There are lots of things to love about the Marvel Universe, from its dysfunctional family story lines to the fact that some women do look good in spandex. Lately there has been a lot to love about Marvel if you are a video game fan. First we had Spiderman and then its sequel. Last year was X-Men Legends once again followed by its second take, and even more recently Ultimate Spiderman which is just absolutely phenomenal. I admit when I first heard EA had acquired the rights to the Marvel characters I died a little inside. Thinking of how nothing could ever compare to Marvel Capcom 2 is an easy influence, but after spending some time with the demo I had redeemed faith. Well that all went straight to hell after spending some quality time with the final version of Nemesis, of course that is the last time you will hear me use the word “quality” in this review.
The first and biggest problem is that this game isn’t exactly what it seems, nor can it ever decide what it wants to be. EA is touting it as a fighting game, but in actuality it’s more of a hybrid action/fighter with some beat ’em up elements. The fighting game portion is certainly the highlight; unfortunately you are required to trudge through the problematic action game to unlock any new fighters. This has worked in the past for other fighting games, but here it feels tacked on and very uninspired.
The action game is nothing more than a series of bland encounters with some no-name thugs to progress the story. The story is penned by famous comic writer Mark Millar. It has a few moments of brilliance, but at its core you really feel like this was something that EA threw together with very little effort behind it. The only saving grace for this mode are the boss battle, but even those seem to turn into an object throwing contest after a few minutes.
The one on one portion of the game was my last ray of hope for this title, playing the demo gave me a sense of Powerstone, and needless to say my hopes were high. Unfortunately after about twenty minutes I came to the sad truth that this game is about as deep as the kiddie pool. Every character plays and feels exactly the same, special moves for EA’s lineup of Imperfects is extremely overpowered, and for some reason Wolverine’s claws only come out in special attacks. The environments are however interactive and it does make for some nice battles, but most stages are entirely too large for just two combatants, make it four player and you might get my attention.
You can take your battles online with Marvel Nemesis; in fact playing against a human is actually a bit more enjoyable than flying solo. The problem here lies in the fact that once you learn one characters move set, then you know them all. The combat simply isn’t deep enough to entice any fighting game fans. Sure it has been a dream to duke it out with Venom and Spiderman online; unfortunately this dream will not be coming true with this disappointing title.
Nemesis only hope for survival is its visuals, I must admit they are slick. Taking a slightly more artistic approach with a darker overtone seems to suit the universe well. The lighting is especially good and EA was even nice enough to give us 480p progressive scan support on the XB version. The character models are nicely detailed, sporting some fantastic animations. Watching Venom’s tongue swirl around really adds personality to his avatar. The menus are very well done and there are even some nice bonuses to unlock including hidden comics. The music is pretty much background noise, but the voice overs are incredible and add that extra layer of polish.
If this game didn’t have these outstanding visuals and such high production values it could easily be one of the worst to grace our consoles this year. Lack of combat depth and a lackluster story mode really leave this game in the dark ages. Perhaps Nihilistic and EA can bring something new to the table next year, but my guess is that it might as well be called Marvel Nemesis 2007.