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The Return of the Lazy Backlogging Bum October 22, 2010

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Anime, Blog-along, Video Games.
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So. Here we are. I am officially a lazy bum. What happened these last months, you ask? A couple of things. For one, I got distracted by a couple of non-backlog-related projects. And then when I did start playing again, I ended up spending all my time playing and not typing up blog posts. Bad, evil, naughty me.

But I’m back! For what it’s worth.

Let’s see…progress….

Dragon Age Origins is done. I started up a Nightmare game with a female human noble rogue, but am still in Ostagar on that. Haven’t touched the game in a while. I did play through the Return to Ostagar DLC on my mage, but I haven’t picked up the Awakenings DLC yet. I should probably do that at some point before DAO2 comes out.

I still have a few trophies to nab on Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but that game is just about all done. I think I’m just down to a couple of challenge missions and finishing up the boost collection.

I think I’ve touched Demon’s Souls once since my last blog entry on it. It’s at the point where I pretty much need to start over, I think. Or at least replay some parts with my current character to get back into the swing of things. I did watch a speed run of it, though, and was rather amused.

Star Ocean: First Departure has likewise been on the back burner. Mostly because I got bored being so bloody powerful. I’ll probably restart it and refrain from being awesome at Art next time around.

I haven’t touched Metal Gear Solid or Valkyria Chronicles in forever, and I don’t even remember where I am in them anymore.

Okay, enough about how much I suck. I did manage to actually beat some games and finish some anime these last months, even though I didn’t mention it on here. The list of games I’ve taken care of in 2010 is currently thus (as best as I can recall):

Dragon Quest I
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

Ar Tonelico : Melody of Elemia
Final Fantasy X International

Assassins Creed II (+ first DLC)

Final Fantasy XIII
God of War (God of War Collection)
God of War II (God of War Collection)
God of War III
Heavy Rain
Resistance: Fall of Man
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Dragon Age: Origins (+DLC)

Mass Effect (+DLC)

Mass Effect 2 (+some DLC, but not Shadow Broker)
Plants vs. Zombies

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

God of War: Chains of Olympus

I think that’s fairly accurate. I’m still going through Tsukihime to finish off all the character routes, and I started up Atelier Annie. Oh, and Final Fantasy XI and XIV. Not that I’ve done much with either in recent weeks. And I started up Xenosaga again in an attempt to get through all three games.

As far as anime goes, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Gundam OO were my most memorable watches, and I very much enjoyed both. Black Lagoon was so-so. I’m slowly working through Golion, at like an episode per month. That is quite a slow series.

And I think that puts us back on track. The next update will likely be on Tsukihime later this afternoon. Like, as soon as I type it up. Which I’ll start doing after I post this. I also have a backlog-related project in the wings that I might start on next week. If that happens, I’ll be posting more details then.

For those (few) interested, my current video game backlog looks like this:


Sadly, it’s actually a tad bigger than that, though the sense of scale is about the same. I haven’t updated it as quickly as I’ve been pulling games from Steam sales >_>

Until next time (which I hope will be matter of minutes or hours, rather than months)!


Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part VIII: The Juggernaut, Bitch! November 13, 2009

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Blog-along, Video Games.
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So DLC has been released for MUA2, and I just had to have it. Mostly because Psylocke is awesome. Of course, you don’t see her name in the post title, do you? Didn’t think so. That’s because in addition to the big DLC pack, Juggernaut is now a DLC character for everyone. Hallelujah!

My party currently consists of Thor (because he’s a complete and utter badass), Magneto (because I used Phoenix last playthrough), Psylocke (see above; also, she has a nice targeted fusion with…), and Juggernaut. Because he’s awesome. And big. And awesome. Also, his Triangle power is awesome at building fusion meter on bosses.

