|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions||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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
One other new feature is the Boost Medals. These are earned from boss battles and found throughout the game. They do exactly as they imply, they give you a boost during gameplay. Whether it is combat damage, more defense, etc., these little things can usually swing an obvious failed boss battle into an easy victory. A returning favorite, as far as the boosts, is the teaming of the characters. Going with an all X-Men team can give you a boost in stamina, and an all female team of femme fatales can give you a boost in attack. These were hidden boosts from the first game and it is great to see them present this time around.
In addition to the impressive cast of characters already mentioned in the game, there are other NPCs in the game which add to the dynamic storyline, just like how the first entry used NPCs to add more texture to the game. Characters like Patriot from the Young Avengers and Bishop from the X-Men, along with many others, will help move the story forward and give a few fan nuggets of appreciation. Their voices don't always match up to the character, but the delivery isn't completely horrible. While the lines are traditional, over-the-top comic character dialogue, there are a few exceptions - most notable are Captain America and Iron Man. This is fitting since it is their sides from which you will be choosing. Even though they too have the over-the-top dialogue from time to time, their delivery never really makes you fall out of the current scene.
This brings me to probably my favorite part of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2: the cinematics. While I can admit I love cinemas in-game, after all I am an MGS fan, the first Ultimate Alliance didn't have quite as many as I would have hoped. The second game makes up for that. What is even better this time around are the scenes ripped right out of the comic books. The physical movements of certain scenes with the next-gen graphics will make any fan happy. The in-game graphics are a step above the first title, but there are a few noteworthy blemishes. Occasionally there's a lag in the performance. This wouldn't be a big deal if a few of those instances didn't have to do with you trying to avoid incoming fire from a boss. The only other major complaint also stems from the boss battles. At times, with all of the chaos of everyone using their special abilities, you can loose sight of the character you are controlling. Again, not a truly horrendous thing, just more of an annoyance at those certain times.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, it just tightens a few of the lug nuts. This works wonderfully in its favor. Adding a new gameplay mechanic that you don't have to rely on in order to enjoy the same type of game you already experienced will make purists happy. Continuing the online functionality introduced with the first title doesn't harm the game either. There are way too many similar features in this title to not enjoy it, ranging from the trivia questions, the simulator missions, and the ditching of the need to have a save location to save or change out characters will increase repeat playthroughs. With the possibility of future fan favorite characters coming as DLC, Ultimate Alliance 2 could potentially have all of the Marvel Universe characters under one title. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance does nearly everything right with its second outing with one exception: not enough Stan Lee cameos.
CCC Project Coordinator