Marvel Ultimate Alliance
An Action RPG with a hefty emphasis on the action, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance sees the despicable Doctor Doom (to alliterate even more gratuitously) gathering together the forces of evil in a bid for world domination... Just to make a change.
Luckily, two dozen or so heroes, including Spider-Man], Wolverine, Thor and Elektra just happen to have a window in their diaries, and with nothing better to do, decide to band together to thwart the Doc's dastardly plans. What follows is a frenetic action-romp, with lashings of unadulterated violence and some threadbare RPG elements thrown in for good measure.
Controlling four heroes at any one time, you're required to do little more than mash buttons and use your heroes' special abilities to bulldoze through seemingly endless droves of enemies and solve a few puzzles during the interludes.
Now, this should be the part where I degenerate into a rant about how consoley the whole thing feels, moan about how patronised you'll be by the simplistic upgrade system and lament at how repetitive the whole affair is. However, if truth be told, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an utter hoot.
Each hero is sufficiently unique to guarantee lashings of destructive diversity, while the sheer assortment of the locations teeters on excellent. Boss battles are explosive, brutal encounters, while some perfectly cast actors bring each character to life with genuine aplomb. If you leave your brain at the door, you just might find hours of mindless fun here.
Download Marvel Ultimate Alliance
With all the attention the Marvel license has been getting in both movies and video games, there is a fear that it's getting watered down. In addition, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the third iteration in the X-Men Legends series again returning with a similar format, raising gameplay concerns of its own. However, let me put most of the concerns aside as Marvel Ultimate Alliance side steps any possibility of that and further shows the depth of the Marvel license when used to it's fullest.
This time around, Dr. Doom once again is threatening the known world and the universe as well which causes many super heroes to join against him. These heroes who, end up being 25 playable characters, are led by Nick Fury and the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in a desperate attempt to stop Dr. Doom in his tracks. Keeping with the familiar four man teams, you'll set out track down doom and put an end to his plans.
Although the gameplay structure is similar to the previous games, a number of improvements have been made to showcase the 360s abilities and generally improve the gameplay. Some smaller improvements include features like automatically absorbing health and energy instead of having to specifically select characters to use it on and a noticeably improved AI on your team specifically, as they are much more involved and you don't have to baby-sit them during battles.
The RPG elements have been upgraded as well. Of course as the characters gain experience and increase levels, you have the ability to improve specific attacks or add new ones. A nice addition is the costumes which also have different attributes and can be improved. Some like Storm offer a nice selection and help keep the game fresh.
Probably the most obvious and appreciated addition is the graphics. Gone are the club hands from previous versions. Now the characters have significant detail associated with them and actually look realistic. Well, as realistic as super heroes can. In addition, the cut scenes are top notch and really sell the plot.
All of this combined with the ability for multiple players to play at the same time creates for quite an experience. When the comic missions are added to the regular story there's more then enough content here to keep most occupied for some time. Unless Marvel super heroes doesn't do it for you, this should be one you tackle this holiday season.