Marvel Alliance (PS3)
Sean W. Gibson / Nov 11th, 2006 No Comments
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is the latest RPG/Action game where players put together their Marvel dream team from the largest roster of Super Heroes ever put into a game. Fueled by a story of an epic quest that will determine the fate of Earth and the Marvel universe, the Super Heroes have banded together again to fight against Dr. Doom and his Masters of Evil. This time, the stakes have never been higher.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* Assemble your Super Heroes. Experience the full scale of the Marvel universe with a combined cast of more than 140 popular comic book characters. Create the ultimate Marvel dream team, from an initial roster of 20 playable Marvel Super Heroes, and unlock more as you progress. Dynamically switch team members and instantly access their unique superpowers.
* Customize your team. Use a universal team upgrade system to balance your heroes' powers, or customize each member to maximize their effectiveness. Total team customization means you can outfit your heroes with a vast selection of power-boosting equipment, create a team name, team icon and team vehicle, and establish your team's reputation as the story progresses.
* Change the course of the game. Control the fate of the Marvel universe. The missions you accept, the objectives completed, and how you interact with other characters throughout the game will have a direct impact on how the story plays out.
* Fight in no-holds-barred combat. With dynamic combat capabilities, Super Heroes can now fight while airborne, on the ground and even submerged underwater. Experience a host of combat tactics and accessories, including grappling, charge attacks and a destructible environment, where objects such as lampposts and chairs can become dangerous weapons.
* Cooperate or compete online. In addition to engaging in the epic single-player storyline, you can converge in battle, online or offline, against the world’s most evil Super Villains. Switch between cooperative and competitive mode to partner or challenge up to three other players.
Playing the game on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms brings a nice and rich graphic environment for the Marvel universe of characters to fight their battles. There’s some decent special effects here, but for the most part if you’ve played any of the recent X-Men: The Official Game, or X-Men Legends II you’re looking at the same engine. If there’s one thing that stands out about the graphics, it’s the number of varietied stages gamers get to play through, including Mephisto's Realm, Asgard, Mandarin's palace, the Skrull homeworld, and, finally, Dr. Doom's sinister Latverian castle. There have been some nice enhancements for the top tier platforms over the legacy systems that include stronger cut scenes, and better quality of explosions, fire, and other such graphical elements. The graphics overall won’t blow you away (they look great on PSP however!) but nevertheless are decent enough to where it won’t take away from the game either.
Although there are no real celebrity voices in this game, it’s fun to hear all the voice acting that’s been packed into this title. There’s a lot of dialog that fuels the story as well as the missions, so it became a real key to determining the sound quality of the game. The soundtrack itself is run-of-the-mill superhero stuff, and the explosions and other big moments in the game are executed competently.
As mentioned before, if you’ve played any of the old X-Men Legends games, you’re looking at the same type of gameplay and missions. This time you don’t have just the X-men to pick and choose your dream team from, you have just about the entire Marvel universe of heroes. Through the game you unlock more and more so you can really pick and choose who you want. You must be careful though, since characters that aren’t picked early won’t level up enough to handle tougher levels and will just prove ineffective in combat in later stages.
The good news is that this game is a lot longer than the previous Legends titles. There’s a nice and rich story that carried a lot longer than expected. One thing that has to be stressed is the amazing amount of characters and “bosses” put in the game, in the form of evil villains that you face off against at the end of various stages. There’s a TON of them! The game controls should be totally familiar to anyone that’s played any of the Legends games, with the basic A & B combos and your super-powers (that build up over time and experience) controlled with the d-pad. Although button mashing can be rewarded in the game, so can the right mix of combo attacks at the right time.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
This was the most surprising aspect about Marvel: Ultimate Alliance – the game is actually pretty long. There are a lot of levels, all varied, with tons of baddies to get through. It made for a real nice gameplay experience that will take the average game beyond what other titles will take to complete. The multiplayer and on-line options for the consoles and PC (not PSP) is a nice added feature to play through co-op, and there’s always the allure of playing through again with a different set of heroes.
I have to admit that when first playing Marvel: Ultimate Universe I got discouraged that it was just "Legends III" with more hereoes. Playing further into the game, the variety of villains, the large amount of heroes, and the vastness of the game environments added a dimension to this game to make it one of the best "superhero RPGs" ever to be released. It’s a great play across any platform, and is best experienced on PS3 and Xbox 360 for obvious reasons – larger screen sizes and highest resolution levels, coupled with on-line gameplay. If you’re a fan of the Marvel universe of heroes, this is a must have, it really is fun to play through.