I spent most of my MUA2 playtime since the DLC dropped doing silly things like the last set of trivia I needed to complete, getting the fusion trophy (all fusions with all non-DLC characters), and unlocking the extra costumes for the non-DLC crowd. After that I figured I’d traipse through the levels some more, and got all the way to the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Woo! Some boss battles were a little interesting since this *is* Legendary and I was going for the no-revival trophy. I did do part of one map Thor-less, but that was the only time I ran for an extended amount of time with a character down. If either Juggy or Psylocke (Juggly?) went down, I just reloaded a previous save. The Colossus/Dazzler fight was a bit hairy, until I just decided to take Colossus down first. Then it was cake. Captain America, in all of his various forms, were not too bad, though I have been noticing a distinct lack of healing tokens in boss fights this time around, where that never bothered me on the last playthrough.

I’ve been making sure to keep up on pickups in the levels, and have made a conscious effort to get them all before moving onto the next mission. So far, so good. I’ve also maxed all my Attitude bonuses, and taken another stab at some simulator challenges, with varying degrees of success. Thor is rocking the power pips, and I really need to stop feeding him the ones in the field. Psylocke is hungry, ya know? Thor is just about maxed out on his powers, and will be before he hits 60. I’d been neglecting his lightning bolt power, but I’m seeing it becoming much, much more useful as the game progresses. Heck in the Venom/Goblin fight in the chemical plant, lightning took Venom and Gobbie down quickly whenever I wasn’t tossing bombs down the reactor core. That seems to be the way Thor goes as a whole. He starts out pretty meh, but then gets exponentially more awesome the more levels he gets.

Overall, there hasn’t been anything terribly surprising this time around, other than the awesomeness of Thor and Juggy. Magneto seems to be holding his own quite well, and I haven’t noticed him sucking, so good for him. I haven’t played much (or at all….) with the Carnage or Black Panther, so I can’t speak to their effectiveness. Maybe later sometime. I do need to get their alternate outfits at least.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part VII: Once More, With Feeling September 30, 2009

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I started up my New Game+ last night. I once again was stuck with the same initial four as the first time, but that wasn’t terribly unexpected. Boy, are the enemies tougher now! Not “tougher” as in more difficult, but in that they do way more damage and have way more health. I got through the entirety of Latveria only quitting and restarting once (I wanted credit towards the no revival/map reload trophy), and that was on the last map. The bosses so far haven’t been too bad; it’s been the mobs of enemies that are the real killer. I used the Femme Fatales to clear the final Latveria map, and I can safely say I won’t be doing that again. Only clearing fusions, mediocre damage, and limited survivability are not a good combination on Legendary. The Tinkerer bot fight pretty much was reduced to standing back and zapping the legs, popping a clearing fusion every so often to clear out the little enemies and get a health token, and repeating ad infinitum.

Other than that, I played with the New Avengers on a rerun of the first level to pick up the dossier that I apparently kept managing to miss somehow. Luke Cage does not take much damage. At all. And he has a nice Targeted fusion with Spider-Man. Cool. I haven’t messed around with the other “teams” yet, but I have reached the conclusion that any team with Thor, a targeted fusion, and a clearing fusion is made of awesome and win. And really, the two fusions are optional. I know I said before that I didn’t really get what was so awesome about the guy, but man, does he ever shine on Legendary. His X power torpedoes him through mobs of enemies, pretty much flattening anything in his way. His hammer smash is solid damage with a small aoe. And his circle power is pretty sweet, as well. I haven’t had much use for his triangle power, though.

So, my team. Thor is definitely in. The AI tends to use both Storm and Invisible Woman effectively, though Storm moreso. So Storm is in, too. Her ridiculous damage immunities also help. I’m thinking of taking Hulk for a big, nigh invulnerable bruiser, and I never really gave him much play my first time through. Plus he needs to take down a couple of bosses later in the game anyway. I’m still leaning towards Songbird as my fourth, partly because she has some great potential, and partly because I already used Jean a ton my first time through. Of course, things may change when I see what I have for fusion types with this roster. The AI also seemed to do pretty well with Nick Fury.

I’ve gotten all the pickups from Latveria now, and it’s pretty cool how the bosses drop new boosts on Legendary. I haven’t gone back through any of the simulator challenge missions yet, and I’ll probably wait on that until I’ve gotten farther through the game and leveled up more, anyway. I’ve been racking up the Diplomatic responses, and I’ll probably get those boosts unlocked around Act II. Then it’s just on to Defensive. Which I *might* be able to do this time through as well. Maybe. It will probably be pretty tight. I’ll have to make sure I get the special conversations, too. Oh, and I need to knock out the Act I trivia game yet, too. I’ll probably use a second controller and cheat the fusion bonuses on it this time.

