Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 review

There’s a flying orc. Yep, a flying orc.

Thumbs up.

Didn’t expect a positive. I read Evan’s review on Crispy and he seemed to dislike it. Now I’m intrigued.

One or two sequels down the line, this series will be the next “Dynasty Warriors” of the review world.

You know, in terms of why I like this game, the Dynasty Warriors reference is actually a great comparison.


In the sense that people will have a laundry lists of complaints to tick off without having to bother actually playing the games for more than an hour or so? Or did you mean that in some way entirely unrelated to this axe I have here, that I am casually grinding?

wait you level your character? only the one you’re controlling or all members of the gang? what about if you exchange characters, do the new ones come pre-levelled? also how do I control the party? is it just you plus 3 AI dudes or what?

man for someone who loves levelling you leave some important specifics out!

The specifics are the same as the other games in this genre (X-Men Legends, the first Ultimate Alliance, that terrible DC branded game). I was assuming folks knew how these games worked, but here are some specifics:

You have a team of four characters, one of whom you control. The other three are AI or co-op player controlled (although you briefly take control of two characters at a time when you perform fusions attacks). Your characters earn experience concurrently whether they’re in the party or not, so they tend to level up at roughly similar rates. As you level up, you earn points to put into a character’s skills, which are active abilities like attacks and buffs. Characters also have passive abilities that are leveled up by spending ability points, which are a sort of parallel xp track based on breaking stuff and killing bad guys. All of this can be freely reconfigured at any time.


I particularly like the comments to the review that reckon you shouldn’t have reviewed it, even though you like the game!

I just assumed from the lack of information that it was exactly like MUA1 or XM:L with some different characters/powers and a different story.

One guy read one sentence and then decided to use that one sentence as his entire context for reading the rest of the article, including things written before that sentence (even though the following sentences were fairly positive). Although there is no “thumbs up/down” tagline that I could see on Fidgit so maybe he assumed Tom hated it and was sarcastically mocking it the whole time?

I think there are actually two guys in the comments who seemed peeved that I didn’t know much about comics. Which is a fair complaint. But the point I ultimately tried to make – they might not have read that far – is that I really liked how crazywacky it was to have some completely random (to me) dude or chick show up, usually in a silly outfit. I actually laughed out loud when the Goliath battle started. I mean, seriously? A giant black dude in a mask who I have to fight in a God of War style battle? Okay, let’s do it!

Part of what’s cool about the game for me is that if I care to actually find out more about these dudes, there’s plenty of back story available. I was using Storm so much that I actually wanted to read her dossier. But the giant black dude in the mask, the guy who splits himself into a hundred clones, Mrs. Hulk, and Spider-Lady? I couldn’t care less. They were just fine parading past me while I watched on in complete ignorance. For the most part, videogames are so predictable that it’s a nice change of pace to see this cavalcade of random superheroism whizzing past me.


Flying Orc, really? You’ve never seen the movie “Spider-Man”? That’s the Green Goblin, Norman Osborn.

Orcs != Goblins.

Now I want to see Tom turn the tables and review a brawler where all the characters are from Kieślowski movies.

Sorry for the off-topic venture here, but could you enlighten me on the differences between the two? I’ve always wondered. Plus I was very confused by it in both the LOTR movies and the books, since they seemed to be pretty much the same.

The LOTR movies confused me too. Since I was exposed to Dungeons and Dragons first, here’s what I know:

  • Goblins have 1/2 a hit die and Orcs have 1 hit die.
  • Goblins are small and Orcs are medium.
  • Goblins are lawful evil and Orcs are chaotic evil.

In LOTR, I think Orcs are just Goblins who lift weights.

I actually know about the Green Goblin, but in the game – and I presume the comic book – he’s actually a goblin-looking guy. Green warty skin, pointy ears, weird voice, very non-human. Basically, an orc to the layman who’s only seen the Lord of the Rings movies.

But in the movies, Willem Defoe was just a dude wearing a mask. That doesn’t really prepare you for having an actual orc playing the role in the game.

By the way, both Green Goblin and Venom are playable in Ultimate Alliance 2! I haven’t tried the Green Goblin yet, but I’m really digging using Venom while replaying at legendary difficulty. Health is hard to come by, but Venom can pounce on people and freakin’ eat them to heal up.

Of course, this doesn’t work when he pounces on a robot. Duh. Venom obviously needs to absorb biological material. One of the game’s many cool touches.


I snagged this a couple weeks ago but have yet to even take it out of the shrinkwrap. I really adored the first game and was in the same boat as Tom. My Marvel Universe knowledge extends only to the movies and the Capcom ‘Vs’ franchise of fighting games(which didn’t really offer any background on the subject)

I used to play XML and MUA 1 with a friend that is well read in the Marvel lore. Doing those lore quizzes for bonus experience was lost on me, but I was amazed watching this guy doll out correct answers I would have initially assumed were so ridiculous they HAD to be wrong.(BTW, do those quizzes make a return?)

Looking forward to jumping in now. I have been concerned that without Raven as lead developer, that this was a quick cash-in sequel for Activision to release between whatever Guitar Hero variants release this quarter. Glad it seems to not be the case.

Yep, the quizzes are in there. 150 questions. I can probably get maybe ten of them. For instance, a lot of you guys might not know this, but the Hulk got his super powers from gamma rays! Yeah, I’m a total nerd for know that, aren’t I? You can even play the quizzes in co-op!

As for this not being a Raven game, I think it’s a plus. I’ve been pretty down on Raven’s stuff lately. Vicarous Visions has out-Ravened Raven in Ultimate Alliance 2. There’s a lot of cool gameplay stuff here that I can imagine Raven would have just skipped over.


I sorta recall Cyclops father being the head of some other secret superhero force with a kooky name in one of the quizzes. I guess it’s that family’s legacy to wear tight costumes.

I still don’t at all understand Ms. Marvel or Spider-Woman though. Apparently they are recognizable enough to be in almost every one of these games, and yet they haven’t pervaded pop-culture hierarchy. Probably for a reason, but I guess I need to play MUA2 to find out!

My favorite was the mechanic guy in Xmen Legends 2. His superhero power was being REALLY good at fixing stuff! I thought it was a joke at first.

Corsair of the Starjammers

I still don’t at all understand Ms. Marvel or Spider-Woman though. Apparently they are recognizable enough to be in almost every one of these games, and yet they haven’t pervaded pop-culture hierarchy. Probably for a reason, but I guess I need to play MUA2 to find out!

I don’t know what’s up with Spider-Woman, but my impression of Ms. Marvel is that she basically bounces around to beef up other character’s backstories. Last time I looked (and this may have been retconned out since then) Rogue had adsorbed her for so long that she permanently had her powers and her personality ingrained. Of course, that had stripped her of her powers totally so if Ms. Marvel is back fighting again clearly something’s happened in the meantime. I suspect it has to do with an “Oh shit, women are potential customers too and not everyone idolizes she-hulk or Mrs. Fantastic!” realization.

My favorite was the mechanic guy in Xmen Legends 2. His superhero power was being REALLY good at fixing stuff! I thought it was a joke at first.

Actually, Forge’s superhero power is the ability to build anything for the specific purpose at hand with whatever parts are on hand. It’s a reasonably cool ability. Unfortunately it doesn’t include the ability to do so quickly so he often tends to build some big deus ex machina type gadget in the background, as he did in the games.