Men in tights.
The Marvel Ultimate Alliance games are some of my best memories from last generation. Being a fan of comic book games, and of course the heroes found within the Marvel Universe, having a Diablo-style action RPG with that roster that I can play with friends sounds like the perfect recipe for fun. Now, Activision and Marvel have decided to package them up, and sell them to a new generation of gamers, at a premium price of course. The results are certainly a mixed bag.
Activision has a history of stealth releasing these ports, and for the most part without much in the way of upgrades. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 not only continue this trend, but also launched missing key components of the game, as well as a host of technical issues on PC. The DLC from the first game was completely missing, and the PC version shipped with a severe lack of graphical options, and even incorrect button prompts on the controller display. It was a mess.
MSRP: $39.99 (each) $59.99 (package)
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99 (each) $29.99 (package)
Activision and Marvel have since come out and promised to fix the PC issues, which have been done as of this writing, and they are still promising the DLC for the first game on all platforms in the coming weeks. I am glad these things are being addressed, but they should have never shipped without them.
The games themselves haven’t seen much of an update outside of a little visual polish, and some UI changes. Ultimate Alliance 1 still feels very much like a Diablo game with limited loot, while the second outing focuses more on action and introduces a power-up mechanic that allows two characters to perform a special move combining their powers. Both games still feature local and online co-op, and on paper they are packed with plenty to keep players busy, especially those that follow the Marvel lore.
The problem with this package is the price. Shoveling out these two games at $40 a pop (or $30 apiece if I bought them as a bundle) is just insane. Ultimate Alliance 1 is now ten years old, and this version is nothing short of a quick port job. So asking a premium price for not-so-premium work is hard to swallow. If Activision had taken the time to upgrade the visuals, add in all the DLC (I am even talking about the PS2/PSP characters) and fix the issues the original game had, then I could justify that price. Sadly, as it stands, these two great games are marred by their exorbitant price tag.
I am not a naysayer of ports or remasters. I like giving gamers an opportunity to play the best games of last generation on their new hardware, but I want it done right. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 feels very much like a quick port job. I do feel good that Marvel has come out to address the larger issues, and players are getting that content, but the price is still too high a barrier for the state these games were released in.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.