Friday, February 23, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of February 23rd, 2007)

It’s less Reading the Week than it is Gaming the Week, Gentle Reader, as I’ve finally (finally!) managed to have a spare hour to play Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the Reads’ bright and shiny new Wii. In keeping with the theme for this week—thanks to Civil War, it seems to be all Marvel, all the time in the Reads’ household—it feels appropriate to discuss yet another marvel from Marvel. But before I begin, please, let me ask the world: give the Wii Justice League Heroes. Please?

I’m still rather unskilled when it comes to video games. I’ve terrible hand-eye coordination, and while I’m rather good at puzzle games on the computer, the move from mouse to controller confuses me, just a bit. That is to say, I’m still finding my comfort zone with the Wii controller. Again, let me stress my joy from last week’s blog entry that I find the versatility of the Wii controller wonderful. As a left-handed person, I rejoice over its ease and ambidexterity. But it does take a little time to get used to the new controller, and when skirmishes happen as fast as they do in Ultimate Alliance, I find myself as Thor, slamming into a corner, trying to turn around and help my team.

But see, here’s where the fun really begins: you have a *team*. More importantly, you can’t hurt your own team. That’s fantastic for someone like me just learning how to use the controllers (and really, just learning to play a game like this for the first time). Even if I-as-Thor keep bumping into the wall, Cap, Wolverine, and Spidey have all got my back.

You begin the game playing as those four, and Thor is easily my favorite. Perhaps I’m more of a smash-and-grab kind of player, or perhaps I just like the shiny hammer. But I found Thor the easiest character of the four to use for my particular talents (or lack thereof) in the gaming world.

Once you power up, you get to create your own team. Mr. Reads has already unlocked most of the characters, so I created a team of Ms. Marvel, Spiderwoman, Thor (because I like the hammer!), and the Invisible Woman. What a powerhouse of a team, Gentle Reader! Sue Storm isn’t all that strong, physically, but she has some wicked powers. Ms. Marvel was a blast to play with: she’s a flyer, and she’s strong, and she likes to pick things up and throw them. Spiderwoman’s blasts were great, too, but I kept aiming at the wrong things as I tried to work the left and right controller at the same time.

Again, I only played an hour, but I had a great time. Mr. Reads sat on the couch and cheered me on (and, well, reminded me that no, that way was Sudden Doom), while Pup Reads kept jumping at the controller (assuming, I suppose, that they were some elaborate Puppy Plaything). I highly recommend this game, if you don’t have it already.

Next stop for the Wii will most likely be Zelda, or Call of Duty, as Mr. Reads is looking forward to playing both of those. As for This Humble Author, I’m holding out for Justice League, or the off-chance that Wii will pick up a puzzle game a la Agatha Christie or Nancy Drew.

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