Every time you walk into a comic book store nowadays, it seems there is some sort of new major event going on, especially with Marvel. This constant bombardment of universe changing stories makes it so that mighty Marvelites barely get a chance to breathe when it comes to keeping up with the flood of fiction usually before them. Fear Itself, World War Hulk, House of M, Dark Reign, Avengers vs X-Men, Civil War, Chaos War, Schism, and Spider-Island, are just some, not even close to all, of what has happened in the past few years of Marvel. So when we first heard we were getting a Marvel Avengers Kinect game based off of Secret Invasion, most of us were shaking our heads at the idea since in modern comic terms, this four-year old story arc was already considered ancient in the mythos of Earth-616 and is not nearly as beloved as some other stories.
The basic premise of Secret Invasion was that the shape-shifting Skurllls had found a way to transform themselves to resemble many of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes without being detected and then inserted themselves as sleeper agents amongst the super hero populous. Once it was revealed with Skrull-Electra’s death, the event had everyone guessing as to whom they could trust and just where all the original heroes had gone. And so the idea of jumping into the shoes of everyone’s favorite heroes to bash those green-skinned, three-chinned, would be conquerors led to Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth.
The game has you play as 20 different characters from the Marvel Universe and take on both regular and Skrull versions of many of these heroes and villains in a fighting game style as you loosely follow the events of Secret Invasion. From the infiltration of the Baxter Building where the Fantastic Four make their home to the attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, you must fend off dozens of foes overall as each level has several conflicts associated with it.
Each round of fighting features a pair of heroes or villains on each side, but should one character’s lifebar be depleted, the match is over. In terms of the motions you must perform, anyone who played Ubisoft’s previous Kinect hero game, PowerUp Heroes, should be familiar with the actions as you kick, punch, and swing your arms around to mimic moves that the actual Marvel characters might do. From clasping your fists together and swinging upward for a massive Hulk uppercut to opening your arms up wide for an Iron Man Repulsor Beam, the game does a very good job of recognizing your movements and what exactly you want to do with each character. To immerse you in the experience even more, there are even voice commands where if you scream certain phrases during Ultra Attacks, like ‘HULK SMASH’, your moves are even more powerful and as cheesy as you may sound, the gimmick is surprisingly fun.
As tight handling as the game may be for a motion game though, its core mechanics are overly simple and the motions become repetitive and boring as you quickly realize just how many battles you have to work your way through in order to beat the game’s campaign mode. The story adaptation also clearly needed more work than it got and if you are a diehard fan of the comics, you won’t appreciate the characters and scenarios that were randomly added to try to force some longevity into this title that even then should really only require a few hours to beat.
Despite its fatal flaw of being as repetitive as every other Kinect game out there though, Marvel Avengrs: Battle for Earth actually has a lot more polish than you might expect from a game of this nature and is a great way to get your butt out of your chair to pummel some of your all-time favorite comic book characters. Along with some tight controls, there is a versus and co-op feature that allows you to play with or against your friends and could prove to be a great way to kill a rainy day should your living room have the space for it. The look and sound of the game also helps give the game an authentic comic book feel. All told, if you’re a Marvel fan really looking to get into the shoes of one of your favorite characters, there are worst things you can do than play Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth.
SUMMARY: As usual, the gimmicks quickly become evident and tiresome, especially for folks familiar with the comic arc this game’s story is based off of. However, there is some surprising polish here and you might have more fun with it than you’d expect as it is one of the few Kinect games where the controls actually work.
- THE GOOD: Great look and sound to the game that mimics the comics well
- THE BAD: Simple game play that can become boring quickly
- THE UGLY: Skrulls and their triple chins
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is available currently for Xbox 360 and will later be available on Wii U. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.