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Avengers Initiative Review: Mildly Entertaining, but Far from Original

You have to think that for the people at Marvel, one of the biggest challenges they face is figuring out how to keep things fresh when dealing with a character like the Hulk, who first appeared in a comic book back in 1962. Sometimes, Marvel goes all out and creates big time movies like the most recent ones starring Edward Norton or Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Other times—as we see in this first installment of Avengers Initiative—they “borrow” heavily from one particularly successful app but swap in their own superhero, and then call it a day…

But before I get too harsh, let’s take a step back. Not everything about Avengers Initiative is a total flop—unfortunately, really the only parts that work are the ones directly ripped from the game’s role model, Infinity Blade… It all starts when a bunch of baddies escape from a S.H.I.E.L.D facility called The Vault that’s located in the Rocky Mountains. We’re talking about some of the most exotic enemies like Wendigo, Abomination, The Kronan, and The Skrulls. The only course of action for Nick Fury is to send the Hulk down in hopes that he can restore order… What follows is a series of one-on-one fights that will have Hulk progressing  through minor villains until he reaches the bosses.

Everything here from the pacing to the combat to the upgrade system is Infinity Blade with a Marvel mask. And I don’t make that comparison out of laziness, but because it’s just so applicable apart from a few minor tweaks… Once you’re dropped into the game environment and get done scrolling around and picking up any purple ISO-8 crystals that are in sight, you’ll eventually tap an enemy and get thrust into your first fight. Slowly, the game introduces new combat commands until you’re dodging, blocking, attacking, and deflecting like there’s no tomorrow. It would all be great fun all the way through, except that we’ve done this before, so the impact of Avengers Initiative takes a serious hit.

Even though Marvel hardly delivers anything new in terms of gameplay, they did manage to nail the one thing that is completely unique to Avengers Initiative, and that’s the visuals… Infinity Blade pretty much set the bar for character models and animations of this sort, and The Hulk lives up to expectations without surpassing them. In other words, Avengers Initiative looks pretty enough to stand alongside Infinity Blade for the time being, but once Dungeons is released that statement might need revisited.

If Avengers Initiative existed in a vacuum, we’d most likely being giving it high praise, but the very fact that half of this review was spent comparing it to Infinity Blade should point out the obvious—it borrows far too heavily from a game that doesn’t need any imitators… Marvel is working with characters that have managed to entertain us for decades, but a good way to screw that up might be to deliver copycat gameplay such as this. Hopefully Marvel is able to mix things up in the coming installments of Avengers Initiative, because only the most die hard of fans will be satisfied with a game that looks great, but offers zero innovation.

Our Score: 3 Out of 5

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