Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360) Reviews

Taco Bob
756,110 (351,728)
Taco Bob
TA Score for this game: 2,590
Posted on 10 October 09 at 05:05
This review has 25 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Rating: Teen
DLC: Future Release
100% Completion: 20-30 hours
Achievement Difficulty: 6/10


Unlike most direct sequels, MUA2 does not follow the plot laid out in the first game. There are several subtle mentions to the previous storyline, but nothing beyond that. Instead, this game is based on the events chronicled in both the Secret War, and the resulting Civil War; two popular comic arcs in the Marvel Universe. However, towards the end, the plot branches off from the comic's storyline.

The game begins with you infiltrating Dr. Doom's old castle (Doom is supposedly dead), in an attempt to stop whoever is supplying supervillians with advanced weaponry. You later find out that this foreign operation was unsanctioned by the government, leading to political fallout. This combined with several tragedies involving superheroes, leads the US Government to pass the Superhero Registration Act. Under the SRA, all superhumans are required to register their identities with the government. This results in a split of the superhero community into two groups, Anti-Regs and Pro-Regs.

The Anti-Regs, led by Captain America, refuse to register and go underground as outlaws. The Pro-Regs, led by Iron Man, follow the act and become agents of SHIELD, a government agency established to deal with superhumans. Now under the command of the government, the Pro-Regs are then ordered to hunt down and capture their former comrades, either convincing them to register or imprisoning them. Obviously enough, conflicts arise, creating the unique chance to see what happens when superheroes turn against one another.

Following the ever-popular trend of modern games, the game lets you decide which side to join, whether to register or not. The only problem however, is that your choice is of little consequence. There are only a few unique characters on each side, and after a certain point the game is the same, no matter which side you choose.

Another issue is the poor hero roster. Although the game does have an impressive 24 playable characters (not including DLC), there are so many more that appear in the game, yet you aren't able to control them. Not to mention there is an absence of several prominent heroes that were active in the Civil War.

Besides these downfalls however, the story seems pretty solid. The game is separated into three acts (Secret War, Civil War, and Spoiler), which helps set the pace. Personally, I've always been a big nerd about superheroes, and although I haven't delved into comics much, I've always had my interests in the Marvel universe. This game is the perfect excuse for me to explore that interest without having to spend countless hours and money reading comics.



Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is a hack and slash, action game with subtle RPGs elements. It plays like a normal brawler, with several combos and abilities to break up the usual button mashing, and by earning XP your characters will slowly level up and get stronger. The leveling system is pretty basic, you get experience for beating enemies and when you level up, you can spend points on abilities and attributes. Also worth mentioning, is that your characters all level up together, so you don’t have to worry about managing all 24 characters. Just stick with a team you enjoy, and switch someone out if the need arises.

Which leads me to a big aspect of the game, its customization. As already mentioned, you have 24 characters to choose from, and with four members on your team, the combinations are endless. Each character also has an extra costume you can unlock, but most of them are horrible, so I didn’t bother using them. In addition to this, there are special attacks called Fusions, in which two characters will combine their powers, to devastate the enemy. Every pair has a different attack, which means there is a total of 276. Unfortunately though, there are only so many truly unique ones, as most of them are very similar, just with small deviations to represent the different powers.

Another thing to note is that this game loves its challenges and collectibles. So much so, that I was overwhelmed at first, with messages popping up left and right, without a clue as to what was going on. Once you get used to it however, it will all make sense, and with the various stat tracking menus, it will make finding everything fun instead of feeling like a chore. On that note, one of the collectibles I really enjoyed were the dossiers, which catalog each hero and villain with facts and background information. There are also trivia questions about the characters and comic lore. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the Marvel Universe though, every answer can be found somewhere in the game.

In addition to all this, there is also co-op (both local and online) that was supposed to be a big selling point. However, I hear that it is full of bugs and glitches, so you might want to wait for a patch to enjoy that aspect. From my brief experience with it, I didn’t have too much trouble, but then again I wasn’t playing online.



Honestly, I can’t say that I paid much attention to the graphics. In my opinion, they aren’t really that big of deal in a game like this. The camera is too far away from the environment and characters to notice small details and the like. They weren’t horrid, that much I remember, but they weren’t extraordinary either.

