I am Iron Man

October 27, 2006 by Tim

So I haven’t really been all that hyped for Gears of War. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, and I’ve got that sucker pre-ordered (hopefully they’ll send me the right one this time, more on that in a second), and I’ll play it. But while I’m well aware that Gears of War holds position as one of the “most anticipated” games for the 360 this year, personally I wasn’t all that wrapped up in it.

Flashy graphics aside, maybe it’s because the concept seems a little stale to me, so I have to wait to actually get my hands on it to really form my opinion one way or another. Or maybe because when the hype machine actually starts telling me that the game is the “best thing the 360 will ever see”, my skepticism sensors go off. That’s the kind of thing I usually like to decide for myself. Yeah, it’s probably that the game has gotten so much attention and so much hype, that I just automatically put my blinders on for it.

I’m hoping that I’m pleasantly surprised.

So I’m sure some of you are aware of a “shipping mishap” that occured this week with Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I had the game on pre-order, as with all games I buy, online via EBGames. So Wednesday I’m pretty excited when UPS shows up at the door, until I open up the box to find a regular Xbox version of MUA. Argh. After calling customer support, the guy told me that this was a widespread problem that they’re aware of. Apparently a lot of people were sent the wrong version of the game.

So I went out to find a 360 version, and at a couple of Gamestop/Ebgames stores I was told that none of their stores in the area had received the game. Yikes. Fortunately I was able to get the game at Best Buy, and let me tell you, it’s worth it.

MUA is like a dream come true for me. I am such a huge sucker for co-op games, super heroes and fighting. And obviously Ultimate Alliance is all three. Not only that, it’s all three done extremely well.

If you enjoyed X-Men Legends, you’ll love MUA. They’re improved so many aspects of the game. The combat system is familiar to Legends, with activating powers and such. Except now instead of just pushing the appropriate button and letting the special move fly, there are rapid fire or charge-up variations you can do.

Health and energy automatically gravitate towards the hero that needs it the most, which is a small but incredibly helpful detail.

Combat actually feels like super hero combat. Again, the devil is in the details. I play as Iron Man mostly (classic outfit) and the fighting animations are great. I love yanking a shield away from an enemy and then following with a powerful charged uppercut. Or better yet, just tossing them over a railing to their demise.

One of the things I was most impressed with, however, was the quality of the voice acting. While the dialogue is accurately over the top and cheesy for a comic book style story, it’s delivered by some really talented people. It sounds natural and believable, and really draws you into the story.

It was definitely worth the wait.

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