It was only a few years ago during the height of the X-Men movies that Activision and Raven Software took on the challenge of creating an over the top action RPG entitled X-Men Legends, that turned out to be a huge success. Then the duo teamed up to the sequel for X-Men Legends that improved upon the original formula and made another fantastic RPG adventure. Well now here on the Xbox 360 the duo has come back, but this time not for the X-Men franchise but instead the whole Marvel Lineup. The game is Marvel Ultimate Alliance and it is trying its luck on the next generation on the Xbox 360. So how does the game turn out? Read our full review to find out!
It was not long ago where we first heard about the development of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and I have to say when I heard this I was jumping for joy. With X-Men Legends being as successful and enjoyable to play, it was it was really exciting to see how Raven would be able to use the whole Marvel lineup in a game. So the story of Marvel Ultimate Alliance is really a prime focus in this game (like the X-Men Legends titles) that has Dr. Doom setting up this offensive and it starts at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier, and basically all of the superheroes come to try and stop the bad guys. So you have all these super heroes spring into action and thus the story commences.
To say that the story is good is probably an understatement, as I was immediately hooked as it sets the game up very nicely and manages to continue it throughout the experience. This is a big factor in the game and really sets up the rest of the games experience very nicely. For those who didn’t get to run with X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is an over the top (view point) action RPG that takes in some of the more common RPG traits, like leveling up and team based strategy, with a real time action sequence that tries to capture the best of both worlds.
One of the biggest differences you will notice with Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the amount of characters you have at your disposal. You start off with Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor, and Captain America. If you ask me, that is a pretty good lineup to start the game off, and following the opening sequences you will be free to start your own team, which is actually a pretty impressive portion of the game that works really well. The game doesn’t put 100% emphasis on the team, but for me I found a certain amount of loyalty to my team and really wanted to make sure I went as far as I could with that team. You will soon develop some preference of certain characters over others, based upon their movesets and attributes.
The game moves at just the perfect pace that was set by the X-Men Legends game, which has just the right amount of combat and storyline thrown together. The combat in the game will be very familiar to those who played Legends however with the multitude of characters you will find a much more diverse feel to the game. Also when you’re not brawling through the levels, you also have the boss fights, which are just fantastic. They are extremely varied and really offer some of the best experiences in the game.
Now what would this style game be without co-op, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the 360 has both local and online co-op. I mainly was a fan of playing locally, which was basically if someone wanted to come play they could hop in with no problem. The online co-op obviously takes some time to setup, but really works and has no lag issues whatsoever. What Marvel Ultimate Alliance comes down to is just one of the most solid RPG titles the 360 has to offer. The one thing you do feel is that Marvel Ultimate Alliance doesn’t raise the bar as high as it could. The ending feeling is that of an extremely satisfying and immersive experience that just does everything right, but nothing going beyond all expectations.
Having seen my fair share of 360 titles now you can really start to separate the games that use the 360’s capabilities and those that don’t. One of the biggest ways that Marvel Ultimate Alliance uses the 360 to its advantage is in the lighting effects, which really work in this games favor. The lighting does a nice job of complimenting the environments, which are extremely varied and give the game a very nice feel to it. The character models are the only real downer, with kind of a weird somewhat standout style look. It is not that they look bad it just doesn’t really fit the feel of the rest of the game.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a title that really improves upon what we saw in the X-Men Legends franchise. Not only does this game use the whole Marvel cast of characters, but it also just has a better flow to it that manages to keep the game more interesting and even more varied than ever before. The boss fights are really just an insane experience. The game like I have mentioned really does the best in its pacing, where you have just a very diversified and interesting experience that rolls into one of the more enjoyable 360 games of the holidays.
Some may be saying with all the praise why an 8/10 score? Well, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a fantastic game, but to get into the higher scores you have to go above and beyond that, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance just feels like a great game but not to that next level. If you are a fan of any sort of RPG and the Marvel universe, then there is no doubt in my mind that Marvel Ultimate Alliance is highly worth your time.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.