One thing worth mentioning though is that there wasn’t any slowdown in the frame rate. Even when there were dozens of enemies on the screen, with powers exploding and pieces of the environment crumbling, I didn’t notice any chopping or lag.



My first thought, was that this game was going to be pushing the 50 hour limit, a great accomplishment for this type of game. However, the more I played, the more I noticed that limit diminish.

Several playthroughs are required to complete the game, seeing as you need to beat the game as both Anti-Regs and Pro-Regs. However, by the time you beat the game once, you should have a solid team set up, and since you start the second playthrough with all characters unlocked there really isn’t any need to experiment from that point on. The leveling system is also capped pretty easily, as my characters were already maxed out about halfway through the highest difficulty. I pretty much spent my final playthrough spamming one attack, only switching characters to use a certain fusion, if the situation required it.

Don’t get me wrong, the game still has plenty to offer with all the collectables, trivia, and such, but after my first playthrough it just seemed like grinding. Maybe a working co-op or a higher difficulty would help.



As usual, there are your pretty standard achievements; beat a certain mission and finish the game on such and such difficulty (they are stackable by the way). Also, as mentioned above, you will need to beat the game at least twice, in order to get both the Pro-Reg and Anti-Reg achievements.

As for the rest, they center around the various distractions the game contains. There are some achievements for co-op, trivia questions, simulator missions, and of course collectibles. The one thing that I found odd though, was the fact that you don’t have to collect everything. The achievements give a bit of leeway, so you don’t have to spend hours trying to find one last item.



A great game for those looking to embrace their inner geek. Worth a buy, but hardcore comic fans beware, it only remotely resembles its comic counterpart.

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Legolas 43
429,503 (253,270)
Legolas 43
TA Score for this game: 2,114
Posted on 10 January 10 at 21:47
This review has 14 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
From looking at past games that I have played, I would say that it is usually a bad thing when a series, that has only been developed by one company for years is suddenly done by someone else, I consider the X-Men Legends games to be part of the Marvel series, making this the fourth game to come out. There have been some pretty big changes with this entry and I was surprised when I found the majority of them to be for the better. Even so, there were some areas of this game that did disappoint, which will stop this game from reaching the levels of those that came before it.


The developers had talked about the game taking place during two popular storylines from the Marvel Comics, the first part being the Secret War and the second was the Civil War. It was later revealed that they would change some of the events for the Civil War in order to bring all of the heroes back together to face a new threat during the final act.

The Secret War is a shorter story, in the comics, that involves Nick Fury leading a small team of heroes including Daredevil, Spiderman, Captain America, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and the Black Widow to Latveria where the daughter of Doctor Doom, the new Prime Minister is selling high tech equipment to villains to use in America. Nick Fury, against the President orders, takes his team to stop her, a year later when the event comes back to haunt Fury and the heroes that accompanied him he goes into hiding right before the Civil War to avoid arrest. While a few events for this story are changed, such as the number of heroes that went with Fury, this part of the story is done well and makes for a very good opening act to the game and helps to set all the other events of the story into motion.

The Civil War was a much longer storyline than Secret War but with the exception of some changes depending on which side in the war you choose, pro or anti, you spend the same amount of time in it as you do in the other two of acts of the game. It is a shame because so many details are left out and some of the best points were considered to have never happened during this game or were just never shown. Not only are you missing out on some great story elements but on some possible new levels. Your choice between Pro or Anti really only effects your objectives in the three Civil War missions but keep you on the same map, the only other difference is that a few of the heroes have to play on one side and can't be used on the other. You also have different bases and unique conversations. In the comics the majority of the books having to do with the Civil War were excellent, so it is a shame to see such little detail for the Civil War part of the game.

I won't reveal anything about the last act of the game, besides saying that it is done well and brings the heroes back together in a believable way to fight against a much larger threat to the world. The ending is slightly different depending on the side you chose in the war, but the changed ending alone is not reason enough for a second play though if you didn't enjoy the gameplay.

Sound and Dialogue

The sound and music are done well and most of the voice actors do their jobs equally well. There really isn't anything amazing or bad in the sound area.

Throughout the game, most of the characters are given good dialogue. One nice feature of the game is that your dialogue choices are written like they were made for the character you have selected. While this changes nothing, not even the responses given to you, it is nice to see some of the different heroes personalities, it is only a shame that it isn't voiced. The game does have a few moments where your character will get unique voiced dialogue and conversations but these moments are rare and only last a few lines.

