Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Updated Impressions: Secret War in Castle Doom

We get a look at the first level in Vicarious Visions' upcoming action game based on Marvel Comics' Civil War.

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We recently got the chance to get an updated look at Activision's follow-up to the wildly popular Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Developer Vicarious Visions' president, Guha Bala, was on hand to give us a look at the game's first level and a peek at some more characters from the roster of playable heroes. The demo showcased the game's ties to the Civil War storyline that ran through Marvel's books last year and the visual polish courtesy of the new graphics engine.

The first level is essentially a prologue to the main game. It sets events in motion that lead to the drama of the Civil War. The action revolves around Nick Fury leading a group of heroes into Doctor Doom's homeland, which has seen some political upheaval that has left the good doctor out of his job of national despot. While a Doom-less Latverian government may sound like a good thing in theory, the reality is that the new leader, Lucia von Bardas, might actually be worse. In order to verify his suspicions, Fury gathers up a small strike team of heroes to go have a look at things. Things go wrong, as if they could go any other way, and the team finds itself busting heads as it makes its way to the castle. The level demo was split into two parts, a run through the surrounding villages around the town and a miniboss fight against Electro. The hands-off demo showcased a few different hero configurations that featured familiar faces. Captain America, Spider-Man, Thing, Human Torch, Thor, and Wolverine were playable with Nick Fury in tow, and there were two newcomers to the roster, Songbird and Iron Fist. The mix of heroes showed off some new power fusions, which continue to be cool and very useful, and the new interface.

The start of the demo follows Fury, Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine as they arrive in Latveria and start busting heads. The journey to the castle was broken up with some team changes as our demoer swapped in Human Torch, Thing, Thor, Iron Fist, and Songbird to show off the different fusion possibilities. Captain America and Thor's fusion has the thunder god blasting Cap's shield with lightning, which works as a deadly clothesline to take out any enemies in between the two heroes and can move with them as they move in tandem. Thor and Human Torch create a fiery tornado that clears enemies. Iron Fist combines with the Torch to create a radial chi- and fire-powered blast field to clear surrounding enemies. Iron Fist's fusion with Captain America has the two heroes performing a conga line of doom and plowing through enemies in a charged rushed. Iron Man and Song Bird's fusion has the metal avenger blasting his repulsors into a prism of sonic energy that blasts out deadly shafts of refracted light perfect for clearing mobs. The battle with Electro also let our demoer showcase the aforementioned fusions and had the added fun of Electro zipping around teleporting to different parts of the map and charging up on massive solenoids that had to be destroyed in order to defeat him. The battle looked challenging and full of quips, because, like all villains, Electro sure does like to go on about stuff in the middle of a fight.

While the variety in fusions may seem a bit daunting initially, the game's new interface helps a lot. Though there are a ton of fusions, they break down into specific attributes, such as elemental or healing, that will appear when you hold down the controller trigger to initiate the move. When the button is held down, you'll see a button over each member of the team and the fusion type possible with them. Another facet to the new system is the equipment system, which has changed from the last game. Whereas the last game had you equipping items on your heroes as well as assorted team bonuses, MUA streamlines the system. Your heroes will level up and earn powers as before, but this time out you'll also earn new abilities that seem to be passive, such as Wolverine's health regen. As far as equippable items go, you'll now collect team boost items that offer various group enhancements, such as all members of your team doing fire damage. There will apparently be more than 150 team boosts to find or earn in the game, and you'll be able to equip up to three at a given time, which should be handy. Our favorite new system in the game is the quick menus you can call up during the game to tweak your hero or team. These are especially handy in multiplayer as they can be called up without bringing the action to a screeching halt like in the last game.

The visuals are looking sharp thanks to the new graphics engine and the revamped art style. The combination of both give the game a bit more of a realistic style that is reminiscent of the work artist Gabriele Dell'Otto did in the Secret War miniseries. One of the coolest artistic touches in the demo was the makeover on Electro's costume, which is probably the coolest it has ever looked. This is saying something, considering there aren't many "cool" options open to a villain with green tights and a bright yellow headdress in the shape of three lightning bolts. Beyond that, the roster of heroes was looking sharp and detailed. The mobs of robot enemies weren't quite as detailed but were plentiful, which made for a good amount of onscreen chaos. The effects for the various powers looked sharp--maybe not quite as flashy as we were hoping for but still cool. The fusions were definitely a centerpiece to the visuals with dramatic camera angles and shiny effects punctuating the action. While the game's system camera was still a work in progress, we liked the smart movement in the demo, which brought the view in much closer in tighter quarters and zoomed out when the action moved to more open areas. If it works that smoothly throughout the whole game, we'll be very happy.

