After playing some Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 the other day, I noticed that a fair amount of what I was doing wasn't very fun. The fighting parts weren't the problem, though I have an admitted soft spot for mindless crowd combat. I didn't have any real issues with the story, either, because I was able (and willing) to skip cutscenes. No, the problem was the stupid "puzzle" bits that kept popping up. Here's what I'm talking about.



When I was in Africa (or at least I think that's where I was. I may have skipped some cutscenes...), I had to open a door by sliding some giant stone pillars around. It was not challenging. It was not interesting. It only served to stretch out the game by a minute or so, since giant stone pillars are even heavy for the Thing and they're not easy to drag around.

OK, the shapes in MUA2 were a little different than in my incredible illustration, but only slightly so. You would have to be really, really dense not to immediately realize what you were supposed to be doing.





MUA2 does another dumb thing (which was also in the first game), where players have to open powered-down doors by dragging giant batteries over to giant engines. It is as fun as it sounds, by which I mean it is not fun at all.

I understand that areas have to be blocked off to players to prevent them from just running to the end, but the battery solution is A) boring and B) silly. Sometimes the battery and engine are about 10 virtual feet apart. I don't ever recall having to do any kind of puzzle-solving to connect the two.

Oh god it is so boring and dumb. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a game about being a superhero and beating up other superheroes. That's all it is, and that's all it needs to be. If you want terrible sliding puzzles, play Tomb Raider.




This last thing has nothing to do with MUA2, but it's just something that's popped up in way too many games: balance-beam nonsense. Nobody has ever had a good time tapping left or right to keep their balance while crossing a log. Ever.

Then again, I'm assuming that games are supposed to be fun. Maybe developers are trying to draw attention to the futility of maintaining ones equilibrium while facing various external pressures anxskdxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.