The characters have some great spoken lines while they are fighting that further shows their personalities, here are some that I liked

Gambit (if you are on the Anti side): "I've been on the wrong side of the law before....don't bother me none."

The Green Goblin: "This is more fun than throwing blonds off of bridges" (Gwen Stacy reference) "Am I off my meds.....yeah I am."

Deadpool: "Come on, I'm funnier than Spiderman right?" "You should have asked the developers for a bigger lifebar." "Deadpool, is about to die." (Gauntlet reference)


For the most part this is the same Marvel Ultimate Alliance/X-Men Legends beat em up gameplay that you know and love, or hate. The game is a top down beat em up style game, each of the games heroes has powers that they can use to attack, defend, or to effect something. The combat remains the same as the last game with you being able to do different combos to your enemies that can stun, trip, or knock them up in the air. The only real difference about the combat is the way that you throw your enemies, before you just grabbed a guy and would flick the stick the way you would want to throw him, or you could do one of two attacks against them, multiple punches or a hero specific attack. Those moves have been replaced with a button to pick the enemy up, which will let you walk around with them then throw them or you can do a series of punches. I preferred the old way but it isn't a big loss, even though some of the hero specific moves looked cool they were never that practical to use.

Each new entry for the series seems to remove more and more of the old RPG elements, this entry continues that trend. You are no longer able to improve up to four costumes for each hero to get different abilities, while almost every hero has two costumes in MUA 2, it is just for looks and does not affect gameplay. Items are no longer in the game, they have been replaced by boosts which allow you to equip three at a time to affect your entire group. Boosts are found on the map or by accomplishing certain requirements for the story or for each character.

The graphics have been improved, the environment, characters, animations, and powers all look much better but it is nothing that will really wow you. To go along with the better graphics, the camera has changed. It is now closer to the action and usually works for the better, it allows you a nice view of the combat while rarely getting in the way. The game puts many more enemies on the screen than before, you will often find yourself fighting around 15 enemies at once which works out great with some of the new additions to the game. The only downside of this is that I did experience some slowdown when there were a lot of enemies and power attacks filling the screen, annoying when it happened, but rare enough to not really be anything to complain about.

Hero powers have also been changed in some ways, I think for the better. In the past game most of the heroes were given about six attack powers, two stat increasing powers/or enemy stat decreasing, and a special move they could use when a meter fills up from fighting. In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 every character has four attack moves, while this may seem like a bad change, it stops you from worrying about changing your equipped moves all the time and, unlike some powers in past games, you will rarely find something that you aren't going to use. In this game you can use all four powers at any time, in the last you could only use three with one button saved for your special. In addition to leveling up your moves to improve them all abilities now gain added bonuses as you level them, up to three added bonuses. For example, a projectile attack might just do damage at first, then add knock back, then become faster, and then explode on contact as you level the move up. Although there are less powers to use, they are much more satisfying than many of the previous games abilities, the close in camera gives you a much better view of the improved graphics than the old camera would have.

To fill out the rest of their moves every hero has six passive powers that they can improve, just like the X-Men Legends games, there are two problems to this system however. First, many of the passive powers are shared between heroes giving you little originality. Second, when you have to choose a side during the Civil War the majority of the characters have two passive powers, unlock two for anti, and unlock two for pro, so you won't even be able to access them all on your first playthrough. When the heroes get back together for the last act heroes that were locked to one side during the war will only have two passives. For example, I chose anti, I always did like to be the good guy, so Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, and Songbird were missing four of their six passive powers. While annoying, this is taken care of with a new game+ which will give them all the powers at once as long as you have played each side in the war. While I believe the offensive powers have been improved, passive powers as well as the RPG elements that they brought to the Legends series has taken a big hit.

One of the biggest additions to this game is the new Fusion system, which allows you to combine the powers of two heroes for devastating effects. The fusion system is also a new way for you to heal, whenever you make the most out of a fusion attack enemies will leave behind a power up that will heal a character of your choice. The new healing power up causes you to think about the best time to use your fusions, especially on the harder difficulties. The way that fusion attacks are done is very simple, all you have to do is hold down the trigger and push the face button of the hero you want to fuse with. If you forget which hero is which, for as long as you hold down the trigger, the game shows you who each button will go to and which of the four types of fusion the two characters will make.

