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Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Graphically Ultimate Alliance looks great, really capturing the Marvel look and feel. The cut scenes look especially good – you literally could be watching an animated movie. The character models are superb, with each hero looking exactly as they should, while developer Raven has also provided some top notch voice talent. Ultimate Alliance also does a good job with its lighting effects, while explosions, fire and various super powers all add to the Marvel atmosphere. You do encounter the odd drop in frame rate when there’s a lot going on, but it’s not enough to spoil things.

You don’t just control one superhero in Ultimate Alliance, you have a squad of four. You can switch between each of your heroes, and you have opportunities throughout the game to change the members of your team. The basic RPG side of the game comes in the form of Level Ups for your heroes and the ability to add new special abilities, not to mention new costumes.

But good fun as Ultimate Alliance is by yourself, it really comes alive when you play with a few mates. You can have up to four players controlling some or all of your squad. You’re friends can jump in or drop out whenever they like, and the opportunity for mass carnage is never more than a step or two away. You don’t even have to squeeze three friends onto your sofa, since you can play Ultimate Alliance online too, with your cohorts dropping in and out in a similar fashion to Crackdown on the Xbox 360.

There’s no denying that Marvel Ultimate Alliance is something of a blunt instrument by today’s standards of complex gameplay mechanics, but I think it’s that simplicity that’s won me over. OK, so it’s not breaking any new ground, but the old ground it’s covering is just so much fun.

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