E3 2009: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Preview - When Superheroes Combine
Written Friday, June 12, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
The original Marvel Ultimate Alliance was somewhat of a cult classic. It shifted a pretty decent amount of units worldwide and was loved for its co-op and general camaraderie. No longer is the title under the guidance of Raven Software, instead development is picked up by Vicarious Visions, who actually created the original port for the Wii and PSP, but don’t expect it to abandon its roots as it’s still running on the Vicarious Visions Alchemy engine that the original was running on.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 looks to build up on the original and offer a much richer experience. The story of MUA2 is loosely based on the Civil War mini-series but don’t expect it to be 100% accurate as it seems to be more of a liberal interpretation; for instance, the Hulk, whose devastating attack on locals in Las Vegas was one of the fundamental catalysts for the Superhero Registration Act, will appear in the title when he should effectively be cast out into space. Just expect two factions of superheroes waging war on one another, heroes against heroes, friends becoming enemies, and just think, you get the chance to choose a side.
The game will feature at least 24 playable characters (19 of which are listed on Marvel.com), of which we saw about 11 in action (Wolverine, Venom, Iron Man, Hulk, Deadpool, Human Torch, Thor, Song Bird, Captain America, Juggernaut (rumoured as a GameStop exclusive) and Storm). The game’s unique selling point this time around and its biggest feature, other than its vastly improved visuals, is the game’s “power fusions” which allows superheroes to combine their powers with one another to create devastating attacks. It’s a pretty nifty new feature where every hero can fuse with one another and the combinations are limitless ... and by limitless, I mean there are 276. Throughout the short presentation we saw a few on offer which we shall run through now:
- Wolverine + The Hulk = The Hulk’s super human damage is used to throw the regenerative Wolverine at a target – in this instance, a helicopter.
- Venom + Iron Man = Venom uses his symbiote powers to grab on a group of enemies and Iron Man will light them up with his chest beam.
- Iron Man + Wolverine = Iron Man shoots his chest beat at Wolverine’s claws so that it splits the bgeams in multiple directions that shockwave out.
- Thor + Human Torch = Thor creates a massive whirlwind that Human Torch ignites into a firestorm.
- Deadpool + Spiderman = Spidey webs his enemies before Deadpool sticks grenades to them.
- Storm + Deadpool = Storm creates a tornado where Deadpool feeds grenades into it.
- Storm + Captain America = Storm can bounce her electricity off Captain America’s shield.
- Song Bird + Storm = Song Bird’s sonic prism splits Storm’s lighting power all different directions causing mass damage.
- Juggernaut + Song Bird = Song Bird wraps Juggernaut in her sonic energy and Juggernaut can act like an invincible battering ram.
That is just a sample of some of the fusion powers in the game, the vast majority (if not all) of which are fully controllable. They’re not just canned animations either, so it’s quite possible to miss your target altogether when you use The Hulk to throw Wolverine at your foes. All the fusion powers are physics based as well so if Juggernaut is covered in Song Bird’s sonic shield, he can literally run over cars and enemies in his path. Likewise, Thor’s massive whirlwind will pull all interactive pieces of the environment towards it as it spins its way around the level.
Other improvements to the series and the engine include full interactive environments, so if you see something lying around, like a box of missiles or a parked car, you can expect to be able to pick them up and use them as a weapon, or simply just blow them up. Players will also be able to find “team boosts” dotted around the environments as well. These team boosts can add damage to your attacks, give you additional health or even give you abilities and special attacks like electricity fists, and so on.