Every hero can do a fusion with every other hero, while there will be some differences between each hero, many of the powers end up being close to the same. There are four different types of fusions you can do one where both heroes charge around attacking everything in their path, one that clears enemies in the area around you, one where you move something around that usually sucks in or damages enemies, and one where a large rock is thrown at a certain spot or a hero is thrown by another. Storms power is a perfect example of how cool fusions can be, but it is also the perfect example of how similar most of the powers are. The majority of Storm's fusions involve her creating a tornado that you move around the map to suck in enemies, while she does that another hero does something to the tornado to damage enemies. Even though the actual attacks don't have much variety, the fusions are usually fun to use and will at least look different depending on the heroes used.

The 360 and PS3 versions of the game give you 24 heroes to play as, 25 if you can find a code to download Juggernaut. All characters can be fun to play as, my favorites so far being Gambit, Captain America, and Deadpool, and with the focus now only on four powers you will rarely find one power that seems like any other. An exception being the melee characters like Thing, Hulk, and Juggernaut. Even though some of their moves may seem similar, with the new engine, number of enemies, camera, and graphics the game does a much better job of getting their strength across than past games in the series have. It is very satisfying to rush with Juggernaut swatting away any enemy that you come across aside, and often over a cliff or off of a building.

The only other things to mention are that there are a lot of NPC heroes making appearances in this game, you might be able to talk to them, fight beside them, or fight against them as bosses. Stan Lee even makes an appearance in one scene, unfortunately he won't be doing any fighting or saving civilians from falling rubble. The boss fights are much better than they have been in the past but they still will not take that much strategy to take down. The last thing that this game offers is the ability to find many collectibles hidden on the levels. You can find audio logs to give you more insight on the story, artwork, and information on the characters in the game, as well as Nick Fury's thoughts on each hero or villain, even his thoughts on Stan Lee's character. If you miss some you are able to use the simulator to go back and replay past missions.

The game has the same new game+ feature as the past games, allowing you to take your leveled up characters through the game again on the normal and above difficulty levels. The only problem with this is that when you are forced to choose a side during the Civil War replaying the other factions missions is locked out of the simulator, even if you have played the game for both sides. While annoying you can just have two saves, one at the end of the Pro side and one at the end of the Anti once your heroes are leveled up all the way. This solution will force another playthrough though.


The game allows for four person Co-Op either online or local. You use whatever saved game the host has and you use the characters that the host has, while playing through the game you are able to save all the collectibles you find but nothing else.

I have only played a few games of co-op online with four players, some games lagged to the point they were unplayable, some lagged a little, some worked fine. It seems to be like the last game in that way. Some ways that the game has improved is that the new camera will keep people from becoming stuck on objects and you are now able to apply boosts to your character and able to upgrade your abilities all in game if you push the select/back button. While you are making changes or upgrades your character will automatically follow the rest of the group. While this feature doesn't add much to single player it is very nice to have online as it saves everyone the time of having to go back and forth in pause menus.

When it works the game is a lot of fun playing with friends, or even random people you meet online. It is helpful to play with people that talk so you can decide when to best use your fusion abilities.


If you are a fan of the Marvel Universe, of co-op games, or of beat em up games, I happen to love all three, you should definitely get Marvel UA 2. If you are not a fan of any of those this game will most likely not do anything to change your mind. While it is a very good game it doesn't top the other three, as many of the fans were hoping that it would, especially with over three years of waiting. What the game does do is make some welcome changes to the series, and a few annoying ones. Let's hope both for a sequel and that this will be one of the few developers that keeps the good and improves upon the bad as future games come out.


Downloadable content has been released in the form of five new playable characters and some new simulator missions. The sim missions are fun while they last but they won't be bringing you back to the game if you've already stopped playing. The new characters are fun to use, have their own unique powers and have some impressive fusions. The new characters include Cable, Psylocke, Black Panther, Magneto, and Carnage. All characters are well made and I was happy to see one of my favorite characters, Psylocke, make an appearance. The content is priced at $10 As a separate download Juggernaut has also been made available, for $2 I believe.

