Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Comic-Con PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Jul 23, 2009
If you've played one superhero beat 'em up, you've played 'em all, right? Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, facing its critical public this week at Comic-Con, won't change your mind about the genre, but for gamers who can't get enough of their favorite heroes and villains going toe-to-toe with one another, it's hitting the right buttons.
I haven't played one of these games since the original X-Men Legends, a game I became fanatically obsessed with in college with a friend. Co-op is what these games thrive, which is why it's notable that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 embraces the concept so fully with the game's fusion powers. Playing through a mission with 1UP's Tina Sanchez, we found gleeful enjoyment in constantly combining forces.
See, there are two options for fusion powers once it's unlocked after one too many punches. One button brings up the option to enable a fusion power with any of the three other heroes on the battlefield, a smart move if you're interested in taking strategic advantage of the different fusions. On the other hand, whenever two players tap the fusion button at once, you automatically combine powers with one another. Screaming out as you smash the button is unsurprisingly awesome.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 pulls from the beloved Civil War arc, a storyline where superheroes -- even the good ones -- were forced to take sides. You were either willing to submit your identity to the government and become declared a "human weapon of mass destruction" or?you didn't. The game's lead writer, Evan Skolnick, told me his team at Vicarious Visions drew upon everyday fears about government intervention, the balance between freedom and security, for the game. It's unclear how much Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, a game targeted at a wide demographic, will play within these themes, but the potential for it to play both sides is encouraging. Whether it does or not, however, was impossible to tell in my demo.
There's simply not much to say about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, though. For better or worse, it's more of the same. 20 minutes of hands-on didn't do much to encourage me to check the game out anymore than I'd felt compelled to before picking up the controller. Maybe it's because I'm tiring of the same ol' same ol' from these superhero beat 'em ups, but if the reaction of the crowd at Comic-Con was any indication, the fans are happy. As a gamer, though, I felt the same as I ever did.