|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: n-Space||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 15, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
The great Marvel pantheon of heroes is once again tapped in this latest action RPG from Activision. Developed by n-Space for PS2, does this last-generation sequel to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance live up to its predecessor's might, or do these superheroes suffer ultimate defeat?
Simply entitled Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, this next entry in the series pits some of your favorite Marvel personalities against a fictional terrorist threat. Nick Fury heads up a rag-tag collection of heroes, including Iron Man, The Hulk, Wolverine, and quite a few others, and though the story is a bit slow to take off, things eventually do get pretty interesting.
The tale is told through a generous number of cutscenes planted strategically throughout the game, but unfortunately, poor optimization stymies almost every aspect of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 on PS2. The dialogue coincides nicely with what comic book fans are used to, and the story takes a few interesting turns here and there. A chuggy framerate and abhorrently long load times, however, suck the life out of what might have otherwise been a very entertaining ride through the Marvel universe.
Story and presentation aside, Alliance 2 doesn't put its best foot forward in terms of gameplay, either. You've got a respectable variety of heroes to choose from; each with his or her own unique abilities, but the game is more of a brawler on valium than a worthwhile action RPG.
The gameplay is broken up into missions, and your team, at any given time, is comprised of four heroes. Regardless of which hero you choose to play as, you'll mostly be performing a lot of fisticuffs, with a few special-power moves thrown in to form simple combos. Both the ally and enemy A.I. have their good and bad points, but collision and hit detection are wonky, regardless.
To the credit of your allies, they'll make liberal use of their special powers and usually run off to attack any nearby enemies without having to be prompted by your lead. On the flipside, your hero buddies will often get stuck on environmental objects or run in circles, making themselves completely useless at times due to terrible pathing.
Enemies don't fare much better, either. It's not uncommon to see foes stand idly by until you're right up in their face, and even then they'll sometimes walk right past you without a care. Other times, enemies will completely disregard your teammates in favor of mobbing you instead.
The hero selection available to you is quite varied, and the arsenal of superpowers is pretty impressive as well. Controls are mapped a little awkwardly, though, with jump/fly being assigned to the triangle button. There's a lot to keep track of, as well, in terms of combined attacks, using special powers and switching out characters on the fly. In spite of these minor complaints, character movement and control feels adequate in light of the game being presented as an RPG of sorts.