Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Picture this: You're a superhero who accidentally causes an explosion that fries 612 civilians (including a whole bunch of school kids). The government labels you and your buddies "super-powered nuisances", and the public demands that you adhere to a Superhuman Registration Act. This is exactly your conundrum in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2; do you choose the Pro-Registration side (headed by Iron Man, Songbird and Mr Fantastic) or will you side with the Anti-Registration group (led by Captain America, Luke Cage and Iron Fist)? Honestly, I don't know the answer here. I just know that there's a lot of righteous ass-kicking to be had.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 follows the same formula as its predecessor: you (and up to four friends) slap on some spandex and hack your way through anything stupid enough to be between you and your objective. You're looking at a beat-'em-up/RPG hybrid, and the idea is to clock enemy after enemy in order to level up your heroes and their abilities. If stats and micromanagement aren't your idea of fun, you can have your abilities automatically improve, rather than stopping to assign points to your favourite techniques. The basic controls are quite simple and effective, with attacks, special moves, and character-switching mapped to buttons rather than motions. No fuss, no muss.
The biggest differences between MUA and MUA2 are the camera controls (which definitely seem more fluid this time around) and the combo system has been advanced also (two combined powers from two different characters now yield a new attack, known as a 'fusion').
Fusions are a good idea in theory, it's great when you make Venom pick up a chunk of street, get Gambit to pepper it with proximity cards, and then hurl it into a cluster of enemies. I'm also a huge fan of using Thor to create an enemy-ensnaring vortex while Goblin tosses in a thousand or so Pumpkin Grenades. Merry Christmas, suckers.
Unfortunately, they're implemented rather sloppily on Wii. To start a Fusion Attack, you hold 'Z' and shake your left hand (which hardly ever works on the first attempt), and then you select the second character by pointing at the screen. It's a pain in the neck, and it only gets more unintuitive with the fusion attacks that require you to pointing to direct an energy burst.
It's a shame, because there are so many great combinations to be had here with a tonne of cool superheroes including Captain America, Daredevil, Deadpool, Gambit, Green Goblin, Hulk, Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Ironfist, Jean Grey, Luke Cage, Mr Fantastic, Ms Marvel, Penance, Songbird, Spider Man, Storm, The Thing, The Vision, Thor, Venom, and Wolverine. There's even Cyclops, Blade and Psylocke as exclusive Wii characters, which isn't a shabby lineup.
All in all, MUA2 is only a so-so sequel that has been built on a solid concept, but has lost its way when it came to polish the controls. Along with some frustrating fusion issues, players have to put up with some serious artificial stupidity, both in our enemies and our so-called CPU 'helpers'. There were times where I encounter enemies that only enganged me when I slapped them upside the head, and there were times when my faithful allies thought that the best way to help defeat evil was to stand still and hope for the best.
This becomes even more of a problem later on when they keep getting their butts kicked and you have to waste your valuable Fusion Stars to revive them (so that they can die again later). It's moments like these that make me glad I only rented MUA2.
Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad here though, and I still think that comic-book fans and hardcore Marvel enthusiasts can pick this up and get something special out of it.