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Intersection of Life and Faith

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

  • Bryan Fischer theFish.com Contributing Writer
  • 2009 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Available for PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, DS, Wii, PSP

A worthy sequel to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 serves up all new heroes and simplifies the upgrade system while staying true to the beloved gameplay that characterizes this franchise. While it could be said that this installment is somewhat more of the same, fans of the X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games will embrace its hard-hitting, high action gameplay.

The first Marvel Ultimate Alliance ended with the defeat of Dr. Doom in his home country to Latveria. This installment begins years later as your team of Marvel Super Heroes help Nick Fury launch a non-sanctioned pre-emptive strike against Latveria's Prime Minister, Lucia Von Bardas. She declares revenge a year later with a retaliatory attack on New York City.

Along with various other Super Hero incidents, public outrage against Super Heroes erupts. The government passes the Superhuman Registration Act into law and Super Heroes must register as weapons of mass destruction under the control of the United States government. Lines are drawn as Captain America leads an Anti-Registration group against Iron Man's Pro-Registration side. The player must choose a side to fight for and determine the fate of both humankind and super-humankind.


Gameplay/Controls

Like its predecessor, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2's true gem is its control scheme.  This is especially true when you're playing this game on the PS3, PS2 or Xbox360.  These systems give a simple, straight forward control scheme while the Wii has a few movement-based controls. This means you will have to push, pull and shake the controllers in order to perform some abilities.  While it can be amusing for some, serious fans of hack-and-slash gameplay will prefer the traditional control pad layout the other systems offer.  Regardless, flawless integration between your controller and what you see on the screen means when you push a button, the mapped action happens immediately.

The sheer number of Marvel characters available to play are any comic lover's dream.  From Spider-Man to Venom, the Fantastic Four, Green Goblin and Iron Fist, the list will only grow with downloadable characters coming in the near future.  Beyond the multitude, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 introduces fusion, special moves that team up two characters for unique combos.  If you do a fusion move with Ironman and Wolverine, Ironman blasts Wolverine's claws, causing rays of destructive energy to cast in various directions.  These Fusion moves can mean the difference between winning or losing a boss battle, and since they are unique depending on who the two characters are, it never gets old trying new ones out.

Graphics

As expected from this franchise, the graphics are stunning representations of your favorite Marvel Super Heroes.  The locations are just as detailed as you wander through castles, Washington D.C., subway tunnels, and more.  Because the environments are destructible in this game, the player can discover interaction between lamp posts, parked cars, benches, etc.  All of the animation is pretty to look at, much like the comics these heroes come from.

Appropriateness

First and foremost, this game is based on the fantastical world of Marvel Comics.  And while there are many redeeming qualities of Super Heroes, there is also violence associated with them.  In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, you will find a level of violence no greater than any other video game based on a comic.  There is no bloody dismemberment, no limbs lying about or anything terribly gruesome.  It's your standard Super Heroes and Super Villains beating up on each other.  In the process of doing so, cars and buildings explode, boxes are smashed and brutal plots spoiled.  But in the end, for this genre, the level of violence depicted in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is on par with its peers.

The game is officially rated T by the ESRB.  T stands for Teen and such a rating comes with it the following warning: "Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language."  In the case of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, this game contains warnings for only Violence and Mild Language.  The use of the term "Mild" by the ESRB specifically conveys low frequency, intensity or severity of whatever it modifies (in this case Language).  During my time testing of this game I never heard a single use of profanity, though according to the label it does indeed contain a small dose of profanity.

In general, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 isn't bloody, blatantly offensive or overtly sexual.  It's heroes and villains muscling it out with super powers.  A discerning parent can definitely trust their instincts on this title keeping in mind that it is suitable mainly for teenagers.

Some Perspective

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is somewhat of a timely game because of the political issues it addresses in its plot.  While not directly a correlation to any real-life laws coming into effect, the Superhuman Registration Act speaks to the politically charged atmosphere in modern America.  As players choose sides, the lines drawn in the game are quite close to Republican and Democrat party lines with both sides being quite convincing.  One could argue that which side you choose in this game defines which way you swing politically as a current or future American voter.  Because one's faith plays a part in their political stances on various issues it will likely also play a part in one's decision to support one faction or the other in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.

Other than the political themes presented in this game, any other possibly morally offensive themes lie in the back stories of the characters played and are not retold in this game.

(Rated T for Teen | 13+ age | Violence, Mild Language)