Building on the action role-playing foundation of its predecessor and similar games like X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 improves on the gameplay in some respects, but often yields a repetitive experience that requires little thought or strategy.
The story begins with Nick Fury leading Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man on an unauthorized mission against the forces of Latveria and its evil prime minister, Lucia von Bardas. Castle Doom is destroyed, but von Bardas survives the attack, comes back as a cyborg and begins to destroy as much of the United States as possible.
Events lead the government to attempt to enact the Superhuman Registration Act, and at this point in the game, the player is given the choice to follow the pro-registration or anti-registration path. Depending on the choice you make, some characters will be rendered unusable, but the paths converge later on in the game, with all of the Marvel heroes on the same side again.
The real selling point of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is the new “fusion” attack option which allow you to combine the powers of the character you are controlling with those of one of your teammates for a quick burst of destruction. Fusion attacks can either result in a targeted attack on one area or a melee attack where a faster speed racks up more kills.
Although the packaging for the game boasts over 250 new fusion powers, it seems like a lot less with large amount of overlap between the powers. The two distinct categories of attacks quickly begin to feel like the only difference among fusion powers. Still, the attacks work as a gameplay element, forcing the player to use a bit of strategy in deciding when is the most advantageous time to unleash a fusion power.
Elsewhere, the game doesn’t require much strategy, with level after level blending together in one button-mashing extravaganza. That isn’t to say the game isn’t fun, blasting through hordes of enemies with an ever-changing array of boosts available to up your character’s abilities is quite entertaining. But it only goes so far and lasts so long.
Other problems occur with the camera, which is occasionally resistant to your control and often seems too zoomed out for the amount of action taking place onscreen. It’s not uncommon for characters to appear small enough that it becomes difficult to distinguish between friend and foe, especially given the game’s muted color palette. Graphically, however, the environments are nicely realized.
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, the story is hardly engaging enough to justify level after level of similar tasks. It does break up the monotony to take some time between accomplishments rather than powering through. and taken in smaller doses, it’s an adequately enjoyable game.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language and Violence. This game can also be found on: Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PS2, and PSP.
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