Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Review

Posted: October 27, 2009 in Uncategorized
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I’m only a casual video game player nowadays, so I’m excited to write a game review. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 adapts the Secret Wars and Civil War story arc, from writers Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Miller.

The action starts immediately and in the first level you’re on a secret mission in Latveria with Nick Fury, who fights along side you. Dr. Doom, Latveria’s usual leader, died at the events of last game, but you run afoul of it’s new leader. The next level features the repercussions of that, followed by the Civil War story.

The Civil War comic story is that a team of young superheroes is fighting some villains, and massive human casualties, including children, result. The government passes a law saying all heroes must register with the government or be arrested. Tony Stark leads the charge for registration, and Captain America leads a force against it. Basically a superhero civil war occurs, with some villains getting into the mix as well.

At this part of the game you choose which side to be on, the pro or anti-registration sides. Each side has a few exclusive heroes and has it’s own story. However both sides have the same final levels, The ending in a way is better, or at least makes more sense, that the actual comic.

Once you beat one side you can play on the other, but you have to start from the very beginning. I played the pro-reg side first, thinking it would be easier. I was disappointed to see the anti-side was almost the same story anyway. The levels we’re about the same, in both sides for example, you fight against a giant character. (Goliath for pro, Yellowjacket for anti) Plus upon beating it you can play as any character the second time around. Meaning Iron Man can fight on the anti-reg side against Iron Man. This made for some interesting screen shots. I was also disappointed that only two villains, (not counting Deadpool) Green Goblin and Venom, were playable. I would have liked Bullseye or Taskmaster or several others. The Punisher is sadly absent, though he is mentioned. As in MAU1, Nick Fury is playable once you beat it. There’s more about him but I’d have to ruin the story.

While I’ve been out of touch with video games I’ve heard through the grape vine that, while games are much more expansive these days, they just aren’t as hard as they used to be. This is for a number of reasons. I have to say MAU2 is harder than its predecessor. First time through I played on the hardest level, during which most of the henchmen we’re easy, (Except the last two levels) but some of the bosses were tough. Upon beating the hardest mode a legendary mode is unlocked, which is pretty difficult all around. The Fusion powers are really cool and you really need them. MAU1 was pretty easy, but it did have a few bosses where you really had to figure out what to do, as opposed to just straight combat. While MAU2 was harder I did miss this component. Also the final boss wasn’t really that hard.

The game play is about the same as the first. You can save and switch characters from any point so that’s cool. I think the use of characters is balanced out better. In MAU1 I unlocked Daredevil while in Asgard. Cool, but what good is Daredevil against Frost Giants and Loki? In this game you mostly fight soldiers and robots, so all characters are useful. Like the first one Thor, Iron Man, and Wolverine are really good. Cap seems a little worse. Deadpool is fantastic to use, and is so funny. Stan Lee’s cameo is fantastic. Unique conversations are back and each conversation has an Aggressive, Diplomatic, and Defensive response. They don’t change the game but give little tidbits of info and bonuses are given for each attitude. Team bonuses are present but there didn’t seem to be as many named teams this time.

Most of what I didn’t like, besides what I’d mentioned, are little things. MAU1 had tons of extra costumes, that’s good. But using each costume was almost like a new character, as it had its own stats to build. That’s bad. MAU2 was not like this, that’s good. But each character only had one extra costume, that’s bad. (You got Spidey’s Armor costume too.) Nick Fury however did not seem to have a second costume……. that’s bad. Simulator discs were present but were more training exercises than actual missions fighting other villains like the first game. They did seem easier too, but I’d say that’s bad. (MAU1 discs were REALLY hard though) There was also hidden art which I didn’t care for. Adding to the story were audio discs where you’d hear conversations or news-reports advancing the story. These were at such random places though, video game logic aside it didn’t make sense. They should have been at the bases or something like that. The trivia game returned. MAU1 had lots of expository dialogue to help you. This game had hidden files that you had to read. Forget I’m a teacher for a moment and let me say who wants to read files in a video game!?!

 Many years ago I thought how cool would it be to have a Marvel comics video game, with tons of playable characters and levels all over the Marvel Universe. That was MAU1. The sequel’s goal was to adapt a specific story, which it did well. Most of the game you play in America, esp NYC. Other places you go are Latveria, the Negative Zone, and the fictitious African nation of Wakanda. MAU2 is fun to play and harder, but has small disappointments and I didn’t like how it played out the second time around. Due to that I’d give it somewhere in the 70s on a scale of 1-100.

I do hope they keep the two sides formula for future installments. Marvels Secret Invasion and Dark Reign storylines would fit well into that, but you should definitely be able to play as more villains. Until then. Make Mine Marvel!

  1. Jason says:

    Dude, I rented this for Wii. I liked it but only played until the Electro boss. Did you know that while Wii claims to have a WiFi component to this game, it is totally bogus? The other systems you can actually play online with frineds far away as part of the same team. Despite the big “WiFi” label on the from of the box, you cannot do this with Wii. So that was a disappointment. As for the game itself, I liked it anyway.

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