Today I pretended I was Iron Man and also got a little bit of a work out.
The Avengers: Battle for Earth is one of the newer games to make it into my backlog, and as anyone with a backlog will tell you, not all games spend as much time there. Still sort of hopped up on The Avengers hype from the film, I jumped ahead a little and ripped the shrink wrap early on this one.
Serving as a sort of spiritual sequel to Ubisofts Power-Up Heroes, The Avengers: Battle for Earth is best described as Street Fighter meets Kinect controls. Ultimately the game is an arcade fighter where you play a series of two vs. two matches and must K.O your opponents twice to win a match. Only, instead of button mashing, Battle for Earth has you limb flailing. A term I am copyrighting now on the assumption games of this type will continue to find an audience.
There is a very basic story in Battle for Earth, much like most arcade fighters. The story involves the Skrull invasion of Earth, Secret Invasion for you comic book fans,, including a whole bunch of Skrull imitations of Earth’s mightiest heroes. The Avengers fight these alien imposters through five different locations including NYC, The Savage Land, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and more. At each location The Avengers must fight a series of battles to defeat the Skrull and of course save Earth. The locations can be played in any order, with the exception of the fact that each location has a second set of levels that can only be played once the first set is finished on each stage. A short cinematic (visuals from the comics with narration really) plays the first time you enter each stage, but other than that nothing more than a short bit of dialogue about stopping the Skrull is used to further the story. Each level of the different stages involves predetermined characters as well.
Gameplay consist of a few super moves and a few basic moves. Each character has three super movies, performed by making a certain motion that essentially has two parts. For example. Thor has a move that basically mimics the motion of lifting your right hand up as if you were holding his hammer and then swinging it downward. The faster you complete the 2nd part of each move the bigger bonus you get. While each character has “different” attacks, the reality is that they are mostly the same, but with different motions to perform. Certain motions seem to register with the Kinect better, and of course individuals may find certain actions easier to memorize or perform; outside of that it, technically, doesn’t matter which character you are playing. Chaining multiple moves together (performing the motions in rapid succession) gives bonuses, but requires essentially memorizing the different moves for that character.
There are basic attack moves as well, such as punch and kick. Your kick, performed as a high knee kick, can be charged to a Super Kick. Super Kicks, when landed, send your opponent into the air (and you with them) and enters you into a fight sequence where you can repeatedly punch a character for extra damage. Kicks are also used to block certain types of attacks. Also charging at any given time is the blocker and super attack move. Both performed by jumping. Blocker does cause your opponent damage but mostly works to interrupt a combo or attack. The super attack involves saying the attack name for a bonus, and then “punching” as many times as you could for a bombardment attack. Additionally, you can dodge attacks by leaning left or right. Lastly, raising your left arm (as if asking a question) tags in the other hero on your team to continue the fight.
So much of the game depends on successfully landing each character’s three special attacks, which in turn really depends on your ability to memorize and quickly perform them. Rarely did it feel like I had much time to react to the opponent, instead the game seemed far more about overwhelming them into submission first. The result is somewhat tedious, but entertaining and can certainly make you break a sweat if you either play long enough or are facing tough enough enemies.
The lack of character selection for the levels makes the game harder than it would be though. Some characters you just won’t play well as (for the reasons I mentioned before). So the inability to select your characters can lead to levels that aren’t marked as that difficult but in fact really are. Ice Man in particular was doom for me in most cases. This is especially true for a few characters (Hawkeye) who’s moves aren’t as easy to interpret in a rush.
The real downside to Battle For Earth though is that it starts to wear thing pretty quickly. Despite an impressive cast of characters (possibly the biggest Marvel cast outside of Ultimate Alliance in a video game), the lack of locations, variety in the characters themselves and the fact that the game may actually have to many levels and starts to drag on certainly takes away some points from this one. It is a bit light on content, though what is there isn’t half bad.
The real selling point for Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth would be the moderate work out you get from playing the game that is a bit more entertaining than many of the Kinect games I’ve encountered so far. The pace of the game is the main reason why. You aren’t just limb flailing, once you get the hang of it you are doing it quickly and rhythmically. I’d be far more inclined to keep Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth around as a modest exercise game than a fighting game; if only it worked with KinectFit.
Tomorrow I defend the eggs in Angry Birds Trilogy.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 2.5 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 435/1000
Price Bought at: $9.99
Current Price: $44.29 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $19.99 just feels right for this one.
Why you should buy it: Fun way to exercise a bit. Dust off that Kinect.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Light on actual content yet still drags on.