Posted by Benjamin Webb on Sep 5, 2012

The Avengers Initiative Preview

Avengers Assemble! The Avengers Initiative is the latest and upcoming game from Marvel which will be appearing on mobile gaming platforms Android and iOS. The game is an action game based around swipe based movement to attack and defeat foes.

Us here at Capsule Computers were invited down to the Sydney Office for Disney Mobile, who are looking after the title on behalf of Marvel and Wideload, who are the game’s developers. At this event, we were given some hands-on time with the game, as well as the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with the developers. It was a roundtable set up with us and a few other gaming publications present at the table, while we were video conferencing to the Marvel Studios over in the US.

What was interesting about this title is that the game was shown to be available for both the Apple iOS and the Android mobile phone market. This means that regardless of the platform that you own, you will likely be getting a similar experience from the game. The developers did mention a few enhancements for devices with nVidia Tegra chips, but they’re not really anything that will get your panties in know should you not have one.

The games series starts with the Hulk character from the Avengers universe. According to the developers, The Avengers Initiative is going to run across several games, with each starring a different Avenger in each. The gameplay is going to be similar across each game, from what I can tell anyway.

In this particular game, we took Hulk out for a session of beating up enemies. This was achieved through making various swipes across the screen in conjunction with a particular move. For instance if I wanted to dodge, I would swipe the screen differently to how I would if I wanted to attack. What’s interesting about the combat system though, was that you are able to actually combine attacks to create some rather devastating combos. These were rather effective against enemies, making the strongest of enemies go down rather quickly.

What was kind of worrisome about the game was that really wasn’t much freedom of choice – or at least in the sections that we could play. It was pretty much just the player touching a point on the screen for The Hulk to move to and then that would usually initiate some kind of battle. While the battles are fun, I’m hoping that there is a larger emphasis on exploration in the full release. Otherwise the only reason that the minimum amounts of walking could have been implemented for was to add a few minutes to the games playtime.

Everytime you win a battle, you get some EXP and the like, much like in an RPG game. These can be used to level up and purchase upgrades for your character. What’s actually really interesting here is that a lot of the customisation takes its inspiration from the Marvel Comic universe. For instance, you’ll be able to take various costumes from the Marvel universe and mix them up on your character to make the kind of character that matches your playstyle. Even better is that you can take various pieces from different costumes to mix and match them. So you could end up with a Hulk character wearing clothes from a bunch of different stories in his own universe.

Something that I though was an interesting concept was that this game – The Avengers Initiative – can be linked to the Marvel XP service. What this will allow you to do is to link your Avengers Alliance Facebook profile with your Avengers initiative game and collect more resources to make yourself even more powerful. So those players who have been playing Avengers Alliance already, should start thinking ahead now as to whether or not they want to spend all of their resources or to save some for this upcoming release.

As you may already be aware, the Marvel Avengers are made up of more than one character. What’s really good about this The Avengers Initiative game is that we will probably be able to play as our favourite Avengers at some point. At the moment, there are four games planned – with The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and one more that I don’t have covered on my notes for some reason – and the developers are really hoping to have all four of them out at the same time. So if you like, instead of buying all of the games at a massive price, you could just buy the characters you want to play as within the Initiative universe and then move onto the others should you want to.

From our chat with the developers, we have learned a few things behind and inside the games. For instance, we know that the Marvel Universe is full of interesting characters that often interact with one and another – so this obviously means that there will be cameo appearances from other characters within the Marvel Universe itself. Some of these may be other Avengers, some of them may not be.

What’s also interesting is that this game isn’t taking place in the existing gaming universe, Marvel movie universe or the comic-book universe. Instead it will be set in the Marvel XP Universe, which means that there will be a larger focus on narrative and additional content without worrying about conflicts with the canon of the other forms of storytelling.

Overall it looks like the developers over at wideload and the Marvel gaming division are really aiming for a true to character experience in their own version of the Marvel universe. The XP universe is already being pounded by the Marvel Avengers Alliance and players will likely notice similarities in story elements between that title and The Avengers initiative. The title was incredibly fun to play, and outside of one primary concern, looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. Fans of the Marvel universe and of having fun will probably want to pick this up when it releases incredibly soon.

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