There has been no announcement for additional content at this time
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Rodeo Legend
89,601 (57,375)
Rodeo Legend
TA Score for this game: 2,362
Posted on 17 March 11 at 20:20
This review has 10 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
A lot of complaints have been made about the dumbed down version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Most reviews will state that it was a huge step backwards in an already extremely nitch genre of games. Ultimately they are all right for the vast majority of gamers. This review is for those, like me, who liked dumbed down versions of customizable games.


(no spoilers)
It's loosly based around the Marvel Civil War. I does, however switch half way through to a different threat altogether. The flow was strange, and really kinda dumb. I was not impressed by the story, and some of the small details were forgotten almost at once.


single player

The games modes are all playable in single or co-op play. however, in my opinion, more fun can be had through single player then co-op play as all players in a co-op are confined to a single screens view. (no wondering at all, which i find annoying).

Playing through by yourself is great. You choose your 4 heros, balancing however you want, and choose your path. The button mashing is repetative, but expected out of this kind of game. Finding fussions you like is fun, and performing the ones best for the situation is also fun.

The simulator discs, which are collected through the campaign, offer small variations on the core game. Once completed, they do offer a small amount of repaly while trying to improve your score, but the appeal does wear off, and you may never ever visit them again.



same available modes as single player, however it's not as personal as the single player. The one strong point are co-op combos/co-op fussions. Both are more satifying to do with a friend then with a AI controlled allie. The satifaction does come at a cost, as it's ultimatley easier to do with the AI.



The fighting is easy, fast, repetative, and fun

Fussions are the big addition, and mosts are pretty decent. The repeated animations are weak though. With 100s or combonations, the end result comes out to only half a dozen differnt animations/move types.

The customization is where the game either shines or suffers, depending on how you feel about it. It changed a lot between the first Ultimate Alliance and this installment. The streamlined leveling system and fewer move make the game move faster and play easier. Same with the streamlined item upgrades. boostes are really a better system then individual character adds (boots, helms, ect...from the first).

The look of the game is nicer then the first, but not what they could be on a next gen system.



2 plays required to play as both sides.
half will be come easy between the plays
the rest will require collecting and grinding, both can be annoying.
the sim achievements maybe tough, but at least are rewarding.
collecting boosts will be the worst achievement, but several guides are available on this site and elsewhere.

unless you love collectables, 100% is going to be a pain



The new characters are all great.
The new missions are not too great, but better then sims included with the title.

The characters get a 9, for being among the best the game offers
The missions get a 6, for being better then the sims, but not all that fun with almost no replay value. (6+9= 15/20 =7.5)



Two plays will be enough. a Third is not required, and would probably be annoying. The simulations will take a few hours and will never re revisited.

The fact that after the first time through, I wanted a second play forces me to give this game a second 7.5.



I liked it more then the first, however I know few will agree.
(6+8+7+8+5+7.5+7.5= 49/70= 7)

GAME RECIEVES 7/10 (above average)
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Aura of Heroism
287,051 (154,022)
Aura of Heroism
TA Score for this game: 2,590
Posted on 23 April 11 at 23:10
This review has 5 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This game has been in the works for awhile and it shows, but there are a few things that seem to have been overlooked. That being said, here is my review.
MUA2 is both a continuation of MUA1 and a "What if" story of the Civil War. The game sports a 24 character roster right out of the box. There was some DLC relased for this game, but that has since been removed from the market place due to character license disagreements. The game also introduces the new idea of fusions, a combination of character powers to overcome overwhelming odds. If you were a fan of MUA1, you can think of this in the terms that it is much like the momentum attacks; you have to use something other than energy to activate them and they are devastatingly powerful. I'll now break the game down to what I feel are the important parts.

Now I believe the graphics look much better than the last game. That is not to say that they are perfect, but I have played on several different TVs and notice pixelation on larger ones, but that is to be expected for the most part. The in-game graphics are a step up from the last game, but not in all areas. The destruction engine for the enviroment and powers really shines, but some things, for example, fire, still just do not look all that nice. The fusions are perhaps one of the best examples of how nice the graphics can look in the game. The Cinematics still retain that great look that they had in MUA1.

