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The Marvel Ultimate Alliance PC Ports Are A Disaster

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The re-release of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and PC debut of its sequel should be a happy occasion, but wonky controller mapping, horrible sound issues and other problems have folks calling it the worst PC port of the year.

I was so happy about the surprise(ish) announcement made over the weekend about the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance returning to PC, upscaled and tweaked, and its sequel arriving on the platform for the first time. As soon as they were available I downloaded them on Steam, plugged in my controller and tried to play.


Pressing A does not work. I tried other buttons. Okay, X was A. Menu and View are the shoulder buttons. The entire controller layout is screwed, and there is no way to remap it. Looking through the Steam forums I saw a ton of other people having the same issue. Others say the controller is working fine.


A helpful Steam user named SageX85 offers an explanation of what is happening with controllers.

Since the first release, the way the xinput api was implemented was broken. Only the WIRED 360 controller worked as it should. Third party controllers like the logitech ones and the wireless 360 controller with adapter suffered wrong button mapping.

Apparently the game read something else beside the api, something like the name of the device or the hardware id. If it is not correctly recognized as an XInput controller, it falls back to DirectInput, and here is where the problem shows. For the DirectInput, the layout the developers used is different than the common DirectInput layout of Xinput controllers.

Long story short, I can’t play this with the controller situated the way it is, and I’ve no way of making it work. I’ve tried an Xbox One controller wired to the PC and two different third-party controllers. I can use keyboard and mouse well enough, though it’s not ideal.

Fine, I’ll wait for a fix or something. Let’s try Ultimate Alliance 2. Same controller issue, which is bad, but the audio is even worse. Constant crackling makes the game pretty much unplayable with the sound on. Give it a listen:

Fuck that.

I don’t know what happened here. It feels as if these two games were tossed up on Steam at a premium price with little or no testing. Adding insult to injury, the downloadable characters included in the Xbox 360 (note: I had originally accidentally written Xbox One here) editions of the game aren’t included in the release, making it far less than the definitive version Marvel announced over the weekend.


I’ve reached out to publisher Activision to see if fixes are in the works. All I can say for now is it’s a good day to have a refund option.

Update 7/30/2016 11 AM: Marvel Games creative director Bill Rosemann says fixes and DLC are on the way.