[Update: We’ve since reviewed the games. You can read the review here.]
There’s another remaster out today – two, actually – in the form of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and it’s sequel of the same name but with a ‘2’ tacked on the end of it.
If I remember rightly, I actually really enjoyed Marvel Ultimate Alliance back when it released around a decade ago. I’d had a whale of a time with X-Men Legends – a game that introduced me to the RPG genre without making my brain hurt – and so I was looking forward to Marvel Ultimate Alliance as it was made by the same company and pretty much followed the same conventions.
It’s a decade on now and we’re getting a remaster of the two games rather than a fresh third entry, so how do they stack up today? Well, I can’t tell you about the sequel as it’s still installing on my system, but if the first game is anything to go by then it’s not looking good. In fairness, the gameplay is exactly the same as it was all those years ago, and nothing seems to have been ruined in the “re-mastering” process. Unfortunately it’s not a full-on remaster. Sure, it looks a little cleaner and it’s had a slight polish, but there’s nothing going on that screams “I’m worth your money, again!”
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The opening video that sets up the story – Dr Doom giving a non-Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury a hard time – still looks pretty poor and the compression makes everything seem a little fuzzy and unclear. Obviously that’s not going to have a massive effect on the gameplay, but as it’s the first thing you’ll see once you start a new game, it kind of sets up the expectations for what’s to follow.
The game’s performance is slightly improved upon the original release, though – and I’m not an expert with a ton of hardware to really crunch the numbers – I did notice the frame rate bobbing around during the initial level, but, again, in fairness, it wasn’t really that distracting and it still played rather nice.
Rest assured that once I’ve done whatever tasks I need to do today, I’ll be popping back into Marvel Ultimate Alliance to give it a good play through before posting a review later on.
All I can say to those who are wondering whether it’s worth buying is that you should set your expectations to the usual “Activision Remaster” level, or maybe wait for a price drop because at £44.99 for both games, I do feel a tad short-changed by what I’ve got. Probably should have waited for a review copy to arrive…