This part I am a bit disappointed in. Though not strictly having to do w/ the audio, most of the voice actors did not make a comeback for MUA2. A few did, like Wolverine and Deadpools actors, but most did not. I do know, I just am in the opinion that most of the Voice actors from the last game fit the characters a lot better. As a side note, Stan Lee has a guest spot in this game, I thought that was hilarious. As far as the actual audio is concerned, it is fantastic, with the exception of one thing. Occasionally the voices are a bit gravelly for lack of a better word. They seem to break a bit. Had this just been one character, I could have chalked it up to just that voice actor, but since it happens multiple times, I have to chalk it up to the game.

The game still has that feel that the last one did; chaotic enough that it is fun, yet ordered enough that you dont lose your mind in the bigger fights and just dive into button mashing. The combat is much smoother than the last game. The character powers are much most simpler, being that there are only your basic four powers per character. A little less customization, but the end result is, no character has 5 crappy powers and 1 good one that you use all the time. This system forces you to use all the characters powers and so far I've yet to see anymore than maybe one power per character that wasn't of any use. Then there is the passive powers. Here is where your customization of your character really comes through. You choose what they are better at from this list of passive powers. Unfortunately you cannot choose your sets of passives, but I can understand that seeing as everyone would choose a lot of the same ones (health, stamina, damage reduction) and they would mostly be the same. I will say this however, this game is much more fun in Co-op, if for no other reason than the AI controlled characters are still a bit off when it comes to the fighting. As a newly added function, even if you are playing with your friends and you want to do a little leveling up on the fly, you can now do that without interrupting gameplay by opening the quick level up menu and handing your character over to an AI until you are finished. A nice little feature if you have ever played with one of those people who sits there and debates over points and levels for 20 minutes at a time.


Characters gets its own section due to the amount of discord that came along with the revelation of the roster and secret character. Yet amist a list of characters that I believed would only be halfway decent, I found myself liking most if not all of them. Each character has a great powerset and fighting style and most importantly, brings different things to the table as far as team role and fusion possibility. Now seeing as someone will say a Tank character is the same as any other, I will go ahead and say, not so much here. In this case, the tanks powers and fusions are more or less the same with small variances, but the key here is their passive abilities. That is how your going to choose which, if any of these characters you want. Now onto the secret character. I will say right now, it is Nick Fury (hint the spoilers thing above.) It is not the Nick Fury from the last game. It is a Nanite infected Fury who, through the various super heroes being absorbed into the Fold (basically the final invading force in the game,) has gained powers from some different Marvel heroes. I was skeptical of this too, but after you play as him, you realize he is not that bad. He has an interesting mix of powers and its original. Quite a bit of the backlash from the fans of the game for Fury was because so many other characters were passsed up for him, but try to go into it with an open mind and you might be suprised. So just try it out, maybe you will like some characters that you didn't think you would. In any case, its worth a shot to try them all, because even the repeats from the last game have been changed to be better.

In a word, great. The story combines inspiration from the Secret War, Civil War, and ends with a techno invasion that I think is a semi original idea, (after all you could find a basis for any idea in a previous one, but play through and I think you'll know what I mean.) The story features a great set of missions through three acts. The first and third act are the same no matter what, but the second act changes in both the mission objectives and battles based on what side you choose to be on for the Civil War. I have not read all of the Civil War comics, but I believe it is a good story to put into a game simply due to the fact that fans of Marvel heroes have always thought, "I wonder what it would be like if those guys fought these guys." That thought becomes reality in this game since your fighting pretty much everyone. Everything seems to link together and there are no serious plotholes. The idea behind this story was a "What if" of the Civil War, so if your a comic fan expecting a faithful and complete retelling, don't bother, but that doesn't stop it from being a good adaption of the story.

Spoilers Over

Overall I give this game a good score because its a good game. You dont have to have played the last game for this to be good and you really dont need to play it all the way through if you don't want to. Its one of those games that has a good story, but if thats not your thing, it is still fun to just jump in and KO some badguys. So if you liked MUA1, like Marvel super heroes, or just like a fighting game where you can team up with some friends, I would recommend this.
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93,241 (63,570)
TA Score for this game: 663
Posted on 13 May 11 at 06:25
This review has 2 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is an action RPG which brings many of the greatest Marvel super heroes together to fight against each other in this adaptation of the comic book crossover event, Marvel Civil War. While Ultimate Alliance 2 is a big step up from it's lackluster predecessor, there is still a lot of improvement left to be desired.

