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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance [PS3]







This bland, repetative beat'em'up serves as fanfare only.

6.0

Fair
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"All flash, no substance"

Summary

Take 20 or more of Marvel's most powerfull and prominent super-heroes, throw them into a plot that pulls them together, and allow the player to assemble his favorite team to do battle with super villians in an epic battle to save mankind. Sounds pretty cool right? I thought so aswell. Until I played Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

Its not that the concept isn't intrigueing, its just that the execution is handled so poorly that this game truly becomes a chore to play, which is both unfortunate and frustrating, especially given the product license and possibilities.

There are some positives, mostly ones that will appeal particularly to the hardcore Marvel fans. The cast is unparalled, and includes such staples as SpiderMan, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Ice Man, and all members of the Fantastic Four to name a few. The game's animations and representations of the heroes and villains, as well as thier superpowers, is done admirably well.

So how could this game go wrong?

Simply put, its all flash, no substance, and by the time you reach the fourth mission (or possibly sooner depending upon your patience) you quickly realize that there isn't a ton of variety here.

Marvel fans will quickly point out how many locations and side characters are at play here, but this fanfare trick will all but alienate any casual gamers, simply because the story is so convoluted and haphassard that only those excited by cameo appearances will want to pay attention to the "plot". I'm all for satiating the appetite of the hardcore fans, but not at the expense of the overall product. Unfortunately, thats what happens with Ultimate Alliance; so many characters, locations, and references are crammed into this game, that it ends up feeling disjointed, segmented, and at times, all too convenient. A more structured and streamlined concept would definitely have gone a long way to making this game playable to someone other than just the adept Marvel afficianado.

The other issue I had with this game was its overall design. There aren't many open areas for grandiose feeling battles, and there isn't much variety to be found in the various levels. The game essentially boils down to a generic hack and slash affair in which neither mission objectives nor map layout will impress you much. Maps are simplistic strings of generic rooms joined by narrow hallways. Each area has a general theme, but the lack of depth given to the layout design makes each new area seem like you're replaying the last, just with different colored walls. This is further hindered by the inclusion of RPG elements, which in all honestly, don't really make a ton of sense here. The heroes start off with basic moves, and you have to "level up" each hero to unlock thier more interesting abilities. The problem is, you accomplish this by the collection of little tokens which can be used to purchase the upgrades, and these tokens are found simply by smashing things. You don't even need to pull off special moves or find secrets to get these, you simply keep punching whatever random barrels or containers are lying about. This can either be a blessing or a curse; while tedious in nature and making little sense, at least you'll have something else to do whilst trudging through each bland and repetative mission.

This simplistic and forgettable experience will serve Marvel afficianados well from a fanfare standpoint, but it will leave casual gamers wanting more. Alot more. Once you're over the novelty of the characters available, the underlying game becomes shallow at best.






Ultimate Alliance is an action RPG you can play solo or in cooperation with 3 other players. The game isn't looking bad,

7.5

Great

Summary

Ultimate Alliance is an action RPG you can play solo or in cooperation with 3 other players. The game isn't looking bad, but not really great either, but it's a multiplatform game so they couldn't make it look better than some consoles can deal with. The person with who I played with didn't hate the story; personally I didn't care about it. All I was thinking while playing was: "bring me some mobs to beat". It feel like a Beat'em'up RPG, a lot of enemy to fight but with a leveling system. Thre is a lot of superheroes and many of them become playable as you play the game. You can also play it online but I didn't tried it and I should look into it like I done the story mode of the game. There is also some side missions you can do that are exclusive to one character.

Good
Single player
Multiplayer
Online
Many costume, skill, characters and missions to unlock
Fun game play

Bad
Not really inovative story, it's cliché and not quite good.

So over all, it's not a game that I play for the story but to have fun with friend and smash enemies. The graphic are ok but nothing exceptionnal.




A beat 'em up game that surprisingly doesn't get old.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

I've played all the X-Men Legends games and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but none are as great as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1. This is one of those games where you can just sit back and button mash every bad guy you come across while still having a good time by yourself or with friends. Ultimate Alliance 2 is good if you have a full house of friends since the AI tends to attack the human players, but in this one the AI is good no matter how many are playing. Even your AI allies don't just sit idly by while you're attacked like in the 2nd game. All in all, this game is a better experience, if not as advanced, as the second Ultimate Alliance.

GAMEPLAY - Strictly just beat 'em up-style gameplay with objectives to complete. There is also a sense of RPG-ness here with the ability to customize your heroes. Each hero has 4 different costumes that give different abilities, unlike the 2nd Ultimate Alliance where they're just for appearances. No medals in this game like in the second one, but that makes it more realistic, in my opinion. I would rather beef up my individual characters rather than give my whole party bonuses, because in the end your characters end up being stronger on here also. Lots of fun stuff to customize as you go through the game, and you also get to see lots of cool villains and environments. - 9/10

STORY - Basically Dr. Doom is trying to get together a huge group of super villains to conquer the world, so in response the superheroes are uniting to stop them. Probably not on the caliber of the second game, but this is the only area Ultimate Alliance 1 suffers from in comparison. - 8/10

GRAPHICS - The graphics are noticeably dated by today's standards, but they're not too bad. If anything it just makes everything look like it came straight out of a comic book. - 6.5/10

SOUND - The music is pretty cool in this game. Lots of great fight music. The voice-acting is about average. Some characters weren't cast as well as I would have liked, but still not too bad. - 7.5/10

LENGTH/REPLAY VALUE - This game is much longer than the second Ultimate Alliance, but the only replay value here is if you want to play on different difficulties. I personally like this game much more overall, but this isn't one of those games you're going to want to play through time and time again typically. - 5/10

BOTTOM LINE - Although this game suffers from its age, I personally prefer this game over the second Ultimate Alliance in almost every way. If you want a better story and better graphics, get the second one. If you want better gameplay and tend to play alone, I would recommend this one. It all depends on what you want, even though the second one did have more "holy crap" moments. Both games are good in their own way, but I think this is the game that really shines between the two. Despite everything I've said though, you can't really go wrong with either one since both tend to be some of the best co-op games on the PS3. - 7.5/10




One of the first game coming on PS3, doesn't feel next gen. game. It is still a good one.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Guilty pleasure"

Summary

With an HD tv, it's possible to see all those pixels, which it doesn't feel it's an HD game. Maybe at the time, those graphics were awesome, but for now, I feel like I'm playing with my PS2.

