RELEASE DATE: 9/2009
ESRB RATING: T
Progress: 80% at time of posting
Building off of previous great brawler games: X-Men Legends 1 & 2 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1, developer Vicarious Visions, released Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (MUA2) in mid 2009. The premise for the story, which involves all the mainstay heroes from the Marvel Universe, is 2009's Civil War story line. Civil War is a fan favorite mini series that pits hero against hero against villains over a new government ruling that all super heroes need to be registered or considered terrorists. It's an exciting tale that parallels modern society in some ways. You can play through two campaigns of the Civil War story line as either pro-registration or anti-registration; both giving you access to certain characters and different battles.
MUA2 is a top down perspective brawler at it's finest. The menu design is very nice and is based off the Civil War comic's design. This look is both straight forward menu design and bit more serious in tempo. A lot of the characters are represented by silhouettes in the menu which is nice and matches the design but I personally would rather see more character art. The cut scenes look great and are a good reward from battling between levels. The character rooster features: Wolverine, Spidey, Cap, Hulk, Thing, Thor, Iron Man and lots more.
The controls are an assortment of button mashing combined with luck and not too much precision. Though you can pull out some serious moves on villains you do so while constantly monitoring health bars and stamina meters. Characters can combine their super powers in a new Fusion Power mode; the effects of which can be devastating to the enemy. I found I used the Fusion Powers whenever I would get overwhelmed and must say they actually make the game a little too easy. Replay value of MUA2 is fairly high; you can collect different costumes (1 each per character), play trivia and the mission simulator modes in addition to playing through both the pro-registration and anti-registration campaigns.
The video game veers from the comic about half way through. Changing the story seemed like a strange move but it seems to work ok except for the final boss, which makes no sense at all if you are a long time Marvel fan. I was really excited about this game when it first came out, day one purchase for me. I played through it in less than a week. Even with two full campaign modes the game is incredibly short. If you are just slightly interested in the subject material I recommend a rent or borrow situation. As a long time Marvel fan I come back to this game often. I find MUA2 to be a great game when you have a house full of friends they can all join in in four player co-op. Co-op is handled in a drop in drop out fashion which is great for just mildly interested friends.
On Dec 31, 2009 all of the online download content disappeared, including the patches that allow you to play the DLC with others online. There were additional characters such as Cable, Carnage and Psylocke available. Internet rumors point to the franchise was taken away from Vicarious Visions with little to no information available as to why. Coincidently this was all around the same time Disney bought Marvel. It's too bad really I was hoping to pick up those extra characters had they gone on sale.
Fun while it lasted