I finally got around to ordering a wireless earpiece/microphone from Amazon, and it arrived yesterday. I charged it up, so I’ll have to see about taking MUA2 (and other games…like Gundam 0081…) online at some point. I’m actually strangely excited at being able to play PS3 games online now (my internet connection is *much* more reliable at my new place than it was at my old one) and being able to communicate with the people I’m playing with. Should make for some fun times.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part VI: The Highest Platform of the Tallest Spire September 25, 2009

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Blog-along, Video Games.
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Well, I beat MUA2 on Heroic. I was moderately surprised that the last Act was one big stream of maps; there was no brief intermission back at the HQ. I was around level 31, and finished with a team of Storm, Jean, Gambit, and Wolverine. The FBS was doing ~1800-ish to bosses. Sweet. The final boss has a few tricks, though the game tells you, rather insistently, how to get around them, so that’s not a big deal. He does toss out a lot of difficult to avoid damage, though. There were plenty of healing tokens around, though, and Phoenix had a couple of timely resurrections on the way to him, though. I wonder if a Phoenix revival via her ability constitutes a revival for the purposes of the trophy. Hmm. Not that it really matters since I’ll likely not be using her this playthrough.

I did run through a couple of previous maps to try and get the “Lead team xxx for a whole map” heroic deeds, but it didn’t work for either Luke Cage or Captain America. Which is weird because I DID get it last night for Reed and the Fantastic Four. No idea what’s going on there. I’ll just pick it up on Legendary, I guess.

The ending was short and sweet. I was expecting something a bit more, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what. The conversation during the credits was hilarious.

I saved my game and went to the next mission console to start a new game + on Legendary. I was hoping I would be able to swap characters around from the get-go this time, but I’m still locked into a preset team initially like a normal new game. I did notice, however, that the Anti-Reg abilities are still unlocked. I’ll have to see if they stay that way after I choose a side, but I suspect they will. Which means that on this palythrough everyone will have access to all their abilities, and not just their faction-specific and universal ones.

So far the big difference is that things have a lot more health, and hit harder. So pretty much just as expected. I saved right at the beginning of the map so I can cheat the system if I end up in a revival position. I can just quit and reload my save without it counting as a reload of the map. Yay. Since there’s very little leeway if one wants the 25 maps with no revival or reload trophy, and the rumor is circulating that I won’t be able to retry a level via the simulator if I need to and have it count for the trophy, I figure this is a decent way to go about it. Though I suspect that I’ll be replaying levels as much as I need to get all the pickups before moving on to the next one. That should also help boost my levels, as I anticipate the bosses being a pain.

I’m not sure who I’m going to focus on as my main team this time around. I’m leaning towards Nick Fury, Thor, and Songbird, but I don’t have a definite plan for the final spot. There will likely be some switching so I can get some stats stuff out of the way, but I want to have a solid core again.

Anyway, that’s enough MUA for now. Time to watch some football and catch up on the month or so of comics I’ve been behind since I moved.

Marvel Utimate Alliance 2 – Part V: The Daily Grind September 24, 2009

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I didn’t get much done tonight. All I did was go into the Basic Training sim and work on unlocking costumes and boosts. All of the Anti-Reg specific requirements are done now, so I can either play through Act 4 and just try to pick them up in Legendary, or get everything out of the way I can right now. There are a couple of things I want to figure out as far as how things count, so I’ll probably run back through a couple of missions with some specific teams and see what happens. Other than that, though, I don’t think I want to grind any further. I’ll have plenty to do on Legendary regardless.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part IV: Resistance is Futile September 24, 2009

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Warning: Here there be SPOILERS. Highlight the blank sections to see them if you so choose.

I hit Act 4 last night. Act 3 seemed pretty short, at least compared to Acts 1 and 2. I suppose the game wanted to get past the part where you don’t have access to everyone fairly quickly. Even so, the Civil War arc was very well done, and segued nicely into Act 4. Maybe my memory’s a bit foggy, but MUA2 seems to have a much tighter, better-flowing story than the first game.

