Tag Archive: hawkeye


Dr. Doomed from the start

Right next to having superpowers of their own and fighting alongside their favorite characters, the next best thing for most comic-book fans would be actually assuming the role of their most beloved superheroes. Personally, I’d probably like to be one of the X-Men. Wolverine, Iceman, or Colossus, if possible—I’m not picky.

The guys and gals at Gazillion Entertainment zero in on this concept with their free-to-play PC game, Marvel Heroes. Driven by Diablo-style action-RPG mechanics, the game sees players starting off by choosing one of five heroes who most comic fans would consider B-list: Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, and the Thing. By beating the game—or spending some cold, hard cash—you can unlock other heroes or purchase a variety of costumes for these characters.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me and get tempted into picking up the ’90s X-Men cartoon version of Cyclops or Wolverine after a few story chapters, you’ll soon realize that the starter characters represent core classes—and no matter what hero you choose, the powersets are basically the same, just with different animations.

Considering the differences between the heroes in the Marvel universe, this was frustrating as a fan. After all, I was willing to shell out the cash—only to find out there’s no need beyond cosmetic preferences. To add insult to injury, each purchased character starts at level 1, so if you want to immediately use them, the game recommends that you start the entire adventure over again, no matter what point you’re currently at.

A couple of saving graces here, however, are the story and comic-book-still cutscenes. Written by Marvel super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis, the tale incorporates some of Marvel’s most famous story arcs from all their major comic lines into one tidy package. The basics, though, boil down to this: Dr. Doom has a Cosmic Cube, and he feels like messing with reality, because that’s what megalomaniacal bad guys do. I’ve also got to compliment the top-notch voice acting in the cutscenes, including instantly recognizable pros like Nolan North as Deadpool, Steve Blum as Wolverine, and Keith David as Nick Fury.

After choosing your characters, it’s time to actually play the game. And by the time I got a third of the way through the campaign, I’d already grown bored. Instead of offering any kind of variety or difficulty, the game simply threw more and more enemies at me—or gave them an insane amount of health—in the hopes of slowing me down. But it’s not like I was actually doing anything. I played as Hawkeye for most of the game after wasting my money, so all I had to do was get a decent distance away, hold the Shift key in order to ground my hero, and then hold another button to attack. Sometimes two. If I played as the Hulk or Thing, the only thing that changed was my distance relative to the target. The enemy spawn times are also horribly balanced, and I’d regularly clear an area of Hand ninjas or HYDRA goons, only to have them reappear nanoseconds later.

One decent aspect of the gameplay, however, comes in the dungeons. If you turn on auto-grouping, you can enter any dungeon without the fear of being completely overwhelmed. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, when you enter a dungeon around the same time as other players, you can be automatically placed on a team with them. Of course, this can lead to the confusing dilemma of having six Hawkeyes on the same team (which happened to me a lot) and getting your particular avatar lost in the chaos, but if you’re a more introverted gamer, you don’t have to worry about pulling up an awkward chat window, begging for assistance, and dealing with complete strangers.

Normally, this is about where I’d wrap up my review, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the most disappointing aspect of my time playing Marvel Heroes: the technical side. I purposely waited as long as I did to put up my review because I was waiting to see how the game performed after some patches. While the game has seen several small patches and one major fix in the two weeks since the game went live, I’m still experiencing many gameplay-balance problems, as well as numerous technical issues.

Every 20 to 30 minutes, my game crashes or freezes for no apparent reason, and while I’ve reported this error on the technical forums, it remains unfixed after performing the recommended actions from the support staff. I’ve made sure my drivers are up to date, I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the game launcher, and I’ve even turned down the specs to the lowest possible setting (my PC isn’t the highest-end gaming rig, but it should handle the minimum requirements no problem).

This left the support staff confounded—and me increasingly frustrated. So, I want to warn people before they play Marvel Heroes: In my experience, it just doesn’t work as well as it should. And after perusing the forums, I found that the error I encountered is actually pretty common. Then again, you get what you pay for—and the core of the game is free, after all.

