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Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Score: 88%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is one of those games that has come out for pretty much every system, and because of that, it is really hard not to compare it with other versions of itself. Previously, I reviewed the PC version of this game and I got to watch Geck0 go through a good amount of the Xbox 360 version, so how does the graphical powerhouse that is the PS3 stand up?

I have to say that even though this game has been pushed onto as many fronts as possible, and that typically limits the graphics of the game to the lowest common denominator, I could tell a marked improvement in the quality of the textures and lighting in this version of the game. I can't say for certain that the actual models (both character and environmental) necessarily consisted of a larger number of polygons, but the textures and costumes were a lot crisper than in the other two formats. And that is saying something since I thought the visuals on the other systems were noteworthy to begin with.

Audio-wise, the game was the same as the others. Characters sounded like they should, or at least how I always heard them in my head. Wolverine sounds like a gruff and perpetually angry little guy while Spider-Man is a sarcastic wiseguy and Thor has a distinctive Nordic accent. The game's soundtrack also seemed to have just the right feel. I always felt like I was going off into a heroic battle.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a four-player Action/RPG title that lets you control the world's best super heroes in an attempt to stop the Masters of Evil (led by Dr. Doom).

This game is all about throwing in as many Marvel characters as possible. Though most aren't playable, you will see over a hundred very recognizable figures from the comics and if you get the right characters talking, you are bound to run into some interesting conversations. This is especially evident during the missions when you reach a boss or mini-boss. If you have Elecktra on your team when you face off against Bullseye, you will get a much more in-depth conversation than if you have characters on your team that don't have a history with the opponent.

The basis of the game has four heroes forcing their way from one side of a level to another and plowing through any enemies that get in their way. In most locations, there are places where you can switch out your team members and/or upgrade your unlocked characters or level up heroes' abilities.

Different combinations of heroes will yield different power ups for the team as a whole. For instance, selecting the Fantastic Four will get you an extra 20 health for every knock out, while pulling together the X-Men will grant the team an added 15% of health or using members of The Avengers increases the team's damage amount by 5%. There are tons of combinations of you can make with the 20 heroes you will be able to control by the end of the game and eventually, even if you don't choose a team that has a preset power up, the more you use specific combinations of characters, the more reputation those combinations gain and your own personal team will start to earn power ups as well.

For the most part, Marvel Ultimate Alliance will let you make steady progress from beginning to end, and just as your team gets overwhelmed by too many enemies (or enemies that are harder than normal), your characters level up and you are on an even playing ground again.

The only times when my progress was really stunted in Ultimate Alliance was when I went up against some of the bigger bosses. I don't mean the Scorpions or Mysterios of the game, but the M.O.D.O.K.s and Fin Fang Fooms, the ones that you find at the end of a mission. And even those battles took only two or three attempts before I could move on to the next location.

Game Mechanics:
Marvel Ultimate Alliance's controls aren't any different than you would find on the PS2 version. You attack with the X and Circle buttons, jump or fly with the Triangle and activate doors and consoles with the Square. R2 activates your character's special move while the arrow keys let you switch between the different heroes.

Ultimate Alliance does have a few added control features that utilize the SixAxis' motions sensors. One use helps you throw your enemies in a particular direction. But all of these alternative control styles do have button combinations that you can hit to perform the same tasks. Consequentially, these features feel a bit tacked on and last minute.

If you have a PS3 and are looking for a version of Ultimate Alliance to pick up, then grab this one. The prettier graphics are the only real difference between this version and what you will find on the other systems, but this isn't a game you need to go out and buy the system for (especially since it is out there for pretty much every other platform already).

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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