The run through Prison 42 was fun. Lots of mayhem and bad guys to destroy. Also, there was a fair amount of environment-induced damage, like electrified floor panels. And wall panels. These annoying things don’t just hurt you when you run over them. They stun you and zap you for a few seconds before you can move again. Getting knocked into the middle of one or more of these sucks hard. It’s a good thing the bad guys are usually also affected by them.

Speaking of bad guys, there were actually a fair number of not robots! And just when I was thinking I could finally tag Iceman back in for a map, robots showed up! Well played, game, well played. Instead I looked at the stats pages for my individual characters, and decided to bring in Storm and Wolverine to run with Gambit and Jean. This got me the X-Men team bonus and let me work on knocking out some Heroic Deeds. I was thinking that when the game mentions performing 10 Fastball Specials with Wolverine, I’d need to team him up with Hulk or something. Not so—Jean works just fine as a partner.  So I was able to knock out Jean’s 5 Fusions with Wolverine deed as well as Wolvie’s 10 Fastball Specials deed. I had to be controlling the character I wanted it to count for, though. As a side note, I’m consistently hitting 1400+ damage with a Wolvie/Jean Fusion right now on bosses. It’s pretty awesome.

I also finally unlocked Thor, who was the last of the token collection characters I needed. I know everyone is raving about him being ridiculously overpowered online, but I haven’t figured him out yet. I’ll have to spend more time with him, I guess. I’m going to be revisiting lots of levels for pick-ups, so I’ll probably toy around with him and all the other characters I haven’t really been using when I start hitting the simulator. My side goal there is to work on the Heroic Deeds for all the Anti-Reg heroes, too.

The game is starting to throw more multi-character boss battles at me. The last solo boss I had to fight was somewhere along the halfway point in 42. Pretty much every boss battle since has included at least two bosses and a horde of enemies. The Fastball Special makes taking down the bosses easy enough, when one doesn’t go invulnerable and switch the other one in for a time, at least.

The last boss fight before unlocking Black Panther’s palace as an HQ took me a bit to figure out how to actually beat it. Venom kept randomly popping in from above, and I was generally fighting around the perimeter of the room, so I didn’t see him hanging onto a pillar. Once I finally noticed that, I was able to knock him down and proceed to stomp his symbiotic arse. He did go back to the pillars a couple more times, but once I knew what to do the battle as a whole was fairly simple.

I’ll probably hit up the trivia game and finish up the available past levels in the simulator before continuing the story. I want to try out some other characters, and finish out the rest of the pick-ups. I assume that I’ll be back in the HQ at least once before finishing the game, but I don’t want to take too many chances. Of course, I’d also expect that the game will pop me back here after the final mission to mess around and start my New Game Plus. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just cruise through the rest of the game and worry about the rest later. I need to run a bunch of stuff on Legendary anyway to get the rest of the unlocks.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part III: Holy Crap, a Lighted Environment! September 22, 2009

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More MUA 2 goodness. I finished out Act 2 today. This post (and likely subsequent posts) contain spoilers up to the point of the game I am at. That was one hell of a ride. I love how the game takes the Civil War story and twist it around to serve the game’s own devices. it’s also worth noting that the environments I played through tonight actually had decent lighting! Woo!

My party was Jean Grey, Ms. Marvel, Gambit, and Captain America. After Cap got yanked for story reasons, I popped Deadpool in there. I don’t really do much with him other than let him run around slashing, shooting, and exploding things. It seems to make him happy. Gambit tosses cards everywhere and generally wreaks havoc. And gives me a chance at more orbs. Go Cajun.

Jean is developing into quite the force to be reckoned with. Cranking up her cone flame wave and TK pull attacks (square and X respectively) is proving to be pips well spent. TK is doing some decent single-target boss damage, and flame wave is rocking crowds of enemies. Stunning with her aoe Circle power and then unleashing a series of flame waves clears out just about anything–either by outright destroying it or knocking it off a ledge. Consequently, her Fusion with Gambit is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. It absolutely destroys any large mobs of enemies, destructible environments, and bosses. That it does multiple hits and has a decently long duration is awesome enough, but the bloody thing can be MOVED like a targettable Fusion! Oh, and it also sucks in normal enemies. Kinetic tornado FTW!

