‘It’s clobbering time!’ as Marvel’s Superheroes swoop into London

London’s public can feel a little safer after the arrival of five very special individuals, Marvel’s comic superheroes: Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thing and Human Torch.

The Marvels took time out of their busy schedule to promote the new video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 – out today – and to take in some of London’s sights. Quite why they decided to take the tube given they can fly or leap to their destinations is anyone’s guess but we’re assured that they gave up their seats for pregnant ladies and the elderly.

The new video game is based on the storyline of last year’s Civil War graphic novel, which saw much division amongst heroes following the passing of a ‘Superhuman Registration Act’ which declared that masked vigilantes were to unveil their identities publicly and work for the government. Those who preferred to remain incognito were forced to go into hiding as a war between the two camps erupted and battle lines were drawn. In the game players will be able to assemble a superhero dream team from more than 20 of Marvel’s most famous including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Iron Man, Juggernaught and Thor to fight on their chosen side of the hero civil war.

Viewed from a 3D isometric perspective, Ultimate Alliance 2 allows you to direct four heroes – any of which you can control at the push of a button – through various missions in a bid to enforce or disbar the Act. Generally, the order of the day is to hit as many controller buttons as possible in order to pull off your character’s various special moves. Pull these off successfully and you will find the bad-guy body count quickly mounting up. By collecting orbs and gaining experience through completing objectives characters can also level up and increase their strength, stamina and array of destructive fighting techniques. Then there are the ‘fusion’ powers which involve two heroes combining their abilities to create the greatest amount of carnage they can – Wolverine reflecting Iron Man’s beam attack to devastating effect being a particular favourite. In fact most of the superpowers on show are pretty impressive to behold, it’s just that after repeated showings they tend to lose their lustre.

In terms of graphical flair and combat system enhancement, disappointingly little has been improved since the previous Ultimate Alliance. Graphics are serviceable but not jaw-dropping and the combat system gives the impression that your input is only a cursory necessity in order for success. This enhances the risk of making the experience seem prematurely repetitive all the faster, particularly to veterans of the series. This lack of progression also makes you wonder how the game’s development can have taken almost three years from inception to street release. Having voiced these criticisms however there is no getting away from the fact this is perfect pick up and play fodder for those wanting an easy, fun diversion. The further option – if you have an internet connection – of having friends drop in to control your heroes as they see fit is a nice bonus and serves to inject some unpredictability into proceedings. Marvel fans and beat-em-up fans will surely have already earmarked this title as a must buy and they won’t be disappointed per se; rather just left hoping a further Ultimate Alliance might offer them something more original to sink their teeth into.