Marvel Ultimate Alliance wasn't easy to come by. I had to wait until just a few weeks ago to pick the game up; this is partly due to my strict law of judging certain games as being worth a certain amount of my dollars (in this case, no more than precisely $23.00), but also because for some reason people seem to have viewed it as popular enough for that price to not come to pass within something like a year of its release. I can't say I'm suprised as that's becoming basically the habit with games this generation, considering Dead Rising is still bringing in a regular $30 a solid year after its release, which is a game that I've decided I won't pay more than precisely $20.00 for. Don't ask me where I get these numbers from; they come to me like alien transmissions.

Regardless, I finally did get Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and I've since played through the games story, ultimately realizing why it is probably just that the price hasn't dropped. Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a pretty rich, and rewarding experience; it's also Diablo 2. Those two things are slightly related. Some quick, obvious examples of the similarities between both games:

- Both games are centered upon a 5 Act structure
- Both games play fundamentally the same (hack n' slash)
- Both games feature enemy mobs that carry the same benefit as their leader
- Both games are driven by story cutscenes outside gameplay (mostly anyways)
- Both games feature upgradeable skills

These are pretty generic things, but above and beyond all of them is the truth that the two games just feel undeniably similar. Remove from Diablo the Blizzard feel, and replace it with a Marvel feel, not to mention remove the Thundering Longsword of the Whale and replace it with Spider-Woman's Nano-Fiber Suit, and there isn't much else separating the two. Excluding of course the fact that Marvel Ultimate Alliance is buggy as all hell.

It wasn't buggy to the point of being distracting, but it was noticeable that the developer maybe reached a few steps beyond their ability in striving for a Diablo-like structure. This is most obvious when you come to realize that you're playing with 30 (or so) Marvel characters, and the game isn't set to recognize the character with whom you're controlling outside battle. Walking around the starting area (there's a separate one in each Act; Stark Tower, Dr. Strange's Mansion, Valhalla, the Moon home of the Inhumans, and Doomstark) and speaking with the NPCs can leave you groaning. In Asgard I'd speak to Valkyrie with Thor, and she would proceed to greet me as, "Human, welcome to Valhalla." I'm pretty sure that shit would offend the God of Thunder. Add to this the fact that with the additional downloadable characters players can literally speak to Bruce Banner as the Hulk, or speak to Dr. Doom, as... Dr. Doom. It's a little jarring, and it makes the game seem sloppy.

My team throughout the game consisted of Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, and Deadpool pretty much exclusively. Originally, I planned to play through the game with my new Marvel favorite Moon Knight, but honestly, he sucked. Iron Man only maintained a position as temporary teammate until I'm able to unlock the Silver Surfer. There's no substitution for the Power Cosmic in the guise of man. Most of the characters have four costumes, which makes for a hell of a lot of customization in your team. Iron Man's Ultimates costume was a large factor in keeping him around; it's just plain awesome.

The game is very story driven, and the story is pretty much tantamount to anything you'd see coming from Marvel these days anyways. Expect all the super villains to gather, someone important to actually die (not Captain America!), and the world to get totally ravaged by the end of the game. Honestly, I never would have thought that the story would have been as good as it was. It takes you on a journey to Mephisto's Realm, Asgard, the homeworld of the Shi'Ar, the Skrull Planet, Latveria, and other places as well.

I can't say anything better or worse about it really; Marvel Ultimate Alliance was worth my dollars, and I'd dare say it would have been worth even more than $23.00. I've got a lot of unlocking and Achievement-whoring to do, and I'm looking forward to the majority of it. Diablo fans should love it...


  1. John (fjf314) Fabry said...
    Iron Man got the boot in favor of the Silver Surfer? This is madness! Iron Man is the shit because he can do a dozen different setups into the infinite. You can't mock that kind of power.
    Cody 'Zen' Musser said...
    Iron Man might be a tank in MvC2 but he's still Tony Stark, and Tony Stark is a douchebag.
    John (fjf314) Fabry said...
    Well, I was actually embellishing a little with my post. Iron Man wished he was a tank in MVC2. He may have the easiest infinite in the world, but all of those setups are weak and usually no one is able to land the thing. He usually just gets raped. No one plays Iron Man/War Machine/Doom anymore for a reason.

    Also, I've never actually read any of the Iron Man comics or watched the cartoon, so I will have to take your word for it on the whole Tony Stark = douchebag issue.
    Anonymous said...
    Anonymous said...
    My friend and I were recently talking about the ubiquitousness of technology in our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory decreases, the possibility of copying our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.

    (Posted from Nintendo DS running [url=!2602F0E287041CEF!106.entry]R4i[/url] TF3)
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