Re: Gift

When a PS3 just isn't in the cards

Re: Gift

Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Activision

$39.99

The rising destructive capability of evil men threatens global stability. And so, you must take control of a team of Marvel superheroes and form the world's mightiest counter-terrorism unit! But you won't find Spider-Man turning his sarcastic wit against the likes of Osama bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Marvel Ultimate Alliance; instead, you will encounter a fantastical adventure that takes you from the gates of hell to the beer halls of Valhalla, battling villains of every stripe, even including the cosmic entity Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, who apparently has half a mind to, well, eat Earth.

Yes, it is, in large part, the epic story that makes MUA such a compelling diversion. That's not to say that the gameplay isn't a lot of fun; it is, but gamers who were drawn to the role-playing aspects of earlier installments in Raven Software's superhero RPG series should be forewarned: This time around the role-playing elements have been diminished in favor of more traditional arcade action gameplay. No longer will you be able to distribute stat points after leveling up, and experience is essentially a nonfactor since it's divided evenly among all of your heroes. New features include the ability to pick up and wield weapons (think Double Dragon), a chargeable jump attack, and various special moves requiring fierce, occasionally exhausting button mashing.

While the loss of customization is disappointing, it's easily forgotten in the depths of the Marvel Universe and the simple pleasures of throwing around Captain America's shield, plunging Wolverine's claws into so many faces, and terrifying poor sinners with Ghost Rider's penance stare.

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