Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Eyes-On Preview

Arguably, there is no deeper universe than that developed by Marvel Comics. Decades of stories have created rich, vibrant characters the likes of which are nearly unparalleled. So when the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance was released, I kept asking myself why this hadn’t been done before. The Raven Software team nailed the super hero aspects of the title and created a retro-esque brawler that was fun to pick up and play. With Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, the bar has been set even higher as Vicarious Visions looks to completely revamp the game. In fact, it almost looks like it had jumped to a new platform.

MUA2 follows the Marvel Comics Civil War series. America reaches a breaking point, issuing a regulation that all mutants register themselves as a “human weapon of mass destruction.” This results in a massive upheaval among the mutant community, with two distinct sides being formed: those who support the act as a responsible action, and those who feel it infringes on their civil liberties. In the game, players will be able to choose a side to follow. Out of the box, the game will feature 24 playable characters, with more classic villains included this time around. DLC plans were not discussed, but we expect this number to rise as it did in the first game.

The original MAU had its share of issues: combat was clunky, the camera angle often made things difficult, the graphics looked dated and last-gen, and changing your roster was only possible at save points. With MAU 2, all of these issues look to have been rectified. It is clear that the game’s level of detail has been expanded. Explosions are much more volatile, the character models appear to be more lifelike, and the scale of the battles looks to have been increased. The team also created a new user interface, removed the need for save points, and gave players the ability to upgrade seemlessly during battles so as to not interrupt the gameplay.

One of the coolest new features that has been added this time around is called fusion. Fusion moves allow for two characters to interact with each other in a way never before seen. For example, Storm will call down a tornado, and the Human Torch will then light it on fire. Another case had the Hulk hurling Wolverine at a helicopter. These move combinations are almost limitless, and are all done in-game under the player’s direct control.

While we weren’t able to get any hands-on time with the title, it was hard not to be impressed by the in game footage that we saw. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 truly looks to take things to a new level, which is why you should be looking foward to its release on September 2, 2009 for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360.

Author: Jeffrey Matulef