Air out the tights, slip on the mask, don the cape, and prepare to flex some muscles in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, an action role-playing game featuring the largest cast of costumed crusaders and mutant messiahs in a video game to date. Twenty Marvel superheroes have joined forces to combat the diabolical Dr. Doom and his Masters of Evil. The action will take players to Atlantis, the Skrull home world, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier, and more as they guide a four-person party through 17 comic book-inspired locales. Moves include a flurry of air and ground strikes, from grapples and blocks to chargeable powers and deadly combos. Objects within the environment can also cause damage, and a choice of one- and two-handed weapons can help less extraordinary heroes mete out justice against throngs of enemies.
As players decide on which heroes to enlist in their super group, including such iconic characters as Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Thing, Captain America, Elektra, and Thor, they can customize their team's name, icon, and vehicle. The party's reputation will increase over time through heroic deeds and by successfully completing mission objectives, allowing players the opportunity to further enhance the team's or a specific character's attributes. The cast includes more than 140 comic book characters in total, many of which are available in the single-player storyline and can be unlocked for multiplayer action. The latter supports both cooperative and competitive battles, with in-game statistics tracked for each team as they earn experience points and receive powerful new equipment. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance also features unlockable bonus content, such as alternate costumes that modify a character's base statistics in the areas of defense, melee damage, and so forth.
Have you ever wanted to have super powers? Sure you have, I think everyone has had that dream at some point in their life. Well, even though that dream will never come true Marvel Ultimate Alliance attempts to draw you into that dream as much as possible. The game starts off with an amazing graphical spectacle; the video introduction gets you ready for the action and leaves you begging for more. If you enjoy such games as X-men Legends and Baldur's Gate this might be the game for you. Marvel Ultimate Alliance combines game play and graphics for an exciting experience that most gamers won't soon forget.
The Controls in Marvel Ultimate Alliance feel quirky and a little bit off, but that is most likely because the game was designed for the consoles before anything else. However, the game supports controller plug-ins to make this console port feel like it should for people who do not own a console. The keyboard setup has powers defaulted to the row of numbers (1-6) and at times left me scrambling to find the correct power. Another minor hindrance was my teammates; who constantly followed me running into traps instead of jumping over them like me.
The graphics are superb with excellent lighting effects and animations. The explosions and rippling heat waves as well as many of the powers look stunning. Even so the in-game graphics don't hold a candle to the beautiful CGI movies that are cinema quality and are speckled throughout the game. However, the in-game engine seems to want to control the camera on its own and it always seems to position itself in the worst angles making it hard to see what you are doing in-game.
The in-game sound is nothing spectacular but it definitely isn't bad either. It contains the usual smacks and cracks used in a lot of super hero games and some heroic music. The music doesn't seem to change according to the situation and with all the fighting happening on screen you hardly notice it anyways. The most work with sound seemed to go into the voice acting for the dialog in the game which was very well done. It was refreshing to get away from the usual reading dialog line by line that most games with this style use.
The game spans over 5 Acts and has options for single player, offline co-op, online co-op, and online competitive. The game is extensive and has more then enough missions and unlockables to keep you playing for a very long time. The unlockable items include new playable characters, new costumes, production art, and more. The sheer size of each Act is huge, with the first mission in the game running about 2 hours game time and each act is broken up into about 6 missions each. If the pace of the game continues as it currently is the game should run around 60 hours of gameplay. Additionally, there are plenty of multiplayer options to keep players busy for a long time.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance allows you to switch between over 20 superheroes to use in your party with up to 4 in your party at a time. Each superhero has his/her own abilities as well as party bonuses for different combinations of 4 heroes (I have only found one so far). As your heroes level up you gain points to spend in special abilities making them do more damage or last longer. Coins can also be spent to enhance a superhero's gear making them stronger. Special items are dropped off every boss you defeat giving a special bonus to anyone who equips them, each one relative in some way to what powers the boss that was defeated had.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a fun and addictive action RPG that tries and succeeds in improving on the genre. For anyone that has played X-Men Legends or Baldur's Gate I highly recommend downloading this title as well as anyone that has ever fantasized about having super powers. With over 20 superheroes to choose from chances are your favorite superhero is playable.
People who downloaded Marvel Ultimate Alliance have also downloaded:
X-Men: Legends II - Rise of Apocalypse, Diablo 2, Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, MetalHeart: Replicants Rampage, Icewind Dale 2, Elder Scrolls IV, The: Oblivion
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