Marvel Ultimate Alliance


Review by Matt Paprocki


Action RPG

Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


Making surprisingly good use of the Wii Remote, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a pleasant surprise. As a port, the game is only as good as its core engine, and things do begin to falter a bit in this latest action RPG. However, the control set up may be enough reason to stick around for a few levels.

marvelalliance1_wii.jpg (120713 bytes)With a party of four at all times, Ultimate Alliance is far too hectic for its own good. This is a rare case where the AI doing what it should is a problem. Simply put, you barely play this title; the always aggressive AI characters in your party do most of the work for you. Aside from larger conflicts, you could beat entire stages without even throwing a blow. It's tuned for multi-player, though without online play, this will end up as a solo adventure for many.

It's nearly impossible to become involved in any battle as chaos rules the screen. For a fan of Marvel, they'll love some of the obscure character inclusions, both playable and non-playable. A non-Marvel fan will stick with known favorite like Spiderman and Wolverine.

As in any action RPG, destructible objects provide power-up on a regular basis. For the most part, smashing things here is fine. That remains true until you run up to an object that takes an exceptionally high amount of damage to go down, revealing nothing inside. This is a constant annoyance, and if you're looking to level up quickly with a nicely present interface, breaking things is the fastest way to do it aside from taking down foes.

Alliance does a superlative job of introducing players to the back-stories of the characters. Conversations with the heroes in their home base reveal where/how their powers were given to them. A multitude of villains line the disc leading up to some inventive boss encounters. The difficulty levels also provide a nice variety of challenges for players of any age or skill.

If the games uncontrolled fighting doesn't bother you, playing through this version of the game will prove incredibly fun. While there is no way to customize controls, the set up allows for a few different options. It's rather ridiculous to expect someone to flick their wrist for each and every standard attack (of which you'll do literally a few thousand times). Thankfully, the A button performs the same task.

The buttons, or the far more enjoyable motion controls can also handle complicated maneuvers. They're logically laid out as well. An attack sending a foe into the air requires a quick upward motion. Likewise, a low sweep asks for a downward push. Blocking can be performed with the required nunchuck attachment by pulling it back. Other movements include pushing the remote forward for pushing away enemies.

Swapping between characters is a simple d-pad assignment. The camera is nicely mapped to the nunchuck via a tilt. However, it's slightly touchy, and you're nearly required to stay completely still to prevent it from moving. General movement is also handled by the nunchuck's analog stick, making this even harder.

Ultimate Alliance is also a surprising graphical effort for Wii owners. Backdrops provide some stunning detail, not far off from those in the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. It only suffers with smoke and particle effects, which are crude by comparison.

It's wonderful to see a port receive attention to the controller instead of haphazardly tossing the game out there. It's enough to raise the Wii version a step above from the expectations, but it can't be ignored that the core game is mediocre at best. Ultimate Alliance is a dream set up for comic book followers. Everyone else will simply want to play the game without the computer assistance.


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Last updated: Friday, December 08, 2006 11:15 PM