Gambit did gets some hands-on use during a rather tense battle with Yellowjacket. His quick tap card toss power was good at attacking the hands after dodging the initial strike. As the battle wound down I switched over to Jean and finished up with some flame waving and kinetic tornadoing. After that battle I’m pretty much locked into Jean–and the Jean/Gambit combo on bosses.

Other than that battle, the rest of Act 2 was basically me running around and beating the crap out of everything in site. The other bosses fell to either kinetic tornado spam or just me standing back with Jean and firing away with her TK beam or her flame wave. Even the last fight of the act wasn’t much of an issue.

Now I’m in the Act 3 HQ. I’ve picked up all the pickups in the place, and I’ll probably do the trivia questions for the act before starting on the missions. I’ve been doing pretty well with character unlock pickups throughout the game, but I’m still one Asgardian rune short of a thunder god. I suspect that one I get him, assuming everything I’ve heard about his abilities is true, he’ll have a permanent spot in my lineup. Songbird is unlocked, but unavauilable at the moment. I’m also looking forward to taking her for a spin. I’ll probably wait to go back through previous missions for unlocks until after my next time through the game (taking the other path). Unless I just can’t manage to get Thor unlocked through the course of normal play. In that case, I’ll go back for the runes.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part II: O Captain! My Captain! September 20, 2009

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So I progressed to the point where I could choose my side. The choice scene is handled really well. It could have just been a menu, but it’s not. It’s a bit more interactive than that. So after going Anti-Reg, several characters got locked out for story reasons, which makes sense, and several characters were made available. Awesome.

I played a bit more, and started switching up my team. I ran with Deadpool for a bit, but that was yet another clearing fusion with Ms. Marvel. He was amusing (hey, it’s Deadpool–of course he’s amusing!), but I eventually swapped him out for Iron Fist. Who was okay, I guess, but kept whining about being low on health. Pansy.

I unlocked Jean Grey a short while later, so Iron Fist quickly got the boot. Jean is…interesting. She has a really fun power set, and can do a ton of damage when used properly. She also has an awesome clearing fusion with Gambit. I quickly got the requisite 50 kills to unlock her alternate costume, and was a bit surprised. I was expecting Dark Phoenix, or maybe one of her more recent costumes, but her alternate is very reminiscent of the 60’s. Cool.

I started putting more points into Ms. Marvel’s defensive abilities, and her life expectancy is increasing exponentially. She’s really able to get in there and mix it up in addition to standing mostly at range and blasting in, which was how I was using her before. Her Triangle power (I’m playing the PS3 version) helped immensely, especially when powered up to the first added effect. Her fusion with Captain America is still an incredibly potent boss killer.

I did spend some time going back through previous missions for pickups because I wanted to make sure I was keeping up with the M’Kraan fragments so I could unlock Phoenix ASAP. It’s a great feature, and the simulator lists how many pickups of each type you’ve managed in each level, as well as how many you have left to get. It doesn’t spell out specifically which boosts, dossiers, character fragments, etc are in there, but it’s enough to know that there are still things to get.

So far, MUA2 is much more fast-paced and not nearly as tedious as the first game. I’m loving it so far! The story is solid, and appears to have threads of the original draft of the Civil War comic. It’s certainly changed around a bit from what actually got published, which is cool. The more streamlined character upgrade system is a good thing, and allows for a good amount of customization while not taking up an inordinate amount of time. And I still love the ability to freely redistribute points at any time.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part I: Whose Side Are You On? September 19, 2009

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It was with much glee and anticipation that I went to my local Best Buy to hunt down a copy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Unfortunately, this means that I did not pre-order it from Gamestop, so I don’t get Juggernaut. Which is crappy and really kind of pisses me off. Characters should not be exclusive pre-order content from one overpowered retail chain. Ah, well. I still hold out hope that Juggy will be DLC for everyone in a month or so.

