Sunday, February 7, 2010

Premature Game Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Wii)

Still being a bit of a Wii-ophite, I decided to give Activision's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance a shot.

What sold me? Doctor Strange.

I have been a Doctor Strange fan for a while now, and while he is among Marvel's oldest character, he is also their bastard son. Toward the end of his regular run, he had lost his powers and became a sort of advertisement for Marvel's other titles, a la "Welcome to The Doctor Strange Show. Tonight Thor is with us to tell us what is going on in Avengers #196."

The game also features one of my other favorites, Ms. Marvel.

So, the run down. Doctor Doom has assembled a disparate group of villains to fulfill some vile purpose. Nick Fury calls to "all meta-humans" for assistance, and gets Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, and Wolverine (why he got two Avengers, and not four is beyond me — of course, I guess every Marvel hero has been an Avenger at one time or another). These four battle their way through a few stages, then you get the opportunity to pick other heroes; The Fantastic Four, more Avengers, Moon Knight, some X-Men... I can't remember all of them. Apparently, Doctor Strange comes in later.

Gameplay. Remember when they came out with Gauntlet: Dark Legacy? Yeah. That's about it, except you get four players all the time. One at a time is controlled by the player, and the others are controlled by AI. Multiple players are allowed, so with four there is no AI. You can issue commands like "follow" to the AI players, and they seem to work pretty well.

On the Wii, most of your combat actions are done with remote gestures, so it is a bit odd. They could have just let you use the remote in controlpad mode, but you bought a Wii to wave your arms around, didn't you? The nunchuck controls movement and camera angle, which is a nice feature.

It appears that there will be a lot of stages, so beating the game in a day is not likely for the casual gamer, but it does get a bit dull. This does not seem to be a fault of the Wii, it is just a generic, run-around, beat stuff up video game. While I like it, to a point, the cast of characters does not offer much. It seems any one hero is just as good as any other hero. Elektra, a normal human if I am not mistaken, is just as good at taking out Doom Bots as Ms. Marvel, a super human on par with Wonder Woman. A fun part is that flying characters actually get to fly, but only so high, and they are easily picked off while in flight.

Not great, but so few games are.

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