Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 PS3

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 PS3
Superhero companies Marvel and DC have long been archrivals, so it seems apt that Marvel's answer to DC's Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game based on its heroes vs. heroes "Civil War" storyline. MUA2 may not be the game changer that the Dark Knight's recent romp was but Marvel's signature superhero RPG franchise is aiming wide, not deep. Instead of being inspired by a graphic novel, the game takes its cues from a company-wide crossover, one of those oft-maligned "events" that comic publishers cook up on the regular to juice book sales. Still, these stories offer great fan service by roping in pretty much every imaginable character in their respective fictional universes. "Civil War" was actually better than most, offering Marvel's take on the War on Terror-era Patriot Act, with a Superhero Registration Act requiring all capes to divulge their secret identities and become government agents. The game's mid-section can be played as either pro or anti registration, with Iron Man and Captain Marvel heading each side, respectively. To pad out the playing time, the opening act is taken from "Secret War," which involves a false pretences invasion of a sovereign country. (The plot, unfortunately delivered in disjointed fashion, also takes a non-cannon twist towards the end.) But storytelling isn't the game's forte; it's about letting comic geeks control their favourite characters. Unfortunately, several characters are pointlessly locked until certain collectathons are completed, while others are console exclusives. This Gauntlet-like four-person team set-up is perfect for co-op multiplayer, which is one of the game's big selling points, especially with the addition of two-person "fusion" fight moves. But otherwise, the game remains the same as when original developer Raven Software (Baldur's Gate) first concocted it for the last-gen X-Men Legends games. The mutant-only entries gave the game a bit more story structure but the problem is that the game-play hasn't been advanced much in the ensuing years. Controlling a superhero squad is still super-fun but MUA2 adheres to an overly strict dungeon-crawling structure with too many bland henchmen. In a post-Arkham Asylum world, Marvel would be smart to raise their stakes in storytelling, game-play and graphics. They certainly have no lack of material to draw from ― the post-apocalyptic "Days of Future Passed" or "Dark Phoenix Saga" would make epic X-Men games, while mid-'80s maxi-series "Secret Wars" would be perfect for an all-in adventure. And who understands the importance of evolution better than mutant-loving Marvel? (Vicarious Visions/Activision)