One of the most highly criticized aspects of the first game was the bizarre storyline that had popular heroes dying left and right and left the world in shreds. Almost all of that has been completely eliminated from this game, the only reference being a comment in the beginning that Doctor Doom is assumed dead. Otherwise, all the heroes have been brought back from the dead and the world is relatively normal. Instead of creating their own storyline this time, they decided to take from the Marvel Civil War, a great decision as the storyline is much more believable (relatively speaking) and engrossing. The only problem lies in one of the core mechanics.

About a third of the way through the game, you have to choose a side to fight for. You can pick the Pro-Registration team, a group fighting to follow a new law passed which requires super humans to fight for the government and reveal themselves, led by Iron Man, or you pick the Anti-Registration team, fighting against this unjust law through rebellion, led by Captain America. It's an interesting choice but ultimately a fruitless one. Sure Act 2 will have you fighting missions for one side or the other and each team gets three unique characters (Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Songbird for Pro; Captain America, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for Anti) but in Act 3, everyone comes back together so it feels very anti-climactic. Still, the overall storyline is good so, while the morality in your decision is really pointless, it's still an entertaining ride.

As for the gameplay itself, not much has changed from the first game. You still use quick attacks, strong attacks and grapples to fight hordes of enemies which are never quite as large as you'd like them to be. Combo's make the fighting a bit more interesting, adding special effects like stunning, but they are unbelievably simple to pull off and really only keep the game from devolving into a mindless mashing of the A button. Aside from melee, you can use each character's special powers to really cut through enemies. Unlike it's prequel, Ultimate Alliance 2 only allows characters four powers total, each assigned to a face button when R is held. This is very representative of the way the game treats leveling up. It's a much simpler process which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you felt about the last game. Since the leveling up can really break the pacing of the game, especially with four characters on your team, you may simply choose to auto-level your characters and have the game decide for you. If you do go this route though, you have to make sure to change this for each individual character as auto-leveling will only effect one character at a time with no option to change all.

Items have been eliminated completely, instead giving your team three slots for Boosts, basically items that effect everyone on your team which are awarded as achievements for accomplishing certain tasks, beating bosses or a few which are scattered throughout maps. This is a much better system since you never have to worry about inventory space or which item to put on which character, not to mention they provide rewards for trying out different characters or bonus missions on the simulator.

The major change to the formula, though, are the fusion attacks. These are special moves that let two heroes combine their powers to create a super attack. You have to fill up a fusion bar in the corner to do these and can only hold two at a time, but they can be quite devastating. Unfortunately, they drastically lose their impact by the end of the game since all the fusions essentially boil down to only a few different moves. Some characters will have special fusions, such as Wolverine's Fastball Special, but most are pretty generic.

Another big problem people had with the first game was the roller coaster difficulty levels. They definitely fixed that in Ultimate Alliance 2 at the cost of pretty much all difficulty whatsoever. Most gamers will breeze through the game on single player and just dominate if playing co-op. There are a few rough patches but nothing that should keep you held up for very long, if at all. Despite this, co-op is still, undoubtedly, the more fun option so find a buddy to join you and you'll enjoy the adventure much more. You just may want to consider hard mode instead of the standard option.

The game is mostly voiced to varying degrees of success although some points are inexplicably left without voice-overs. In the hub areas between levels, sometimes you can bring one of your team members to an NPC in order to trigger a special scene. During these, for some odd reason, your character isn't voiced. there are a few other times which seemed like they could have used voice overs but nothing hugely detrimental. The environments too, while not ever incredible, look good and the characters are all well modeled, even providing two costumes for every playable character, modeled after points in the character's history.

There are plenty of collectables to find and the two different sides provide a decent amount of replayability, even in single-player, although many won't make the trek again without a friend. Up to four players can play locally or online though so you've got a few good reasons to come back. None of the achievements are ridiculous and they do a good job at guiding you through all the various options the game has.

If you couldn't stand Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Ultimate Alliance 2 won't change your mind but if you love super heroes and want to see a bit more from your favorites or if you'd like to find some new capes to look out for, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is a good choice.

NOTE: There was a DLC pack for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 which is NO LONGER AVAILABLE ON XBOX LIVE!!!!!! This pack came with achievements so you cannot 100% this game if you don't already have the DLC. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
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