Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

A Civil War is brewing in the latest game from the House of Ideas.

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Activision Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
  • Activision Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
  • Activision Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
  • Activision Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Pros

  • Solid comic-inspired storyline with unique missions on each side of conflict, numerous customisable characters, co-op is quite fun online and off

Cons

  • Dungeon crawling gameplay is tedious at times, visuals still a bit underwhelming; feels like a minor upgrade from predecessor

Bottom Line

I mean, come on -- it has Deadpool. What more do you need?

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From genetics to injections to unlucky accidents, comic book history is filled with countless unique ways in which heroes and villains alike have earned unique special powers and abilities. Three years after the super-powered original, and loaded with expectations from True Believers everywhere, fans everywhere are asking if Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is a bonafide super-soldier, or an all talk merc with a mouth.

Divided Alliance

Ultimate Alliance 2 is primarily empowered by a solid narrative hook, which is inspired by a couple of recent comic sagas (Secret War and Civil War, respectively.) These two blockbuster stories allow for a variety of settings and scenarios with plenty of fan-favourites from the 616 Marvel Universe. Following large-scale attacks on U.S. soil, Congress passes a bill that forces all super-powered individuals to register as law enforcement agents. The measure splits the hero collective, prompting Captain America to lead the resistance against the likes of Iron Man and the pro-registration forces.

Not only does such an approach toy with our perceptions of heroes and villains in the Marvel universe (and what is right or wrong), but it also allows for a split campaign, letting players choose a side and play distinct missions in the middle act as a result. Regardless of which side you choose, the game oddly eschews many of the top villains and antagonists in the Marvel roster for more obscure foes, but at least the die-hards might be pleased to see the likes of Molten Man and The Wizard.

Together We Fight

Much like the original, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 allows players to swap between any four available heroes on the fly and customise each character's abilities as they level up, but these mostly minor changes and additions fail to address the tedious moments that crop up between more the game's more interesting bits. Powerful Fusion moves, which let you pair up any two on-screen heroes for a unique assault, are a useful new addition, but their initial dramatic flair is subdued by the sheer frequency in which you'll likely use them.

Clearing room after room of carbon copied goons can be a monotonous grind at times, but despite those tedious moments, Ultimate Alliance 2 is typically an entertaining adventure which is significantly improved by the presence of co-op buddies, whether online or on your couch. Bonus trivia questions and challenge missions also add a bit of external variety when you need a break from the campaign.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 certainly builds upon the ideas of the original, but the minor changes make the upgrade seem more status quo than truly super-powered. It's still (mostly) fun to blast and claw through large groups of foes, but it's also much harder to overlook recurring issues when so much time has passed.

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