Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Updated Hands-On

We got to play the first act of this epic superhero adventure and chatted to the developers about the impressive fusion attacks.

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Following the success of Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is based on Marvel's Civil War. The crossover event sees superheroes taking sides for and against the Superhuman Registration Act, which would reveal the secret identities of all Marvel's heroes. Developer Vicarious Visions paid a visit to London recently, and we got a chance to play through the first act of the game.

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Ultimate Alliance 2 kicks off in Doomstadt, Latveria, which is home to the nefarious Doctor Doom. At first, your four-character squad is limited to Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine, but after the first few missions, you can swap these out for other unlocked members of the 24-character roster. Under the direction of Nick Fury, you're tasked with storming Castle Doom where the Latverian prime minister, Lucia von Bardas, is hiding.

The mission takes place at night in the streets of Doomstadt as you make your way to Castle Doom. After battling our way through shock troopers, we encountered our first miniboss, Electro. He used energy-based attacks to deal out damage and recharged his health through a nearby capacitor. Thankfully, the game's destructible physics meant that these could be destroyed. While regular attacks slowly chipped away at his health, it was best to use the awesome fusion attacks to sap his strength. Fusions are gained by defeating enemies or picking up items and combining the power of two heroes for an impressive special move. One cool fusion reflected Iron Man's repulsor rays off of Wolvie's claws, which will result in significant damage for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the beam.

After dealing with Electro, we watched a flashback cutscene where Nick Fury reveals that a group of supervillians including Electro, Diamondback, The Tinkerer, and von Bardas, are conspiring against the US. Fury, unable to convince the president to authorise a preemptive strike, organises his own group of heroes to get the job done. This particular act actually occurs before the Civil War as part of the Secret War story arc. "We definitely put our own spin on the storyline," says executive producer Jennifer Oneal. "I don't want to reveal too much, but I can say that in order to make the game fun, we needed flexibility. Your roster is not completely locked to one side or the other. There are certain key characters that are pivotal to the storyline. For example, not all of the mutants are anti-registration. We just couldn't do that because that wouldn't be fun for those who love playing as Wolverine but also love playing as Iron Man."

One of our favourite things about Ultimate Alliance 2 was experimenting with all of the fusion combinations. With 24 heroes that can combine attacks with another hero for a unique fusion move, there's a staggering amount of variation, which includes targeted, guided, and clearing attacks. "Fusions are your ultimate power," explains Oneal. "If you have a big room full of a lot of minions, you want to obliterate them all with one room-clearing fusion. If you have a long hallway that has a bunch of minions, maybe you want something guided, like a tornado or a clothesline that you want to sweep through and clear that area [with]. And if you're playing against minibosses or bosses, you're going to want to use your targeted fusions."

Next up, we encountered another miniboss battle with Wizard and Scorcher. We used a combination of regular attacks and fusion attacks to take care of the duo and its henchmen. One cool clearing fusion attack was Spidey flinging Wolverine around on the end of a web like a mace. Once the battle was over, the team split into two groups; one under Fury's leadership and the other under ours. Here's where the roster opened up for the first time, and we had access to a dozen or so Marvel heroes. We opted for some fresh blood in Ice Man, The Thing, Daredevil, and Luke Cage and jumped back into the action, which moved into Castle Doom's grounds.

 Ultimate Alliance has a roster of 24 classic Marvel heroes.
Ultimate Alliance has a roster of 24 classic Marvel heroes.

Combining different characters opened up some great new fusions. We tried a targeted one where Cage pulled a chunk of rock from the ground, Iceman froze it with a blast, and Cage then threw it at an enemy for a devastating result. According to Oneal, targeted fusions are "kind of like a one-hit blow" that is ideal for bosses. "You don't want to waste it on a room full of minions because you're only going to hit one guy, but the hit that you do have is very powerful," she said. The mission finished off with an epic battle against The Tinkerer and some of his creations, including prototype cyborg soldiers and a massive walker called the Tinker Tank.

Unfortunately, that's where our time with Ultimate Alliance 2 drew to a close. Thankfully, the game is due out toward the end of September, so we won't have to wait long to get more time with the game's epic roster of heroes. For more on Ultimate Alliance 2, check out our previous content, including interviews with Marvel legend Stan Lee.

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