16th December 2014: Not So Marvel-ous
Getting on for a decade ago now, Scoob bought the two X-Men Legends games on the PS2. After borrowing it from him, the first one became one of the few games I ever completed on that console (well, I do only own eight). We played most of the second one co-op, but never got around to finishing it for whatever reason. Nevertheless, we both remember those games fondly, and the chance came to re-visit that era when I picked up Marvel: Ultimate Alliance for the PC cheap from eBay.
I'd recently bought a 360 controller to finally get around to Witcher 2, so we started off with Scoob using that and me on keyboard. Unfortunately, aiming ranged attacks while using keyboard is almost impossible, so I was forced into using close combat champs. We formed The Skumsplattaz superhero team with Scoob using Wolverine and Thor, while I went with Deadpool and The Thing. When using the keyboard had got on my nerves enough, I looked at other options. Luckily I found out there was a new, better way of installing PS3 controllers on Windows, as I was not a fan of the software that I used for Resident Evil 3 a couple of years ago. Of course, this means I didn't need a 360 controller after all, as I could have just used both my PS3 controllers. But whatever.
With joypad in hand, I replaced The Thing with Iron Man, to get some long range energy blasts in there.
So what's the game like? Unfortunately, we found the whole experience very underwhelming. Maybe it's because we're older now and button mashing brawlers just don't suit us anymore. Or it might be that the game just isn't as good as the X-Men games were. Without a doubt, the way that levelling up is handled in this game is inferior to those X-Men games. Rather than spend your experience points on increasing your hero's stats, you instead have to find stupid little drops throughout the game that do this job. Meh.
In terms of gameplay it's pretty much exactly what you would expect. You just run around clobbering bad guys and jumping around like a lunatic.
There were definitely a few things that really annoyed me. Firstly, there were way too many little cutscenes that took control away from us. Sometimes these were used for dialogue exchanges between bad guys, but usually it was just so the camera could spin around and show us something in the world that we needed to see. The thing is, if that thing it was showing us was necessary to continue, we would have found it anyway, quite easily, without the need to lose control.
There were also no real interesting boss fights. In pretty much every one, the fight was just a series of quicktime events, which was really disappointing as we really wanted to have a proper down and dirty scrap with these characters but couldn't.
Most of the time the camera was free to move, but some times it was strangely locked to a certain viewpoint. Very frustrating in some situations where we were fighting right on the limit of one fixed camera angle and another, meaning every second or two the camera angle would flick back and forth.
But still, it's another one down, so can't complain.