So, if the game works for you perfectly, that’s great, but at the end of the day, fewer crashes still won’t make Marvel Heroes the most worthwhile of experiences unless you fall in love with its price tag.

Developer: Gazillion Entertainment • Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 06.04.13
4.0
While Marvel Heroes does some nice things, the Marvel license isn’t enough to cover up glaring technical and design flaws. As much as I wanted to like this game, I can’t recommend something that is, at its core, broken. In the end, you get what you pay for (or less, if you actually invested in this).
The Good Story that expertly reimagines some of Marvel’s greatest moments.
The Bad Constant crashing and glitches; uninspired gameplay.
The Ugly Expecting to get something for nothing—and then being surprised when what you get just isn’t that good.
Marvel Heroes is a PC exclusive. 

Gimmicks Assemble!

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

SCORE: 7.0

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.    

A bit late this week. Clearly must still be recovering from the trip to Gamescom. Either way, after catching up from the missed week before, we ready for another edition of the Pullbox!

Marvel – Secret Avengers #30 – Many of the villains of the Marvel Universe start to get wise to Venom’s act and soon what seemed like an easy snatch ‘n’ grab turns into all out mayhem! And with it, Taskmaster bolts for Max Fury with the Third Crown. Lucky for them, it seems the completed Crown will not work on the head of a Life Model Decoy. That doesn’t mean the Secret Avengers are out of the woods yet though…

Tons of action, great banter between Venom and Taskmaster and later Hawkeye and Vengeance, and a cliffhanger that sets up this story arc possibly coming to an end soon. If it doesn’t end soon, you can expect a lot more conflict and action in the coming issues as it looks like some of the Secret Avengers are falling under the power of the crown. And it’s interesting how once again, being just a robot, how Max Fury is left all alone. If you haven’t been reading Secret Avengers, now is not the time to jump in, with such a convoluted story line, but if you have, keep going!

Marvel – Astonishing X-Men #53 – After being blown up at Northstar’s wedding, Wolverine starts to put himself back together and Beast helps this small team of X-Men figure out who has Karma, who put her up to this, and just what they’re going to do about it. And Northstar is none too happy about having his wedding crashed by exploding nanobots.

I think the best part of this comic was that we are really starting to see how far Iceman’s powers go. For a long time he was considered an Omega level mutant who was only held back by his own inhibitions and lack of imagination. In this book, as we have in a lot of other recent X-Men stories with Iceman, we see just how far he is able to push himself as he’s split up his consciousness, pulled himself back together from almost nothingness, and in this issue created an absolute monstrous ice creature. The rest of the issue though was rather lackluster, but hints at something larger as it looks like yet another new X-Men villain is in the business of existing simply to make their lives miserable and prove they are not as special as they think.

DC – Batman Incorporated #3 – In order to see just how far Leviathan has permeated the power structure of Gotham, Batman dusts off an old disguise, fan-favorite Matches Malone, to see if he can’t stir up some trouble in Gotham’s underbelly and get a few snitches to point him in the right direction. Unknown to him though, the snitches might be in Leviathan’s pocket, too.

Bringing this long-time alias back to life, after the real Matches Malone was killed by the Ventriloquist some time ago, and having Malone’s new crew being other members of Batman, Inc. was just a stroke of genius by Morrison. And he needed it considering how much momentum this book lost in the launch of the New 52. Finally though it seems to be back on track. And the idea of Robin having his own second identity now, although a bit too early in his life for my liking, was a nice touch as now everyone who has ever worn the yellow cape has matured into something more. And keeping with the red theme that now permeates Nightwing’s costume to match Red Hood and Red Robin, Damian decided to do the same as his new moniker is Redbird. What this means in the future, we will have to wait and see, but at the very least after ‘Matches’ stumbled into a Leviathan trap, I think he’ll be happy to have Redbird around next issue. 

DC – Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 – After finally realizing who has been pulling the strings of members of each lantern corps, Kyle and the others must band together to stop Invictus once and for all before he brings chaos to every star system in his path. But will the secret that Sayd has kept for so long also drive this group apart once their mission is accomplished?

