Published on August 15th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Hands-on with Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth UPDATE
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec City Studio
Release Date: Fall 2012
Platform: Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii U (TBA)
A Marvel themed Kinect fighter? The concept isn’t nearly as clumsy as it sounds and works out surprisingly well.
A few days ago we were able to get our hands, or I should say bodies, on the Kinect fighter. The preview event was held right before Ubisoft sets its sights on Germany for the Gamescom event. Jessica Crockett, who is the product manager for Ubisoft’s Quebec City Studio, led the way through the brawler. There were various other titles shown there, and I wanted to see what was so bad about the Marvel title that people seemed to be avoiding it.
Some gamers have brushed off the motion centric platform from Microsoft, not believing that a good game can be made having to use your body as the controller. After playing through Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, it already is showing signs of turning that idea on its head.
The storyline for the title takes place during Secret Invasion comic arc. After looking for clarification on the titles background, more specifically which integration from the comics, our best guess is that it takes place in the most recent reprisal of the Avengers during this invasion. This story itself brings together many characters from the Marvel universe, allowing them to fight side-by-side. Of course, this effort is to thwart evil and stop anyone who wants to put the on New York City.
Although we were only able to play the training scenario and part of the Versus mode, the game is already setting up to bring tons of content with it. There are over 20 levels in the game–boss battles and downloadable content (DLC) is already in the works. Much like other fighting games, the DLC will launch with the title and bring additional costumes with it. This is beside the nearly 20 characters that are playable in the game.
Similar to other tag-like Marvel fighting games out there, there are two selectable characters that you can swap and choose from while in play. During the demo I started out with Spider-Man and then the Hulk. It was fun shooting web blobs at an enemy entangling them for a brief moment while deciding which other moves to combo. Later, Iron Man and the Hulk proved to be a vicious combo. Best believe it was possible to shoot beams from your palms. Swapping out characters is done by raising your left arm straight up and brings reserve character to fly in for the assist. Both can be swapped in and out during a round.
The motion controls are surprisingly responsive. Even later on when we attempted the two person split screen, it never felt like gestures were being frustratingly repeated out of not doing the correct move the first time.
Characters have a couple moves to choose from. These moves are located in the bottom right corner of the screen. Some have more than just one gesture to complete the move, often enacting another sequence once the initial one is made. For example, the Hulk has a two-fisted wind up and swing that pummels and launches opponents in the air. This is done by clasping your hands together and then dropping them down to your side. Once this starts the sequence you must now bring them upwards to deliver some knockaround. Some moves are characters specific and others are similar for each.
The punching motion is done for each player, but does more than just punch. In the case of the Hulk he grips chunks of pavement from the ground and shovels them one after another. This is a great precursor to the move where you reach your arms back as if you were grabbing a huge chunk of pummel, and follow it by bringing them forward to deliver a giant slab of asphalt at your opponent. Characters like Iron Man fire off beams consecutively and can be used before deciding on your next attack.
There are also Ultra moves that can be executed after building up consecutive hits and attacks. Jumping activates this Ultra move and is followed by various other prompts to keep the action moving. Players can also dodge strikes and projectiles by moving side-to-side with your body, but jumping can also be used as a breaker. During a Versus match Ultra moves are executed in a single view rather than the split screen. So, if your opponent catches you in a whirlwind of paint, you’ve got nothing else to do than watch while they take you down.
Although most Kinect titles might have you bouncing around your living room like a goober, it’s not the case with Avengers: Battle for Earth. Both Jessica and I played side-by-side in the Versus mode without clashing limbs or body parts. The final product will also feature an online multiplayer mode. If you can’t wait until the game releases, Jessica also confirmed that we’d be seeing a demo by the end of September. The Wii U version of the game will also feature motion controls, both done on the Wii U Gamepad and with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo.
The game is actually coming together fairly well. I couldn’t believe the responsiveness during battles, only faltering a few times due to the people continuously walking around during play. I would have liked to see the punch a bit different for each character, which we could see tweaked by the final product.
Even though the Wii U does not have a clearly defined release date, Jessica did however let us know that we can expect this title sometime around November. It was also great to see that the Nintendo Wii U will be supporting both the Gamepad and remote nunchuk combo for these.
UPDATE: Here are some new images straight out of Gamescom 2012
UPDATE: It has been confirmed that the game is also running on the gamebryo engine and will occur during the events of the 2008 comic book release.