of the game, you find yourself controlling one of a four-member team of Marvel Super Heroes as they attempt to storm Castle Doom in Latveria. You can either play on your own, with the other characters being controlled by AI, or have three of your friends join you. At certain save points you will be able to swap in new characters from a pool of those youíve already unlocked. There are 24 Marvel characters to unlock through the course of the game in all, including the likes of Blade, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool and Daredevil, although you wonít get to play as all of them because of the plot twist in the middle of the game, where, without giving too much away, youíll be asked to pledge your allegiance to one of two factions, either Pro-Registration, defending national security, or Anti-Registration, fighting for personal freedoms.
The gameplay is basically just lots of linear exploring and frequent brawling, with the odd simple puzzle thrown in. Provided you have enough Fusion Power you can join together with your three teammates and unleash devastatingly spectacular Fusion special attacks such as Billiard Ball and Collect and Smash. Generally the controls are easy to use, although most of the time youíll probably opt for melee combat moves rather than the slower special moves. One of the better moves that youíll learn at a certain point is to grab enemies and shake the Remote to steal their weapons and beat them with them. Very satisfying!
Clearly a lot of work has gone into depicting each individual character as accurately as possible, so that you really do feel as if youíre playing as a genuine Marvel legend, not just a generic video game character. For example, when controlling Hulk, you really feel the weight and bulk of him: heís much slower than the others to move, but he also packs the heaviest punch. Needless to say, itís a complete blast running around as Hulk and smashing things up! In contrast, Wolverine is much faster and lighter on his feet, and his claw slashes are more precise and deadly. The same goes for the rest of the characters: each of them has their own special signature moves, and most of them will be called on to use their unique power at some point in the game.
As far as the graphics go, well obviously the Wii version canít compare to the PS3 and Xbox 360, but it certainly pushes the Wii as far as it can go, with plenty of detail in the interiors in particular, and some jaw-dropping FMV cutscenes. The many explosions, crashes, bashes and flashes all look suitably OTT and eye-ball singeing, so you donít feel like youíre missing out too much on the greater graphical detail.
And of course, what the Wii lacks in terms of ultra-lush graphics, it makes up for with the inventive ways in which the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used to solve puzzles, such as shaking the Remote from side to side to lift up rocks to rescue trapped civilians, or to topple a statue. Possibly the only aspect of the control system that didnít seem to work too well was using the C button on the Nunchuk to jump, which feels a bit unwieldy, especially in the middle of a frenzied battle.
While Marvel: Ultimate Aliance 2 certainly wonít win any awards for game of the year, if youíre into seeing some of your favourite Marvel characters beating the kryptonite out of everything that does and doesnít move, driven by a typically grandiose plot, you could do a lot worse than give this one a go.