Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Review

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is not just for the hardcore comic crowd. Even casual fans such as me who’ve spent more time with superhero movies than with their ink and paper inspirations can appreciate having a host of cool super powers at their thumb tips. If you’re a fan of action-RPGs then all the better because Ultimate Alliance plays like a dungeon crawler hack and slash fest. Comic book homage, superhero brawler, dungeon crawler,… call it what you will, I call it fun.

Heroes pose for a group shot.
Any X-Men Legends fans out? If you’re one of them you’ll be familiar with the basic gameplay in Ultimate Alliance. Just in case you’re not, here’s how the game works. You’re in control of a team of four superheroes out to fight for justice by bashing in the skulls of evil doers and their minions. You directly control only one superhero at a time with the computer taking over for the other three, but you can instantly switch control with a simple press of the d-pad. Each superhero comes with light, heavy, and grapple attacks and each superhero performs these attacks in his or her own particular style. For Thing it’s clobberin’ time while Spidey unleashes a fast and athletic flurry of strikes. Each superhero also has his or her unique special power attacks as well. Pulling the right trigger pops up a menu of special attacks that can be unleashed with the corresponding face button. Special attacks draw power from each hero’s power reserve, so they’re best reserved for the times when you need to pack some extra punch. Superheroes can also work in tandem to pull off special combo attacks and part of the fun of the game is finding out which hero combos yield special attacks. Since you can mix and match heroes to create your own custom team, it’s easy to experiment with different team combinations.

Ultimate Alliance also features the RPG aspects introduced in the X-Men Legends games. As your heroes fight they gain experience which leads to increased stats but can also unlock new powers. Coins found while fighting your way through the game’s levels can be spent to upgrade powers, giving you some degree of customization over a hero’s style. Hate RPGs? No problem – the game allow you to automate the whole process and fight your way through the game without ever visiting a stats screen. You may be wondering what happens to the heroes who currently on your team. Do you have to switch them in constantly to keep up everyone’s experience levels or do you need to commit to one team to max out any of the heroes? Thankfully the answer to both questions is ‘no’. The heroes not currently on your team will continue to level-up behind the scenes along with your active heroes. They won’t be at the same level, but they’ll be close enough behind that you can bring them in later in the game and not worry about them being relative weaklings.

The game gives you 25 total heroes whom you can mix and match into your active team. Should you go the “match” route you’ll find that you’re given special bonuses of one kind or another, so there is an advantage to assembling the Fantastic Four into a team. There are also bonuses for various other hero combinations, such as the Femme Fatale bonus gained by selecting an all female team. In addition, you can unlock alternate costumes for your heroes that no only let them sport a different look but also give them different stat boosts. For example, one costume gives Wolverine faster health regeneration while another gives him stronger attacks.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · Xbox