Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - Xbox 360

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Also for: Wii, PS3, PS2, PSP
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Vicarious Visions Soft. Co.: Marvel
Publishers: Activision (GB)
Released: 25 Sept 2009 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Accessories: Headset


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Brother versus brother, hero versus hero! Dark times are indeed afoot in the Marvel Universe as seen through the lens of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, follow-up to 2006's superhero team brawler from Raven Software.

The sequel brings a new developer (Vicarious Visions) and new focus to the Ultimate Alliance series, but the same core four-man action role-playing gameplay remains.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 has a tighter, grittier slant on the Marvel heroes than its predecessor, focusing less on the cosmic side of Marvel and more on the heroes' interaction with the government. Namely, following an accident involving superheroes that cost hundreds of civilian lives, the US government has decided that all heroes must be registered. On the one hand you've got the pro-registration heroes who see signing up as a necessary step to regain public trust and maintain national security, on the other you've got the anti-registration heroes, who see government involvement in super-heroics as an assault on civil liberties. That might sound familiar...

Anyway - you can guess what follows, right? A big ol' super-hero smackdown!

After the first act you'll have to choose sides, which fixes the number of characters available to you for a while. As the story progresses, however, more and more of your favourites turn up to create a roster of playable characters that eventually swells to being 24-strong.

Gameplay is essentially hack and slash brawling with a liberal sprinkling of role-playing game elements. At any given time you'll have four playable characters on screen, which you can swap between at any point. Up to four players can team up both online and off, enabling you to get the most out of your line-up.

You'll also get added experience point (XP) for having certain line-ups, such as the Fantastic Four or X-Men, on screen at any given moment. Teamplay also pays off with the newly-introduced fusion attacks, which involve characters combining powers to devastating and spectacular effect.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is, essentially, the world's greatest superhero team-up. For comics fanboys and gamers alike, that's a lot to love.