Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Xbox 360
Reviewed: 12/12/2006

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an action RPG that lets players create their ultimate team from the largest super hero alliance ever as they engage in a quest to determine the fate of the Marvel universe. But the real question is, is it any fun? Well the answer to this question well depend largely on how much repetition gamers enjoy in their games.

The cast of comic book characters in this game is, quite frankly, overwhelming. With 24 playable characters and a combined cast of over 140 characters from all areas of the Marvel world, it’s hard to find a character or series not touched upon.

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“Nicholas Cage, eat your heart out”

Players are able to create teams and have online and cooperative play, for up to four people. Moon Knight and Colossus are available as next-gen exclusive characters. There is an arcade mode in which players will have to fight for the most kills in order to get experience points at the end of the level. There are also special comic book missions, revisiting a moment in a character’s past and facing a classic arch rival. Super heroes may have up to four costumes, which can alter the stats of the character. Often times, players will find themselves fighting over the camera in co-op play. Each player may have his/her own priorites which can conflict with the teammates, so a stalled camera and hidden enemies are often the end result if players can not communicate and work together.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance could be called an RPG-light. It uses a similar basic leveling and stat systems used in the X-Men: Legends games. Players lead their groups of four superheroes through level designs, which can only be described as cattle chutes, smashing up random AI fodder and boxes/barrels containing huge golden coins used to purchase new or improved stats and abilities along the way, until arriving at the end of the corridor level design to meet up with the current boss. There are a several bosses that require a specific trick to beating them, not just how many times the heroes can hit them. These are very satisfying battles much in the same vein as God of War. The large, drawn-out boss battles add a much needed change to the constant barrage of AI fodder.

The storyline in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a flimsy standard comic book situation where Dr. Doom has formed a new Masters of Evil, consisting of Loki, Ultron, Baron Mordo, Enchantress, and others, in pursuit of an unknown goal. How awesomely comic-book of them. They then launch an attack on an S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Nick Fury sends out a distress call to all available superhumans. Captain America, Thor, Spiderman and Wolverine respond and proceed to eliminate Doom’s forces. After saving the helicarrier, Nick is given the OK by the government to create a special task force of super human to counter the Masters of Evil. Since the helicarrier is too badly damaged to serve as an HQ, Iron Man gives Nick permission to use Stark Towers. During the game, players travel through Murderworld, Mephisto’s Realm, and Asgard to stop the Masters of Evil.

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Damn it Spidey! You’ve gone and got the floor all icky-sticky again!

The sounds consist mostly of your basic superhero fist pounding, and the game’s music flaunts a pretty intense, emotional score. There is not anything that is wrong in the musical score but, equally, there is nothing worth remembering. It gets the job done.

Graphically, the game is amazing. On the Xbox 360 and Hi-Def television, the game is extremely crisp and sharp, with characters and environment equally well detailed. The cut scenes in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance are feasts for the eyes, and players will crave seconds.

In Conclusion, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is not a bad game. For those who enjoy a good dungeon crawl where you tap one or two buttons as you beat down countless AI fodder this game could give you several hours of enjoyment. This game does nothing new, it doesn’t try to extend the genre in ways it has never seen. It is a solid dungeon crawler-esque game with a very predictable and cheesy story, which fits its comic book style. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is extremely repetitive button masher, but it knows that and delivers its mechanics very well. Fans of this style of game, or who enjoy a comic book story and the marvel universe will most likely enjoy this game. A better level design with possibly branching paths or a way to get out of the “cattle chute” mentality would have been nice. All in All this game is not recommended for hardcore RPG fans that live and die by the story, this is the RPG equivalent to a summer popcorn action flick. So sit down, curl up, turn your mind off and just enjoy the game.

-Michael Wayland

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Very Good
Story Bad
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: 6