If you have played X Men Legends and X men Legends 2 and the 'rival companies' Justice League of America game then you'll know what to expect. This is an RPG game like all of the above and the gameplay is exactly identical in every way. Get a mission, explore the area, destroy objects and collect tokens, level up powers etc etc and alternate costumes, the list goes on.
PLOT: It seems there may be a traitor within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D itself, and could it be none other than one of your potential team mates, The Black Widow? Trouble flairs up when the S.H.I.E.L.D Heli Carrier itself is attacked by the forces of HYDRA. You as one of the four team mates initially on offer (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, and Elektra) are sent to solve the problem. So off you go, and soon find yourself fighting the massed enemies of HYDRA troops in a race to stop the Heli Carrier from plummeting to earth, How much damage could that bad boy do if it hit a city? Yes I know, too terrible to contemplate!
As you progress through you'll unravel more of the plot, discover side quests and defeat two bosses (one being an obscure Dragon from Marvel's dim and perhaps forgotten past) as well as two super villains. As you explore you will find an area where you can revive team mates (if needed), and swap out the crew. This has a pretty extensive cast list, I'll grant you that. The Fantastic Four are there in their entirety, (this is in the past so Human Torch is there) Miss Marvel, Moon Knight and many many more. You can even play as some villains by the looks of things....
And then you'll see that your new HQ is in a building run by Tony (Iron Man) Stark and you can explore this place too, and even do some combat training sims for extra XP and rewards. Oh I forgot to mention you'll find power ups on missions as well as in the training zone (think of it as being like the Danger Room in the X Mansion), some are linked to specific characters, others can be used by anybody. These range from +1 to defence, to a boost to strength, damage or an existing ability. They are worth picking up so makes sure you don't miss them!
As said if you have played the X-Men Legends and the JLA game then you'll know what to expect.
Graphics are pretty decent, some nice flame effects and combat is fast and furious. The problem is however, that you will no doubt soon be comparing this to the two x-men titles at least and like me may be thinking been there done all of this already.
Ultimate Alliance serves a tried and tested formula, but sadly misses out on the chance to give up something new. It's like playing the Everquest RPG games and thinking that hang on these are just the same as the Baldur's Gate games! True they are but at least there is something unique in the items on offer and the levelling up systems, but UA relies on the exact same recipe as the X-Men Legends games. I know there is the adage that if it isn't broken then don't fix it but I cannot help feel that an opportunity for something new was truly missed.
It's all just a little repetitive as well which mars the experience. Die hard Marvel fans won't give two hoots maybe, but for me well it left me wanting something more. Don't get me wrong, this IS a fun game but in small doses. It didn't hook me as well as X-Men Legends or the JLA game.
On the plus side it does have a large cast so the potential for some unique teams does present itself with the bonus option of being able to name your own crew and even gain a vehicle but that comes later on in the game in single player and is there from the start in multiplayer, but sadly the lobbies were all empty. There were also hero and villain packs that could be bought with MS points at least that was the theory. My rental copy of this is American so maybe that's why I couldn't purchase them in the market, let alone FIND the packs? Apparently there is a UA Gold edition that has it all there but that seems very hard to find.
My advice? Try before you buy and take on board though that this is good, it is for me, lacking that little something that makes it a total must buy.