Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Just finished the game today. It was actually pretty fun, even more so than the X-Men Legends games. A little too short at times, but otherwise a blast.

The gameplay was almost exactly like XML2, with a few changes. The health and energy items are gone, replaced with little red and blue orbs that drop from smashed objects or enemies. The missions are much longer; the prologue mission alone takes nearly three times as long as the one in XML2, and actually bothers to include some actual boss fights. The story itself is semi-interesting, although the promised plot branching never came to be; instead, the ending changes depending on a good number of choices made during gameplay.

The only problems I had with the game were the pathetic AI, especially for the other party members (still has nightmares about the Galactus level), a lot of annoyingly cheap bosses, sometimes vague objectives, and an extremely annoying sidequest that spans half the game and leads to nothing. Still, it’s a pretty good game, and does well to allieve my dissapointment with MKA.

Thoughts from a vocal X-Men Legends II critic:

The game is not worth purchasing; rent it. These games largely suck because of the pathetic AI, the terribly bulky and counterintuitive menu system, and, most importantly, the boring gameplay.

First, the maps. MUA deserves credit from branching out from Legend’s excessive use of temple maps. Still, most maps are virtually the same layout wise. They should really think outside the box here instead of creating countless narrow-corridor maps. Why not have entire city blocks you can freely fight around in? Anyone who’s played Freedom Force knows what I mean.

Second, the generic bad guys. They’re a step up from Legend’s. But you usually fight 5-6 guys at a time. Why the hell can’t we have more epic battles with 10+ guys? Probably because the AI is too damn stupid to effectively help you fight them off. So instead you play through countless small, underwhelming battles. It’s more like an MMO grindfest than a superhero action game.

Third, the camera (coupled with poor map design). You’d think the devs would realize the limitation of the camera angle and not put huge columns and balconies right in your way. This happened dozens of times throughout the game, not just once or twice.

Fourth, the easy bosses. Again with the underwhelming atmosphere. On normal difficulty, my entire team was wasted just once – from stepping on some instakill blades by accident. I just unlocked hard mode, but probably won’t suffer through this again. We’re dealing with some hardass villains, yet I can solo most of them with Wolverine.

Fifth, Iron Man is a sissy. My team consisted of The Thing, Spidey, Wolverine, and Iron Man. Wolverine is totally overpowered (probably because he’s popular). I don’t want to turn this into a comic book geek “lol my favorite hero can beat your favorite hero,” but IM was definitely dying way too often. This critique is more of a personal one, I know, but it still grated on me.

Wolverine is probably overpowered both because he’s popular and overpowered as a character in the very comics. I mean, in Civil War, he was hit by a blast of Nitro’s, being incinerated down to his skeleton and regenerating fully in a minute, tops, if you read the comic, so I wouldn’t really blame the game for him being way too powerful. It’s just accurate of how he’s way too powerful in the comics.
Iron Man is just getting punished for being on the wrong side in the Civil War, I guess.

I haven’t played this, but I thought X-Men Legends was pretty fun. Certainly no game of titanic achievement that innovates the genre and blows your mind with its complex plot, but beating up on genocidal fascists as my oft-unplayable favourite Toad is an experiene I nonetheless enjoy.