Off the rails

I’ve been playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance a fair amount of late and quite enjoying it.  This is in keeping with my recent trend of playing games that are nowhere near new, but new to me nonetheless.

One thing that’s bothered me is that the game remains very linear.  I understand the necessity of linearity in the chosen design; most areas don’t have any respawn and once you’ve passed through, there’s nothing to return for.  But wait, there is… there are collectable action figures that are needed to unlock Daredevil and Black Panther as characters.  My completionist side wants to get all the action figures so I can try out playing with those two, but once I leave an area, there’s no going back by and large.  Moreover, in some areas there’s no returning after completing even sub-areas – the bit that bothers me the most here is that the sub-areas that are locked immediately DO have respawn.  So there’s “content” for me to experience there, and the areas could reasonably remain accessible, but they’re locked immediately upon completion of the local quest.  The reason, as best I can see, is to force the player to play the whole game again from the start.

Now, it’s a fun game, and there are a lot of characters to choose from.  You form a team of four characters, and the AI is generally surprisingly excellent – the three characters you don’t control act intelligently by and large, and only rarely feel like they’re the blithering idiots I’m accustomed to henchmen being.  I’m interested in playing the game again on Hard mode (which is unlocked after completing it once) so would likely play again anyhow – and given the diversity of characters available, I suspect it’ll feel different next time through as well.  So I just don’t see a good reason to limit access to this content.

I wanna stick my arms outside the ride, and it hasn’t come to a full and complete stop.  Sigh.


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