Speaking of pure unadulterated drivel, Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is set for release Tuesday. Looking to cash in on the blockbuster franchise of the decade, the latest game by Ubisoft Quebec seems to be nothing more than utterly hopeless garbage that maligns the name of Earth’s coolest superhero team (sorry, Justice League; get a movie out first). Considering the track record of the developer and the very scant information the company was willing to disclose, this is a game that you can probably pass by without missing out on anything.
Ubisoft Quebec, not to be confused with the fantastic games over at Ubisoft Montreal, is a branch that is akin to its well-intentioned cousin. Whereas the Montreal studio develops Prince of Persia, Quebec’s studio simply copies it for other platforms in unimpressive fashion. Whereas the better studio is tasked with repeatedly churning out game of the year candidates through the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the hapless monkey is tasked with simply porting smaller games to weaker consoles, and they still mess up. Therefore, if big brother Ubisoft is asking the Quebec studio to make this game without any supervision, of what quality are they really expecting it to be?
The answer of course, is of terrible quality. Had the publisher shown even the most minuscule amount of faith in their lesser developer, they may have actually publicized the technicalities of the game. The only thing being hyped about the product is its admittedly decent roster. With stars such as all the Avengers, Spider-Man, a few X-Men and a Fantastic Four character, Ubisoft thinks they can just fool fans into purchasing the game. In fact, they just might have fooled this fan, had I not actually looked up a video of the game.
In this video, it is evident that the game is of exceedingly low quality. The graphics are dated to the point that the game actually looks like a Playstation 2 or original Xbox product, while the moves, special effects and sounds are beyond generic. It is as if the company was not even interested in delivering a genuine experience because had they been, they might have actually made it so that Magneto used magnetism, not lasers.
Of course, you can’t entirely blame the developer. First of all, by making a game operate on motion controls via the Kinect on Xbox 360 or the motion controllers and tablet on Wii, the publisher already condemned the developer to mediocrity. Motion controls, regardless of console, simply aren’t fleshed out enough this generation to have response times quick enough for a proper fighting game. Here, by wildly flailing your arms, it is expected that you will be able to do the move you want. And while that actually resembles the fighting I do in real life, I want to look cool while doing it in a game.
Plus, whereas competitive fighting games are fought from a 90 degree perspective, motion games are played with a “behind the back” viewpoint, something that was decisively proven useless for the genre in Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Of course, that game still goes for over a clean buck on Amazon, so you can understand why Ubisoft copied it. Sure, their product looks so rushed that it seems to have been developed faster than you can say “greedy,” but that’s an argument for my liberal and conservative friends to figure out.
I would have liked a good Avengers game; I really would have. Marvel has historically done well in the videogame field but their products always lacked that something special that is in "game of the year" candidates: true, manic fun. The fact that developers are still working with motion controls (as if simply having them is good enough) is a shame. If placing such gimmicks in a game means that the actual graphics and gameplay are overlooked, I would be just fine sitting on a couch like a fat guy playing videogames, eating chips out of a bag on his chest. Actually, that sounds like a fantastic Friday evening. And remember, ladies; I’m available.