The audio was still a mix of final and work-in-progress effects and music tracks, but it already has a good vibe to it. The score has the big sweeping sound you'd expect from a Marvel: Ultimate Alliance game. The effects fit the action but don't quite have the kick you'd want right now, especially during the fusions, but we reckon that will change once the game gets polished. There's plenty of voice during the game, and it all helps give combat a busy feel that works.

We're very hopeful about where Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is headed. The roster is shaping up nicely, and the gameplay looks like it's doing a good job of covering its bases in terms of what fans want while adding some new content. We especially like the mix of fan service--we doubt Iron Fist and Songbird are as widely known as Spider-Man and Wolverine--and gameplay enhancements. Comic fans or fans of the original Marvel: Ultimate Alliance should be looking forward to this one. Look for more on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 in the coming months.

Discussion

163 comments
S-MartAsh
S-MartAsh

oh! Saw War Machine I'm happy now.

cannonbolt321
cannonbolt321

I really hope gambit is in it as well as electro as playable characters. I'm soooo glad that war machine and cable are in it, even though it's not on the official website, they're in this vid.

wesam987
wesam987

lol, so true he sounds so borred = 9

Looklooky
Looklooky

omg hell yeah i loved the first one all the heroes all the teams man a massive must have for me.

wira88
wira88

Looks good..cant wait

0oJazZMano0
0oJazZMano0

BTW with regards to supes vs bats...... couldn't Batman just have a Kryptonite suit made for himself?

0oJazZMano0
0oJazZMano0

Looking forward to this game but GOD!!!! I couldn't stand that dudes voice telling us about the game. Talk about annoying!

huladog123
huladog123

The abiility to dish out combined attacks from two superheroes at once sound like a great idea, and I'm glad to hear that the number of different attacks is plentiful.

backatcha
backatcha

Can't wait.....prolly not gonna see this till 2010.

torpedochicken
torpedochicken

OH OH OH and note to the guys talking about Superman VS Batman.. for ONE this is marvel so shyeah.. erm.. ur not too bright eh? and for TWO the fight wouldnt be man to man, because if it was batman would get is arse handed to him on a silver platter, accompanied with a side of FIRINLAHLAZORS .. so assuming that superman and batman got into an argument, and batman JUMPS superman because well.. hes a freaking ninja.. batman has a chance.. because he has TACTICSSS superman has bruteness + well... BRUTENESS, but dont mess with prestigious nerds when they have bat suits OH HO sh!t goes dooooooown

torpedochicken
torpedochicken

okay wow u guys are too negative, the first game made me j!zz in my pants and this one is gonna be the beezneez kay? u can MAKE UR OWN TEAMS thats beef.. like MEGABEEF and since ironman is a god amongst men, im takin his side, and making mah team the biggest group of BEASTS uve ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!1one

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

I agree with you, -HCMF-, but there's a few other reasons I'm not too hopeful too; I loved the first game but, while I'm sure Vicarious Visions are trying there best, there's so much to get right to make it as much of a hit as the first game. The Simulator Disc missions, for example, were a tiny addition that added so much extra gameplay. To a lesser extent, the same could be said for the trivia games. All the cameos from smaller Marvel characters, like the Asgardian Gods and Inhumans were important. Plus, although I might be jumping the gun on this one, the majority of the environments looked more remarkable than the places we've seen so far in MUA2, all of which look like factories or storage closets. The Fusions have me worried too. These things are being hyped beyond belief but far too many characters share the same ones (judging from a mixture of videos and previews). The Iron Man/Hulk fusion is said to be the same as the Human Torch/Thing fusion (which, I presume, means Iron Man/Thing and Human Torch/Hulk have the same fusions too). The Human Torch/Thor fusion described here is the same as the Human Torch/Storm fusion seen in another video. And Iron Man/Songbird is clearly the same as Iron Man/Invisible Woman, but with a diamond rather than a forcefield. I don't wish to be overly negative and I can understand that it'd be difficult to come up with unique fusion powers for every pairing but if you're going to do it, do it right.

