Tag Archive: thor

I got to guest host on Nerd Alert this week with Kim Horcher. We talked about myriad topics, starting with a new Avengers: Infinity War tease!

Make Mine Marvel

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t want to be a superhero. Whether it was wielding the Hulk’s impossible strength, firing lasers from my eyes like Cyclops, or cutting things to ribbons with Wolverine’s claws, superpowers have always been at the forefront of my imagination. So, I’ll admit that I relished being able to go hands-on with Gazillion Entertainment’s upcoming free-to-play MMORPG Marvel Heroes.

The story starts off with vintage Marvel bad guy Dr. Doom getting his hands on a Cosmic Cube—and the chaos he intends to bring down upon the citizenry of the world will be significant. Therefore, Marvel’s mightiest heroes from across all major lines must come together to root out Doom and his allies. Being as obsessed with comics as I am, this story may look like it’s been done before—on the surface, anyway. But the game’s writer, Brian Michael Bendis (best known for his long run on The Avengers), is clear that it’s difficult to write for a game like this.

“The challenge was to come up with a story that hits as much architecture and landscape in the Marvel Universe as possible without it feeling too much like a knee-jerk thing,” he says. “What’s interesting about the Marvel Universe is that there are just as many interesting things going on at the street level—let’s say the Daredevil level, the Spider-Man level—as there are at the cosmic level, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Silver Surfer, the Galactus level. The cool thing—and the interesting idea for us—was to actually start the story at the ground level and kind of roll like a snowball downhill. As you discover more and more about the actual story and play through the game, you get to travel up toward the cosmic level of the Marvel universe, all the while not getting newcomers lost or confused. I looked at it like this grand opportunity to create almost like a Marvel event comic unlike anything you’d actually seen in publishing. And at the same time, create like a Marvel lifestyle product, if that makes sense. Then, there are some fans who live and breathe these characters—and are going to live and breathe this game. This is going to be, if done well, the next step of the worldwide community of comic-book fans and Marvel fans and just fans of games. To create something that really lives and breathes like the Marvel Universe for them all to live in is a real treat—and a real challenge.”

If you should live and breathe these characters, as Mr. Bendis so aptly puts it, then you’ll probably be as excited as I was to see what he was talking about. I was fortunate enough to play through three of the story’s dozen chapters; in that time, I went from Mutant Town in New York City to the Kingpin’s penthouse to the Morlock sewers to the Savage Land—hopping through some of Marvel’s most iconic locations in a way that makes sense to the story. I also took on iconic baddies like Sentinels, Mutates, A.I.M., and the Purifiers, not to mention individual supervillains like Green Goblin, Tombstone, Sauron, Bullseye, and Lady Deathstrike.

But including characters that we expect to see in a game like this isn’t going to be enough—the gameplay needs to be there, too. Fortunately, Gazillion president and COO David Brevik has a bit of experience in making games like this really shine (he created Diablo I and II, if you didn’t recognize the name).

Steering away from fully customizable avatars, Marvel Heroes wants to make you feel like those great characters we all grew up loving, so you only play as established characters from the Marvel Universe. If you want to smash with the Hulk, you can do it. If Ms. Marvel is more your thing, then no one will stop you. Or maybe purple really does it for you, so Hawkeye’s your man. If they’re a hero in the Marvel Universe, you can unlock them and play with them at some point. And if you don’t like their standard look, you’ve got a bevy of alternate costumes you can unlock—like, if you’d rather your Captain America have that 1940s helmet instead of his modern mask.

And playing with these characters feels as great as you’d expect. Setting hotkeys for special powers or just left- and right-clicking makes it so you can fire a variety of beams with Cyclops or set the world on fire however you wish with the Human Torch. It couldn’t be easier to start mowing down Mole People or putting the screws to Pyro than that.

As Brevik explains, though, you can’t just go it alone if you really want to get through the story and the inevitable expansions down the road. At times, you’ll have to team up, and Gazillion’s trying some different ways to make some of those feel more spur-of-the-moment than camping out in front of a dungeon entrance looking for help.

