Videogame Reviews

Team Players

EW's gamers play ''Ultimate Alliance'' and ''Justice League Heroes,'' starring your favorite Marvel and DC characters. Plus: the latest ''Tiger Woods,'' ''Final Fantasy,'' and more

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Titles starring your favorite Marvel and DC heroes

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
(Activision; PS2, PS3, XB, XB 360, DS, Wii; Teen)
As mutant is to man, so is Ultimate Alliance the next evolutionary step in Marvel Comics' videogame endeavors (and that's including the recent and well-regarded X-Men Legends titles). An action role-playing game, M:UA unabashedly positions itself as a shiny monument to fan service, with an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that has B- and C-list characters popping up seemingly every 10 minutes. But of course, you'll wanna play as one of the A-list heroes who band together to thwart Doctor Doom's malevolent quest to acquire cosmic levels of power. When you're not busy battling the evil Doc, make sure you spend some time exploring every nook and cranny: The unlockable costumes hidden throughout this Marvel universe actually deepen the gameplay by enhancing attacks or adding new abilities. On the not-so-good side: a clunky save system, online cooperative play that only supports one player per console, and — most disappointing — some uninspired level design that undermines the sheer fannish thrill of playing cult characters like Moon Knight and Spider-Woman for the first time. BEvan Narcisse

Justice League Heroes
(Warner Bros. Interactive; PS2, XB; Teen)
When it comes to videogames, DC Comics' characters haven't ever fared as well as Spidey and his friends over at rival Marvel. Justice League Heroes aspires to be the game that changes all of that. The story — by Dwayne McDuffie, a producer on the beloved Justice League animated series — pits DC's greatest superteam against a powerful lineup of supervillains including Brainiac, the Key, and the evil White Martians. We like that JLH makes better use of its source material than Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and boasts a smarter level-up system that doles out upgrade points equally, rather than forcing players to make these potentially bitter decisions. When playing solo, the AI for your computer-controlled partner does bug out a bit, straying from the assigned behaviors in boneheaded fashion. McDuffie nails the characters' personas — and the voice acting in Heroes shines, with Ron Perlman pulling off an appropriately surly Batman. The gameplay can be a bit of a repetitive grind, but anyone who's ever wanted to team up Green Arrow and Green Lantern against that frigid bitch Killer Frost will be too busy having a geekgasm to care. BEN

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
(Electronic Arts; PS2, XB, XB360, PSP; Everyone)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That seems to be the mantra EA Sports applies to its Tiger Woods golf series. Like the 2006 version, 07 doesn't break much new ground, but it still provides eye-popping visuals, some new courses (NYC's Central Park), and a few more competitors, like LPGA star Annika Sorenstam. One new feature allows players a greater level of customization, not in merely creating the physical characteristics of your onscreen alter ego but in such aspects of gameplay as tweaking the difficulty level on each hole. Approach this game like a duffer working on his golf swing: The more you time put in, the bigger the rewards. BPaul Katz

Killzone: Liberation
(Sony; PSP; Teen)
Remember the original Killzone on the PS2? Neither do we, but no worries: Liberation has very little to do with the middling first-person-shooter from two years ago. For starters, it's not even an FPS. Instead, you wage war from a bird's-eye view, which, despite the fact that the PSP's petite screen reduces the characters to the size of ants, turns out to be a shrewd move by the game's creators. The new camera angle gives players a much better perspective of the hostile topography. While not the least bit realistic — wouldn't real-life soldiers love to spot enemies and incoming grenades from a hundred yards away? — it's kinda cool not having to worry about what's lurking around every corner. Like many games on portable devices, Liberation isn't a match for the best action games on home consoles, but if you find yourself on the go, it should be a fixture in your PSP war chest. BGary Eng Walk

Final Fantasy XII
(Square Enix, PS2, Teen)
The music is sometimes distracting. And some of the costumes are strange. And those are about the only things we didn't like about this long-awaited role-playing game. Here are just a few of the many things we really liked: The impossibly fast load times. The amazingly detailed world of Ivalice. The new Active Dimension Battle System (which does, we admit, take some getting used to). The spectacular graphics. And, come to think of it, those costumes don't seem so bad after all. So, how good is this game? Good enough to call it the best installment of the best RPG series of all time. AWook Kim

Family Guy
(Take Two; PS2, XB, PSP; Mature)
This game version of Fox's animated comedy is exactly like Peter Griffin: bloated, stupid, and very slow. Unless you are so obsessed with the show that there's Family Guy sheets on the bed, take a pass. D+Paul Katz

Originally posted Nov 06, 2006