"Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2" gives us a fine buffet of marvel's finest, with players working in four-person teams to complete missions. The characterization is a touch generic. All superheroes make witty quips, often related to their powers. You know who we haven't heard enough from? Socially Awkward Man, also known as The Hulk.
Nick Fury, a government spy, launches one of his wacky schemes and sets off an international incident. The government, in typical fashion, overreacts to a few hundred of its citizens running around with life-threatening powers and implements a superhero registration act. Under the law, superheroes must register as weapons of mass destruction and become government agents. (One of the strengths of the Marvel line is the constant social commentary. Too bad this game is a few years too late to be relevant. Or is it?)
I'll dispense with the basics. Graphics? Top notch. Story line? Old, but a lot better than the old super-villain-trying-to-blow-up-a-major-city routine. The combat mechanics may work for hack-n-slash players, but I'm a real stickler for combat that makes sense. Too often here I find myself mashing buttons, setting off a few power moves, then mashing some more buttons. There are a few puzzles to solve in between, but in general the mechanics are unimaginative. That's the price you pay for working in multiple beloved characters; I'd much rather see a game with a more up-close view focused on a few characters and their role in the scheme of things.
Overall, a solid game. I'd give it three and one-half buttons out of five. It's just this side of decent, but not something I just have to have in my collection. Unless I'm a Marvel fan, that is.
'Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2'
At last, my day has come. For all of you regular followers of this column (what is it, five now?) you know "Call of Duty Modern Warfare" is something of an obsession. On Tuesday the sequel "dropped," in the parlance of our times, and I was standing in line at the Anniston Wal-Mart at midnight for my copy. I called in advance. Was there a line?
"No," the clerk said.
When I got there at midnight, a line had formed. Ten anxious minutes later, my friend Kevin and I had our copy. We also received a free energy-shot drink for our late-night "Call of Duty"-fest. I wondered about the users who'd imbibed that energy drink as soon as they got home, because like most PlayStation games, playing "Call of Duty" requires a software download. It's not an eternal download, but it's still annoying. After two hours of play, I got kicked off by the PlayStation network and couldn't get back on. If I'd had the monster energy drink in my system, I'd have torn my hair out.
Oh, I can always play the campaign mode, which doesn't require an Internet connection, but I wasn't about to do that. I'm sure it's a perfectly fine story and I'll get to it. I just wanted to get online and start puttin' it on 'em.
What do I think? Let me not answer that yet. The feelings that I can't express fill me with such happiness. Suffice it to say I'm glad it's here. And I'll have more to say on it next week.