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Platform: PC, PS2, PS3, XB, 360, Wii PSP
Genre: Action RPG
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven Software / Vicarious Visions / Beenox Studios / Barking Lizards
ETA: Q4 2006
Related Links:

Review: X-Men Legends (XB)

Review: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PC)

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man (XB)

Review: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (XB)

 

 

 

 

 

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Marvel Ultimate Alliance

 

marvel ultimate alliance          marvel ultimate alliance

 

Though I haven’t been paying close attention to the Marvel Universe of late (though the animated Ultimate Avengers movie made for some popcorn viewing), I was stoked to see Marvel Ultimate Alliance at E3.  140 Marvel characters in one game?  A group of heroes of my choosing?  Those two concepts alone have practically sold me on the idea.

 

Under the direction of Raven Software, Marvel Ultimate Alliance looks like it will follow the same paradigm as X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (also by Raven) where you choose four characters, send them out to do battle, and upgrade stats and equipment as you go.  The difference here is that you’ll have a huge roster of characters to select from – 20 available at the start (headliners like Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Thor), with the remaining 120 (presumably) unlockable.  And it’s not just the heroes that are represented, the villains also have a heavy presence, with the likes of Dr. Doom and Galactus.  However, there is the distinct possibility that you won’t be playing that many characters; the official press release and the fact sheet seem to indicate players will have access to “more than 20” heroes.  So, even if there are 140 recognizable Marvel characters in the game, that doesn’t mean they’ll all be playable.

 

In the comics, getting 140 Marvel characters all in one place is usually done with a galactic threat, like Thanos with his Infinity Gauntlet.  Though the setup sometimes feels a bit contrived (even for a comic book), it’s always cool to see the epic battles that unfold.  For Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Dr. Doom is up to his usual nefarious plotting and has reformed the Masters of Evil in an effort to take over the world.  Both Raven and Marvel’s C.B. Cebulski are collaborating on the story, which is good news, because Raven has proven they have a real love of the Marvel Universe and having C.B. Cebulski means there won’t be any straying 

when it comes to Marvel cannon.  My own prediction for the story is that the situation with Dr. Doom will swirl out of control and the heroes and villains will have to band together to save the galaxy. (The fighting will take place in a variety of well-known Marvel Universe locations like Atlantis and the Skrulls homeworld.)

 

Though I didn’t actually play the game, one could presume that the basic combat mechanics from the X-Men Legends games will apply here.  You control one character directly and set the behavior for the other characters, with the ability to perform combo moves (depending on who makes up the group) and switch control of characters on the fly.  The 

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combat wasn’t always fresh in the X-Men Legends games with plenty of non-stop button mashing, but it kept everything moving at a brisk pace.  There’s the promise of more variety thanks to the ability to use objects in the environment, Super Hero powers, and grappling, blocking and dodging moves.

 

Multiplayer action is being integrated as well, both on and offline, which I hope means four-player action.  There is specific mention of a Competitive Mode but there’s not much detail on it.

 

The screenshots and trailers I saw make the title seem like it’s on firm footing – looking good without going overboard with crazy lighting effects included just for the hell of it.

 

marvel ultimate alliance          marvel ultimate alliance

 

My only hope for Marvel Ultimate Alliance is that it lives up to my expectations, which are pretty high at this point.  The other concern is that it will feature accurate portrayals of all 140 characters (heroes and villains) and what the final roster will be.  Will the game give me my favorite character as playables: Puck, Ultron, Hulk, and Vision?  Fortunately, it looks like Activision wants to keep gamers informed.  The official Marvel Ultimate Alliance website is regularly updated with new characters and information.

 

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is scheduled to ship Q4 2006 for PC, Playstation 2, Xbox, Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PSP.

 

- Omni

(June 19, 2006)