Okay, so calling The Lord of the Rings franchise a "failure" is a bit of a stretch. The world of J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson has inspired some good games and, depending on how big a fan you are, even some great ones. Plus, we've seen a ton of variety. Role-playing. Action. Real-time strategy. Massively multiplayer. Pinball.
But the one thing that The Lord of the Rings games have never gotten quite right - and the one thing that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance absolutely nails - is a feeling of fellowship. Of a band of heroes, each with unique weapons and powers, coming together to fight as a cohesive team. Of multiple players picking their favorite roles and joining up to finish a cooperative story.
LOTR: The Two Towers enabled you to select different characters, but never at the same time. In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, you choose and control an entire party, switching between members on the fly. LOTR: The Return of the King added two-player levels, but only during certain sections. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance has four-player coop throughout, offline or online. LOTR: The Third Age had four characters, too, but not the famous heroes you know and love. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance includes practically everyone, from Spider-Man and Captain America to Black Panther and Moon Knight.
Look, we're not claiming Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a mind-blowing masterpiece, and we're not saying The Lord of the Ring franchise has been terrible thus far. We just hope, as more entries are developed, a few of them take a cue from the comics. Watch the video below, then try telling us Gandalf and company aren't superheroes. You can't.