Review by Lyrical_Poet
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a free-for-all Beat 'em up with RPG elements, it was made using the same gameplay engine as the X-men legends series, and boasts the largest collection of Marvel characters collected in any video game up to date. Onto the breakdown:
The game opens with an amazing cut scene of an attack on massive flying S.H.E.I.L.D. base. When the games story first begins it feels like a cliched and poorly written comic book, cheesy with forced dialogue in-game, but as it continues, though the in-game dialogue never gets much better, the story does, and it evolves to heights which will pull you into the (eventually) spectacularly written plot. The main plot does suffers from a lack of character depth, Caused mainly by the large amount of playable characters, though this issue is helped largely by the Comic book missions, which gives you insight into each character.
A (atrociously named) group of super villains known as the Masters of Evil are trying to take over the world. The masters of evil is headed by Dr. Doom, and has a extensive library of marvel villains, in response, Sgt. Nick Fury starts Project Ultimate Alliance, a team of over twenty marvel heroes. Throughout the game there's plot twist's, traitors and an ending cut scene, which shows the effects all of your action (or in-actions) had on the world.
Have you ever played the Avengers video game? On Genesis? In the 90's? The game play in MUA feels like an in-depth version of Avengers. There's jump, melee, strong, and power attack. Mixing these buttons in different patterns causes different attacks. All characters have the same button combo's, yet, different attacks. The RPG element does not just come from the ability to level up your characters, but also from the information gathering side missions. In these you talk to various marvel characters to, again, gather info. Unlike most RPGs, this game has no turn based combat. It has over twenty playable heroes, ranging from the obscure (Spider-woman, Miss Marvel) to the infamous (Spider Man, Cap. America). All characters have four costumes, which you unlock throughout the game. One of the strongest points of this game is its always changing bases and widely differing levels. Asgard, Atlantis and Stark tower just to name a few.
Despite the massive amount of characters, costumes and levels this game does tend to get repetitive. Another point of interest to think about before buying this game is that it is a risky purchase. I have heard of multiple glitches, many of which would make this game unplayable. It seems that every copy has it own glitches, though mine has had only minor glitches. I'd advise looking over the topic titled Glitches? in the MUA message board before purchasing.
The graphics in this game are on three different calibers. There's the in-game graphics, which to just look at would be considered low, but when you consider the amount playable characters, and that there's as many as nine or ten characters on screen at a time without slowdown, it's pretty good. Then there's the pre-level cut scenes which are great, each characters mouth moves how it should for each word it says, and they all have good body language. Then there's the cut scenes you get each time your team switches to a new base. These are a wet dream of graphical glory. By far the best graphics I've seen on ps2, since it looks like something off of Xbox 360 or PS3. In these cut scenes. The characters look almost like real actors, with realistic facial expressions, and muscle & hair that moves as you would expect in real life. Even if you don't like the game, or comic books, these cut scenes will impress.
The sound effects are ok, nothing which hurts or helps gameplay. Not much to take note of. So I based this off of the actors. Some were perfectly cast, like wolverine and dead pool. Then there's those who could have been cast better, such as the Villains, most of whom sound like bad cartoon character voices, or spider-man, whose voice sounds right, but every time he says a smart aleck spider-man comment instead of coming off cool he comes off like a jerk. Most hero voices are well cast though. Side note: since you can play as black or white nick fury his voice should (though it doesn't) change. His voice is perfect for the old white nick fury, but doesn't fit the Samuel L. Jackson fury now used in comics.
This is a great game, which could have been a ten out of ten, but since I've heard so many stories of glitches which make the game unplayable, ranging from strangely Immortal enemies, to doors (which are needed to finish the level) not opening. I'd strongly advise buying this game, after a price drop, so you don't get screwed out of forty or fifty bucks if it doesn't work.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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