Honestly, for what was supposed to be an epic final battle with Invictus, this issue felt flat in a lot of ways and was more about the upcoming drama within the Green Lantern Corps as Invictus folded like a house of cards after the Lanterns figured out what his power source was. It was also mostly about how no one in this New Guardians Group could trust one another, even after all they had been through and Kyle is left there twiddling his thumbs. The only interesting thing this issue brings up is the corruptions amongst the Guardians and how Kyle will fit into that picture as the fabled ‘Third Army’ that has been built up over the last few months will finally come to fruition in the next couple of issues. 

IDW – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13 – The Turtles are still rattled after nearly losing Splinter to the hands of the Shredder and even Splinter himself isn’t the same. But when Casey Jones stumbles into the sewers, beaten and bloodied once again by his father, Raphael has enough and goes out to wreak vengeance on the old drunk. Splinter feels this is a perfect time to teach his son a lesson of ninjitsu though. Meanwhile, the Shredder realizes that Karai is not fit to serve him as his second-in-command, even though we find out that she was the one who resurrected Shredder, her grandfather. We also see Krang finally show off his true form, that of a living brain!

Even though Shredder and Krang were two short asides for the main part of this story, this is obviously setting up the team-up that fans of the 80s cartoon have been waiting for. Shredder needs a new second-in-command, Krang needs someone more competent than Baxter Stockman. The ending to this book was shocking though and makes me wonder just how dark Kevin Eastman will take his original characters in the next issue as Splinter is definitely different after his encounter after his old nemesis. If you haven’t been getting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles yet, now is a great time to get on board as it looks like business is about to pick up!

New Avengers #12 Review

Originally Published: May 11, 2011, on Comicvine.com

Mockingbird continues to fight for her life in an operating room while a flashback of Nick Fury’s first Avengers in 1959 continues where they are in the process of hunting down the Red Skull.

The Good

The different art styles between Deodato and Chaykin really do a nice job of making a pointed difference between the two time periods this book takes place in, especially since this is the fourth issue in a row where they’ve been going back and forth with these flashbacks to Fury’s 1959 Avengers.

It was also great to see Hawkeye get mad again. When Hawkeye gets mad and he rushes headlong into a conflict, you tend to get some great action sequences and that has me looking forward to some issues down the road.

The Bad

The worst part about this issue is that we are now four issues in and we still haven’t the slightest idea what the point of these Nick Fury flashbacks are, especially since he doesn’t have anything to do right now with the current New Avengers.

On top of this, the flashbacks comprise most of the book, with only seven pages taking place in current times, two of those have Mockingbird on an emergency surgery table and Hawkeye vowing vengeance. At this point, if the Nick Fury flashbacks do not have some earth shattering reveal that saves Mockingbird when all is said and done, this could be the most drawn out waste of time way to kill a character and could be the most pointless story arc I’ve read in quite some time.

Then combine all this with the fact that we’ve seen this flashback story happen before a million times, just not with these characters. How many times has Captain America, Nick Fury, or some other patriot gone after the Red Skull for it simply to be a clone, a body double, or a robot? It’s not special now that Sabretooth has joined that crowd of not finding the real Skull.

The Verdict

I was really excited at first bouncing back and forth between flashbacks of Fury’s 1959 Avengers and the current New Avengers, especially when Mockingbird got shot. Lots of action coupled with a plot that was clearly laying the groundwork for something big for these characters. Four issues into this though and things have come to a grinding, mind-numbing halt and whatever originality we were hoping for seems to be getting thrown out the window.

At this point we’ve seen all the double crosses and triple crosses and the Red Skull Herrings and for it to drag on over four issues is becoming borderline tortuous and definitely tedious. If things don’t come to a head in the next issue with something unexpected, there is a good chance I’m kicking this from my pull box. Only pick up this issue of New Avengers if you have been reading it to this point, otherwise steer clear.

1.5/5 Stars