Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Video Game Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance
It has been ages since I have been as geeked for a game as I was for Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
Even FF XII. Sure, I was *anticipating* FF XII and preordered it, and the strategy guide (I see no point in playing an FF game without one lol) from Amazon a few days before launch.
But I wasnt surfing the web desperately looking for who I was going to be able to play and watching gameplay videos on gamespot for the month before launch, like I did for Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
The reason of course, is that MUA melded TWO things I love: comics and RPGs.
As most of you probably know, I'm also a huge fan of superhero RPGs.
Finally, I had played the X-Men Legends games by this same manufacturer and enjoyed them both.
So this game really had my nerd heart beating in a way not many things do.
So, now that I've detailed in excruciating (and possibly disturbing) detail how much I wanted this game before launch, how is it now that I have it in my hands?
The answer is pretty damn good. Not the greatest game ever. But damn good.
It's a little too button-mashy for me to play in large doses. Basically you wander around and savagely beat down anything that moves. Then after the fight you break open crates for health, energy and "shield credits" which look like big gold pieces.
Yes, you're playing the Avengers and you break open crates for cash (in gold pieces no less). And yes, I happen to think that is AWESOME.
Occasionally you have a boss fight, which tend to be interesting because those ARENT just button-mashing, they're puzzles you have to solve, FOLLOWED by button mashing. The short story is that most of the bosses, think, Ymir the Asgardian Frost Giant, or Galactus, are more or less invulnerable, so you have to solve a puzzle, which will then allow you to hurt the monster.
Here's an example: at one point you fight Tiger Shark underwater. Since he's actually a native, he basically swims around you, pummeling you at will, much too fast for you to connect with him, even with ranged attacks.
Fortunately there's a couple of drains in the room, activate them, he gets pulled to ground level, and THEN you can waste him.
In short, I like this game a lot, like the different elements it offers, such as the mini-games where you play comics out with individual characters. There's also a trivia mini-game in each act, that rewards your characters with XP.
Finally, you can build your own supers team from a roster of 20 playable characters, customize them with different costumes (so you can be the classic red and blue Spidey or the venom-y black suited spidey) and even find "magic items".
The only real "problem" I have with this game, and Im not sure it's the game and not me, is that I can't really play it in large doses. After about 30 minutes of button mashing, Im tired of the experience (it really is mindless and light) and ready to read a book, or play FF XII.
Still, I keep coming back to the game, and always delight in each new costume or hero I unlock, and I am committed to beating the game, just so I can unlock Nick Fury and then play the game AGAIN.
In short, it's a really really good game in a beer and pretzels way, not sure I'd call it a great game but certainly a worthy addition to my console library.
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