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Marvel | Ultimate Alliance | review | game | Lollipop

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

(Activision for Xbox 360)
by Mike Delano

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance sticks closely to the mold set by its predecessors in the X-Men Legends series, namely a top-down Gauntlet-style hack and slash adventure. Games in that genre are usually successful in delivering an immediate, but hollow, burst of action that's easy to pick up and, five minutes later, just as easy to put down. Ultimate Alliance distinguishes itself by offering some of the most colorful, detailed environments ever seen in this type of game, as well as offering an intriguing storyline that sends your team of superheroes to an impressive selection of locales from the Marvel world.

Such first-class presentation comes with a price, though. To gasp at the stunning environments and battle or control every comic book character in the known universe, you have to suffer through gameplay that's trapped in the Stone Age. It's a top-down hack and slash game, yes, but never has the numbing simplicity and repetition of the controls associated with the genre been so apparent. It just doesn't do the visuals or story justice.

Despite the archaic gameplay, Ultimate Alliance is pretty much a required experience for comic fans. It's probably the most stylish, comprehensive comic-based action game ever made. For gamers with just a passing interest in comics, it's the perfect weekend run-through, a fantastic accomplishment that's unfortunately hampered with gameplay that doesn't offer much incentive to explore very far into its vast world.


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