brunele
brunele

looks good , the game has my attention

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

does not look as fun as the first. The reason the first worked, is it was a throw back, and a button masher with known characters. The story was so bad, and the multiplayer was so good. Surprisingly enough they put alot of depth in the game with the collectables and unlockables and all the training missions and what not. This looks like your clasic case of pump and dump - pump it full of who was that and dump it out before xmas.

shadowkiller11
shadowkiller11

looks good just i'm not fan of the over head view. well limited camera

joelgargan
joelgargan

@d1nonlyclo Good point. After further revision, it does seem likely SM would just run in and hope to win, but i still say he'd win. I mean, its freakin superman.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

Can't wait. I think I might go play the first one right now.... Although there weren't that many people playing it on Live the last time I played.

d1nonlyclo
d1nonlyclo

joelgargan: Modern Age Superman is not as powerful as you paint him. Would take a lot of planning on Supes' part to get the drop on Modern Age Batman. In fact, most of the time Supes defaults to using his strength before thinking through his attack and that would be his downfall versus Batman.

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

Marvel seems to be more fantasized compared to a dark hipocritical wash overlay with DC.

boybrushdred
boybrushdred

i respect dc comics for their comics and tv shows but their games are not good compared to marvel video games

junglebreeze
junglebreeze

Im pretty sure they took note of all of the past complaints. This might be the 10 rating theyve been looking for.

elmstterror
elmstterror

OMG, this game+XBL is going to be insane

another_drew
another_drew

Anyone who thinks DC storylines are better than Marvel's is completely insane. DC storylines are so bland. I'm a bad guy just for the sake of being bad. I'm a good guy who has no inner demons. I'm purely righteous. DC heroes, aside from Batman, are written like they're Jesus incarnate. It's ridiculous.

jscapo
jscapo

SuperTramp - I have great respect for DC but in no way can they compete with how much Marvel has grown over the past decade. Marvel has substance and takes place in REAL places which makes the experience much more enjoyable. I don't know anything about the Watchmen so I can't comment on that at this time.

Immortalzxx
Immortalzxx

are-eye-see Are you kidding me? First of all DC storylines are 10x better then Marvel 2008 Final Crisis was 10x better then that crap Secret invasion marvel put out Sinestro Corp War has been bettert then anything Marvel but out in the last decade Blackest Night is going to be the biggest storyline of 09 by far Batman beating Superman? Marvel had Spiderman beat Firelord and had Black Panther put Silver Surfer in an armlock Marvel has crappy writing also

Immortalzxx
Immortalzxx

Superman doesnt have lazer vision He has heat vision, big difference

joelgargan
joelgargan

@jeff_boldt Are you joking? I mean sure Batman is smarter, but SUPERman has this thing called "Laser Vision"... Anyway this is how I see a battle panning out between the two. Batman uses his grapple hook, superman flies twice as fast and catches him. Superman then procedes to cook Batmans face with his laser vision, whilst breaking his ribs with his incredible strength. Soon after, Batman reaches for his Kryptonite is his belt, at which Superman replies with a blunt, face breaking punch, ultimately leaving Superman's head crushed in and well, you can figure out the rest. What you said is true to an extent, but dude, Laser Vision.

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

Hmmm, gonna be hard to step up to what Raven Software had accomplished. That's one of the reasons why I see this failing, the original dev isn't doing it. I hate that! It also seems like they're taking away some of the freedom you had before. Dunno, could be wrong, could be a great game. But I just got a feeling it's not gonna be comparable to the previous titles.

