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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Review

Developer: Raven Software Publisher: Activision
Release Date: October 24, 2006 Also On: PS3, Wii and Xbox 360

Comic books games have gradually taken steps in the right direction towards building a new found respect. Starting with Spider-Man 2, the Marvel games in particular have blown up, with X-Men Legends and Ultimate Spider-Man. Both of these games made a huge notch in the Marvel belt. Building on their recent success, Activision has released Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, joining up characters from all over the Marvel realm. This RPG follows in the footsteps of X-Men Legends, which it is designed from. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, and many other favorites join the X-Men to save the world from Dr. Doom and his evil alliance of villains from all around Marvel’s giant universe. But just how does Marvel fair on the Xbox 360?

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At first glance, you would see Ultimate Alliance in action and believe it were an Xbox game. There is no merit done for the 360 in just porting over the graphics from the current gen consoles over into the next gen. Environments are not very open, so you find yourself facing a lot of close quarter fights. Character animation is smooth and the frame rates hold up strong, yet you are merely battling clone after clone with little variety at all. The main characters look pretty decent, yet a lot more could have been done to make Marvel stand out on the 360.

The sound quality of Ultimate Alliance is rather poor for a 360 title as well. The voice talents are sub par, along with the few one liners they pour out through the duration of the game. You will grow tired of hearing the same lines blared out at least 50 times per level. Combat sound effects are decent, capturing the colliding blades and flying fists rather well. The score is what brings Marvel home, saving you from the tiresome one liners that you will hear more than enough. If you thought John Madden and Al Michaels were repetitive, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The combat of Marvel Ultimate Alliance is right out X-Men Legends. It is very simple to just pick up and play, yet the simplicity really hurts the title. Marvel is a button masher’s dream; using really only 2 buttons throughout the game is possible. There is some added variety with the attacks through special abilities, yet there isn’t enough to keep from getting tired of the same attacks. Fighting clone after clone makes the game rather boring, even though the boss battles add some puzzle and strategy; you will tire through the story mode rather quickly.

There are Co-Op and Competitive game types which up to 4 players can take part in online or off. Online, one player has to load up one of their saved games and have others join in to ride shotgun through the story mode. They can not import their characters from a completed game which takes the fun out of beating the game before you go online. The good part however is that players can take the game saves from online and continue it offline themselves. The competitive mode also has players taking part in the story, yet they are competing for points to see who can score the most throughout
the experience. I much rather would have seen a versus mode with this huge collection of characters. Combining the heroes and villains together and allowing players to choose one to fight with online would have been a grand experience. Sadly, this is MIA.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance takes what’s good from X-Men Legends, adds in more Marvel characters and does nothing else. The story itself is rather short, so the bulk of your play may be spent online with other players to find it more enjoyable. Marvel’s story mode is almost beatable in a single sitting if you can bare the tedious game play Marvel offers. Small story based missions that are character exclusive add a little more depth to Ultimate Alliance, yet they bring the same tedious gameplay to the table. This RPG is one of the more basic out there for players to sink their teeth into, yet it doesn’t do enough to warrant a $60 purchase for the Xbox 360. A rental will do you nicely, or consider picking it up on the current gen consoles once the price drops. It all looks the same between the PS2, Xbox, and 360

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7
Written by Shawn Review Guide