More on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Posted by Alex Jordan on

It continues to be very good. X-Men Legends I and II were incredibly challenging, even on Normal difficulty, but Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 1 proved to be a bit of a letdown, even during the later levels.

MUA2 has never been outright difficult, but it hasn't exactly been a breeze , either. You can't beat levels just by mashing the Light Attack button. The differences between a Direct Damage attack versus Tanking versus Crowd Control are still as irrelevant as ever in a game as fast-paced as MUA2, but the breakdown of Direct Damage attacks - radial, projectile, etc. - prove useful depending upon the number and types of attacking enemies.

Speaking of which, the game loves throwing dozens of enemies at you at a time. That's a vast improvement over previous games in the series, which would max out at 6 or 8 baddies on screen at once. Sure, they're mostly an excuse to try for a high scoring Fusion attack, but the change in pace is refreshing nonetheless.

Fought and beat Yellowjacket.* Glad to see that the inane and bullshit puzzles from MUA1 are back, requiring the judicious use of the Pause button and GameFAQs.

Most importantly, I'm happy to see that the writing is good. Really good, albeit graded on a "well, it's a video game" curve. The game's plot follows the Secret War and Civil War story arcs and, surprisingly, does a good job telling a story that is (relatively) sophisticated and deep. The Pro-Registration forces aren't wholly good, and neither are the Anti-Registration forces. Iron Man comes across as blatantly power hungry, but for those paying attention, the game's characterization of Captain America shows that he's capable of behaving like, well... a sanctimonious dick.

Also, Wolverine gets to say, "I just quit smoking, so I'm extra irritable."

I can't remember the last time I played a (mainstream) game that's tried to be as nuanced as this and pulled it off. Bonus points go to the fact that it's possible for a player to turn their brain off and avoid the story, but for those looking for it, it actually delivers in spades.

*Jesus Christ, does Hank Pym have ADHD or something? Pick a codename and stick with it, for fuck's sake!