So I plug the disc in, and (after the automatic install) I start a new game on the normal difficulty level. I notice a few things right off. First, the FMVs are pretty. Also, the voice acting is very spotty. Some characters are decent, others are kinda crappy. The realtime graphics aren’t much of an improvement over the first game at all, but the framerate is a hell of a lot better.

Like the first game, you’re given an initial team for the first mission. This time it’s Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man. I immediately go into the menu to take a look at the power selection, and do a double take at how things have been tweaked since the first MUA. Everyone only has four attack powers, pre-mapped to each of the face buttons. These are bought with power points earned at level-up. The rest of the abilities are all passive-types like increased energy regeneration or more attack power, and are bought with what would have been credits from the last game. What’s more, it looks like each character has certain powers that will become available if they go Pro-Registration, and others if they go Anti-Registration. That’s a nice wrinkle. It seems to be two and two for most characters, in addition to the two passives that are not tied to a particular faction. I also noticed later that Luke Cage’s passives are entirely Anti-Reg.

The first couple of levels are really, really dark. As in, so dark that I have to fire off powers just to see my surroundings. The characters are all well-lit, but the area around them is not. Just because the initial levels involve a power outage and a cave complex doesn’t mean that they have to be THAT dark. And yes, I cranked my gamma up, too.

The game let me change my team up partway through the first level. The party status screen is more clunky than in the past, but that’s in part due to the fact that it has more functionality. For starters, you can swap out characters in the middle of levels. This is a pretty sweet function in and of itself. Additionally, autospend is NOT on by default this time around, which is awesome. Points can also be reallocated at any time–even if they’ve already been spent, or are the first point put into a particular power. The credits used to buy points of passive powers are not pulled from a common pool–instead, each character always has access to the entirety of them. So if you have earned 5000 credits up to a particular point, every character has 5000 to spend. In keeping with the free respeccing, any point removed from a passive refunds the entirety of the cost to buy it. So there is absolutely no worry of building characters up the wrong way.

As far as powers go, the attack set are unlocked at certain levels, like before. So no character has all their powers available from level 1. It’s interesting to see how characters develop differently, even with some similarities in power sets. The limited power selection does cut down on the amount of clone character builds, though–it’s nice to see more unique characters this time around.

The uniqueness of the characters plays into the new Fusion attacks a bit, too. Instead of manually combining specials as before for some extra damage and experience, MUA2 has actual combination attacks. Each character can combine with each other character, and the Fusion attacks are all unique. Sort of. It seems like each character’s Fusion attacks of the same type are animated in a very similar way. My favorite thus far is Ms. Marvel teaming up with Iceman. Iceman creates a giant ice spike on himself, which Ms. Marvel then uses as a prism to reflect her energy beam around a huge area.

As for my progress thus far, I’ve gotten through the first two missions. The final boss of the second mission was an interesting multi-stage fight, and I can already see a couple of ways I can improve upon it. There are a couple of gimmicks in it, and it’s a multi-stage fight. It kind of reminds me of a raid boss in World of Warcraft, actually. I am finding that I do consistently better with characters with ranged attacks, like Iceman, Gambit, and Ms. Marvel. I actually really like what they’ve done to Carol in this game. She’s much more fun to play than in the previous game. Iceman is likewise well improved, and Gambit is just fun. Unfortunately, with my team of those three plus Luke Cage I lack a particular type of Fusion attack, (the controllable one), which is really useful on bosses, so I’ll be changing things up. I’m just not sure who I want to sub in yet. Maybe Captain America. I’d plug in Iron Fist, but I don’t have him unlocked yet.

The trivia game is much improved as well. Not only is it multiplayer now, with the possibility of xp bonuses if both players choose the correct answer, but you can continue to retry questions untl you get the full points for them, which rectifies something that was rather annoying in all the previous games in the metaseries.

The game also has online multiplayer, but I haven’t tried it out yet. I should probably get a microhphone/earpiece thing before I try to actually coordinate with another human being. There are some online stats and trophies to work on, so I’ll work on that at some point. Besides, MUA is like a thousand times more awesome when played with other people.

I think that’s about it for this post. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bunch of things, which I will hopefully remember and slide into future posts on the game. So far MUA2 is not much different than its predecessor in style, but everything has been tweaked to the point of the whole being more than the sum of its parts.