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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 , a sequel to the 2006 action role-playing video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, was released September 15, 2009. The game was jointly developed by Vicarious Visions , n-Space and Savage Entertainment , and is published by Activision.The game features characters from the Marvel Comics universe and follows elements of the Secret War and Civil War story arcs.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of MUA2 were generally well received, averaging above 70% at aggregators GameRankings and Metacritic. The Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable fared much poorer, averaging between 45% and 65% for their respective platforms.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Plot

The game begins one year prior to the main Civil War story arc. Colonel Nick Fury is leading a team comprising Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, in addition to several other superheroes, on an unsanctioned attack on Castle Doom in Latveria after discovering that the elected prime minister Lucia von Bardas was supplying weapons to the Tinkerer who in turn supplies them to super villains. The President is adamant against the attack as Von Bardas has been establishing friendly ties with them. The attack is successful and Castle Doom is reduced to rubble, with Von Bardas assumed dead.

The scene then shifts to present day. Ms. Marvel is reported missing after being sent to recover intel on suspicious criminal activity. A team is sent to investigate and find her being interrogated by Shocker. They then uncover a plot by the Latverian military, led by a cyborg Von Bardas and several subordinate supervillains, to destroy New York City. The group thwarts Von Bardas' plan, but many city blocks are destroyed in the process, prompting the government to consider the Superhuman Registration Act (or SRA for short). In light of this incident, Nick Fury disappears, leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill in charge.

Three days later during a telecast of The New Warriors, Nitro creates a large explosion, killing more than 600 civilians in the process, prompting the immediate implementation of the Superhuman Registration Act. Captain America, opposed to the act, goes underground, along with several other superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D agents (who have formed a group called "The White Star"). At this point, the story branches into two segments; Anti-Registration and Pro-Registration, depending on player choice. In order to aid them, the Pro-Registration group develops nanite technology to use as mind control on the super villains, increasing their ranks.

The two story arcs converge when Iron Man fakes a hostage situation at a chemical plant owned by Stark Industries. There, he attempts to negotiate with Captain America, promising amnesty. Captain America refuses and a battle ensues between the two factions. The nanite-controlled super villains go haywire and attack the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents they were programmed to help, stealing explosives to destroy the facility. Fury, disguised as one of the agents, enlists the help of the group to fend off Venom III and Green Goblin while he disarms the bombs. He is thwarted by Venom as he tries to disarm the final one. The ensuing explosion wounds many superheroes whom Fury rescues. The group learns that the Fury they saw was one of his androids. He manages to acquire Tinkerer's help in discovering the cause of the malfunction.

The group is then sent to Prison 42 in the Negative Zone where the rebel superheroes and supervillains that have been captured are held, to get a sample of the nanite formula. They collect the samples and Fury activates the self-destruct system to prevent the spread of nanites. Most of the superheroes involved escape, but Fury's fate is unknown. The team learns the nanites survived and have now spread worldwide. As a result, the Superhuman Registration Act is suspended, uniting the two teams. They split into different groups, with the main group traveling to Wakanda, home of Black Panther. They help him defend the country from nanite agents, now under the moniker of "The Fold", and in the process cure Venom and Green Goblin of the nanites. They also discover that Nick Fury has been taken by The Fold. The heroes establish a base in Wakanda, learning that The Fold cannot comprehend Fury's intel on it, making it temporarily safe from nanite attacks. In order to stop The Fold, the heroes infiltrate a base in Iceland to broadcast a nanite stasis signal that will paralyze those in its control, allowing them to be cured. At the culmination of their mission, the team face off against Tinkerer, who was behind The Fold all along, and then a nanite-controlled Nick Fury enhanced with extra nanites. After defeating Fury, every one who was affected is freed from the nanites.

The game has one of two news-based endings depending on which side the player has chosen:

In the Pro-Registration ending, the Superhuman Registration Act gets amended where the superheroes can voluntarily register without revealing their secret identities, while Stark becomes Commander of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In the Anti-Registration ending, the Superhuman Registration Act gets repealed with the President granting full amnesty to all Anti-Registration heroes.

Also in both endings, a banner running across the screen states that the President has pardoned Nick Fury.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Gameplay

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 borrows much of its gameplay from its predecessor. The game allows players to select a team of four given characters from a larger pool of heroes and villains; team members are interchangeable and may be swapped during gameplay. General gameplay mechanics are similar to those of the X-Men Legends series. The game is played from an isometric dungeon crawl perspective, supporting up to four players simultaneously. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game also feature online play via the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, respectively.

The power system also has been improved, allowing two characters to combine powers, yielding a new attack, known as a "fusion". Each playable character in the game has a unique fusion with every other playable character in the game. An example is Captain America using his shield to reflect Storm's lightning bolts. Players have the ability to level up characters and earn new abilities and powers. The PS3 and 360 versions feature an updated character progression system, with each character having four core powers that evolve as the character levels up. The Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable versions of the game resemble the character progression system found in the original Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.

Reception
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 have received mixed to positive reviews from most critics, and holds a 76% at GameRankings. Metacritic currently holds the game at 74% (PS3, 73% for 360). Brian Michael Bendis, writer for Marvel Comics, was given an early opportunity to play the game, to which he later tweeted, "Happy to give a huge thumbs up for 'Ultimate Alliance 2.' The stills do it no justice. It's gorgeous." The Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable fared much poorer, averaging between 45% and 65% for their respective platforms.

Gamespot's Kevin VanOrd stated that the game delivers "the button-mashing, power-flinging, over-the-top action fans of the original would expect," additionally praising the branched story and unlockables, citing additional replay value. However, the reviewer cited "technical oddities" and said that the "RPG elements were stripped down." 1UP's Thierry Nguyen was more critical, saying that the game was "like Ben Reilly: almost, but not quite as good as the original," citing issues with alternate costumes that "seem pretty lame," "a persistent feeling of oversimplification," and that a hope that "either Raven returns as the developer or Vicarious Visions learns from its missteps." He did however praise a "more coherent story," new fusion abilities, and gameplay tweaks. IGN's Greg Miller gave the game a 7.7 /10, praising its new fusions and "healthy cast" but criticizing the game's similar gameplay to its predecessor, inconsistent voice acting, and its weak CG cutscenes.

According to the NPD sales group the Xbox 360 version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was seventh in sales for September 2009, selling 236,000 units. However, the sales dropped in October 2009, with the game no longer listed in the top ten in sales.


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