Even though, the game is fun to play. Especially if you're a Marvel fan. There is so much stuff that relates to the world of the X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil, Dr Strange, Ironman, Thor and many more. Of course, you don't have to be a fan to enjoy playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance (But if you want to become a fan I think it's a good initiation). I think there is enough explanation in the game to follow the story without even knowing a single thing about these superheroes.

There is two kind of way to play the game. You can go bash and slash in the villeins without even getting to know the story and customised your heroes who are leveling up! Or you can go the other way which let you immerse in these mutant world, customised your character, play the personal mission for each of your character (which can be good because it lets you unlock nice new features).

It's nice to play, but like any dash and bash game, after a while it gets repetitive. Of course, you can go and change some characters of your squad and you'll find a new way of fighting. Almost each hero feels different. There is more than 15 characters to play and each has its own personal grab.




While fun, it's not as Ultimate as you may think.

6.5

Fair
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Check your bargain bin"

Summary

Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 before playing the original may well have spoiled my enjoyment of this Marvel inspired dungeon crawler. While it's flaws would have been fairly stand out anyway they are made all the more apparent by the sequel's large improvements. Despite that there is a fair amount of fun to be had for fans of the Marvel universe.

The game starts out with one of best opening CG movies I have witnessed in gaming with Dr Doom attacking one of S.H.E.I.L.D's Helicarriers. Nick Fury calls in reinforcements of Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Thor. After repelling the assault the heroes are drafted in to stop Doom and his cohorts in a plot that just seems to go slowly downhill in an excuse to visit various places famous to Marvel fans. Things start off strong but never quite really hold together well enough so that by the end I just didn't care all that much about what was happening, I was rather disappointed.

The gameplay fortunately is actually quite fun to play, if only for fans. For each mission you get to pick four different Marvel heroes from a pretty expansive list of characters including Blade, the Fantastic Four, several X-men, Deadpool, and even Moon Knight. These characters can be swapped between on the fly in battle and the roster can be constantly changed at save points till you find a team you feel comfortable with.

Each character has unique attacks and abilities of their own matching their power with different strengths and weaknesses. As your characters level up more points can be put into these skills increasing various attributes from duration, attack power, range etc depending on it's effects. Many of the attacks do look quite impressive and give a good feeling of impact genuinely making you feel like a Marvel powerhouse, I can't tell a lie, hitting people in the face with Captain America's Vibranium shield just never got old for me.

On top of normal leveling up each character also has access to multiple costumes from classic, modern, ultimate etc. Each costume has different skills either boosting health, element attacks or various other bonuses as well as changing the character's appearance which are all quite nice options.

During the course of the game your party of course ends up fighting many famous (Infamous perhaps) Marvel villains as both sub bosses and main bosses each of which drop equipment specific to them which also increases various stats and skills when equipped to your characters

All this leads up to a negative however, these characters, stats, costumes and equipment are great, I love micromanaging gear in RPGs, love it, that is when the menu is comfortable to use. Marvel Ultimate Alliances menu layout is terrible. Even after 20 hours of playing I found in fiddly and badly designed, I let the characters auto level up just because I hated going into the character menu unless I had to, not a good sign.

As afore mentioned the CG movies to this game are of incredible high quality, not just in content but from a technical perspective they really look stunning. It seems that all their time and budget went into those though as the in game graphics are painfully dire. This is especially obvious during close up cutscenes where textures are often just undetailed blocks of colour, even as a four year old title at the time this would have been ugly, I have seen PlayStation 2 games that look better. I suspect that is part of the problem though that it was ported from the PlasyStation 2 as this game was released on just about everything available really hurting it leaving it as an undetailed embarrassment.

The voice acting fares better though at least with most of the roles being suitably cast and performed though a few of the villains are occasionally wince worthy and sound like an amateur youtube video.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a surprisingly large game to play through. There are several different hubs to explore, tons of characters to talk to as well as many large dungeons and collectables like comics, stat boosts and Danger room discs that give added challenge missions, I was pretty impressed by the amount of content.

The game originally had an online multiplayer, the servers for this however seem to be shot as some friends bought this game with me to play it online and we simply couldn't connect or find each other no matter who hosted the game. So if you do get it, local play is all you can expect.

So it boils down to this really, if you have the choice, get Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, it looks better, has a better story, a superior menu layout, it is the ultimate Marvel dungeon crawler. On the flipside though this game is now pretty cheap and if you are a big Marvel fan there is fun to be had using the characters powers, just don't expect much more than that.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
+ Using Powers is fun
+ CG movies are brilliant.
+ Great selection of characters to play as.
+ A decent amount to do.

- In game visuals are terrible
- Menu layout is awful.
- Plot feels a bit silly.
- voice acting is hit and miss.
- Online multiplayer seems to have been knocked on the head.
8.2

Superb
7.8