Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

X-Men Legends had a good run as an Action RPG, but what about those of us who like our superheroes with a little less social outcast to them? Activision is embracing the entire Marvel universe with Ultimate Alliance, and allowed us to embrace every next-gen version at a recent hands-on event in Santa Monica, CA.

The cast is a veritable who's-who of the heroic elite (in the Marvel universe, anyhow). We were able to formulate our team from the following icons: Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Iceman, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, and the entire Fantastic Four quartet. That's not even counting the several hidden characters whose identities are currently a mystery.

Of course, a group with that much star power must have come together for a reason. That reason is the Masters of Evil. Headed by Dr. Doom, these guys have no end of twisted desires that will come to fruition unless good prevails - which you know it will, provided you've done ample leveling-up along the way.

Speaking of leveling-up, Ultimate Alliance flips X-Men Legends' script just a bit. The character screen has four sections: powers, outfits, gear, and stats. Powers are like the mutant abilities in Legends, as you can unlock new skills and upgrade the ones you have. Outfits not only allows you to wear various costumes (Wolverine starts with simple jean/t-shirt combo, for example), but is also the place to boost health and other normal attributes. Gear is where you put on peripheral swag like bracelets of bad-assitude and the like. Meanwhile, the stats page seems like a simple readout of where your hero is in relation to his/her potential.