Lawrencevanrijn
Lawrencevanrijn

'The' problem is that the first game was really good, and improving on it, might be a lot harder then anyone thinks. The storyline was good, the playable characters were good, and the add-on was great. Even more impressive was that during replay i learned that some characters invoke a different conversation (cool). Let us not forget that this game is based on Gauntlet. A brilliant arcade game. the option for multiplayer makes this game just fantastic. So i'd be looking hard at this new game. I'd hope for a better game, but even if this game is only half as good as the original, then it would still be an excellent game. Hoping for the following options: Playing the game with evil groups (giving it a new edge, and don't forget it's good to be evil) Hoping for the following characters: - Beast - New Mutants - Members of the Hellfire club

Carton_of_milk
Carton_of_milk

"GeigerdolylWodd Posted Apr 5, 2009 9:26 am PT I know who Dr. Strange is, Doctor Steven Strange former surgeon right? Who has mystical powers including but not limited to telekineses if I recall correctly.Did he ever go back to surgery I mean he could have used that and been more hands off like House Just saying, LOL. I know his hands weren't steady after the accident but the TK could compensate for it don't you think?" wow, someone knows how to use wikipedia. It's like The Office episode where David Brent is talking Dostoevsky. Lame.

ScionofEntropy
ScionofEntropy

Read up a little on the Civil War, and it sounds like a good story for the game. The last game's story felt a little incoherent, to be honest. Not a bad game, though, from the part I played.

Jeff_Boldt
Jeff_Boldt

are-eye-see: 1) Batman would in fact beat superman, brains beats brawn you see. 2) DC's characters have more realistic depth, are less stereotypical and in general translate better to reality than Marvel's, This isn't to say that marvel characters don't have depth, but it's almost like it's "the lighter side" of depth. Marvel is a great franchise with great stories, heroes and villains, DC has all that with a really adult vibe to it that just seems to make it so much more gritty and realistic, therefore DC does in fact win. (also, batman would win because he'd be covered in kryptonite... Bruce Wayne is a billionaire genius who knows superman is weakened by kryptonite, sorry but it's an obvious outcome)

Supertramp20
Supertramp20

jscapo: but dc has watchmen. that means that dc wins

Sway-
Sway-

Really enjoyed the first game playing throgh with friends hopefully this one will be good.

NortePadrote
NortePadrote

I would make up my mind to get this game if The Punisher would be on the game.

are-eye-see
are-eye-see

immortalzxx. you must be a jealous fanboy of dc cuz they've never done anything that compares to marvel. heroes are garbage compared to marvel's, stories are completely retarded (batman beating superman for instance), the lack in numbers of characters..common sense>>immortalzxx "by a large margin"..moron

jscapo
jscapo

This looks great. I would like to see more of the X-men in the mix, I know they have had the spotlight for the past 5 or so years. But let me see some Cyclops, Beast, Gambit, Colosus and Rogue ripping it up. I would absolutely love to see an appearance of Red Skull. I think that any game made about Marvel characters whether good or bad is better than no game at all.

Nabastillas
Nabastillas

Man I wished, I knew a lot about the marvel universe. I'm thinking of reading the comics the Ultimate Marvel series, Dark Avengers, The Thunderbolts, and probably like some sort of x-men thing. I hope the graphics are good in this game.

Immortalzxx
Immortalzxx

And for the guy below, Dr Strange has been a joke since he got man handled by world war hulk I wish they would make a DC game like this since DC>>Marvel by a very large margin

Immortalzxx
Immortalzxx

It looks great, but Iron Fist has been a joke ever since he got his butt handed to him by Black Panther : /

cephiro01
cephiro01

i dont like the whole ultimate series i know is made for sell i mind they made movies from there too but i dont like how they change somethings but im agree that ultimate series is the hollywood part os marvel so movies and game cant touch the original caracters an storyline

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I know who Dr. Strange is, Doctor Steven Strange former surgeon right? Who has mystical powers including but not limited to telekineses if I recall correctly.Did he ever go back to surgery I mean he could have used that and been more hands off like House Just saying, LOL. I know his hands weren't steady after the accident but the TK could compensate for it don't you think?

I know of Ms. Marvel from X-men didn't she somehow give Rogue the ability to fly? Is Rogue in this game? Now there's a fusion for you.

But who is this Jessica Jones? and Jessica Drew? Was Echo the one who sent sonic vocals out when she used her voice as a power? I don't know these other guys Jim really I don't. Heck I'm hard pressed to figure out how Madame what's her name fits into this and no I'm not talking about Madame Web.

DA_SHREDDER
DA_SHREDDER

dude make it bloodier then God of War. I dont get these people? Why isn't this being done?

DA_SHREDDER
DA_SHREDDER

I would like the real badasses of Marvel to make its own game. Imagine how tight Venom and Carnage would be?