“We had an idea about the way that we’d like to get invites going and get people together,” he says. “We have events that are more traditional encounters, making sure that there are opportunities for people to socially get together and group up. You hang out in town, and people are like, ‘I need help with the Kingpin fight!’ or ‘Oh, I’m on that, too,’ and group up and go to this thing together. That’s something we wanted from the very beginning as part of the design. Then, we have optional grouping, which is this loose grouping out in the public combat zones. Green Goblin suddenly pops up, and then everybody can get together dynamically and work together, and everybody gets rewarded. So, there isn’t an official formalization of the grouping there. There’ll be other ways to group and other ways to do things, especially in the endgame, that I think will also play right into the kind of MMO hands that people are used to.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the crafting system. Going to certain characters like Forge at the X-Mansion or Hank Pym at Avengers Tower will allow players the chance to upgrade their equipment or add buffs to items like Cyclops’ visor or Deadpool’s katanas. This just gives you an even deeper connection to the experience; it hearkens back to Diablo while still featuring the Marvel flair players expect.

Marvel Heroes is shaping up as one of the more special free-to-play MMO experiences. With the power of the Marvel license, writers like Brian Michael Bendis, and David Brevik’s Diablo background, every Marvelite will likely be shouting “Excelsior!” when this game’s finally open to everyone—hopefully sometime later this year.

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.    

It’s déjà vu all over again

It was one of last year’s premiere fighting games and it is a franchise that arcade fighting fans absolutely can’t get enough of. So, much in the same vein of how the Nintendo 3DS had Super Street Fighter IV at their handheld system launch, Sony wanted to make sure they had a premiere fighting game to go along with their handheld on launch day as well.

That game, of course, is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. But with a game already heralded as a superior fighting product that gave fans everything they wanted and then some, what could they possibly do with their port to the PS Vita? Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true, but relatively speaking Capcom did very little with this latest version of the game that makes it stand out from its console brethren.

And this can be a good thing because why mess with something if isn’t broken? The game still has stunning visuals due to Vita’s processing power and the full 48-character roster of fighters remains completely in tact. The arcade, training, mission, and versus modes all return as nothing content wise was cut to facilitate the small size of the Vita’s cartridge. The voice acting and original music is still all there, the story cut scenes done in a style similar to comic book panels, the hyper combos, Galactus as the final boss, and even personalizing your online card is still present. All of the patches and balancing tweaks that console players had to wait for are all packaged in the game and because of it you still get one of the premiere fighting experiences of 2011 available to you.

The problem is that now it is 2012. And most people who were going to buy this game already have. And the major negative of making little to no changes with the game is now evident. If the audience has already been tapped, who is going to buy the exact same game twice?

Sure, it’s portable now and you can link up with friends to get in some quick versus matches. That’s a cool feature, but again, most people won’t have need of it really if they already bought the game unless they are so hardcore that this game is the center of their entire gaming universe and must have it with them AT ALL TIMES. But for the rest of us, what might sell us on this? Will a new touch screen system make us want to pick this game up? No. Especially since the touch screen is mostly pointless as it is crucial to actually see the screen when playing a fighting game to learn hit boxes, range, patterns, and other critical elements to victory and so you can’t have your fingers constantly getting in the way of that.

And speaking of fingers, it does become a bit harder to pull off a lot of the moves you’re accustomed to with the smaller joystick and buttons of the Vita. And the one thing the Vita version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 does lack isn’t a shortcoming with the game itself, but with the hardware as you only have two shoulder buttons to try to pull off moves that were originally mapped to four. This can lead to some unnecessary button mashing that changes the game play for the worse.

But, aside from that, if you should pick this game up again, you’ll get everything you would expect from the console version. And if you missed it the first time around on a console, then picking it up for the Vita will definitely be money well-spent. There just isn’t enough of a positive difference though between the console and Vita versions to warrant owning both in most cases.

SUMMARY: Still a stellar fighting game, but if you already have it on a console, there’s no point in picking it up again.

  • THE GOOD: Basically the same game as on consoles
  • THE BAD: Pointless touch controls, lack of shoulder buttons sacrifices move list
  • THE UGLY: Tiny buttons and joysticks make button mashing more difficult

SCORE: 8.0

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PS VITA. This review was based on the PS VITA version of the game.

THE BUZZ: Disney, along with their social games division Playdom, have announced the plan to launch a new Marvel inspired game for Facebook in the next three months.

The game will feature many of the most popular heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe and will be titled Marvel: Avengers Alliance. In the game, you will play as a new agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. tasked with assembling the greatest team of Avengers yet to battle many of the villains from the Marvel Universe who are converging on Manhattan after a galaxy wide event known as “The Pulse”.

Aside from following this story, the game will also feature PvP battles for players to test their social standing and feature a leveling up system for each individual hero.

EGM’S TAKE: No surprise really to see Marvel and Disney trying to get a game into the social market in time for the Avengers movie release, but the game would likely appeal to fans of the comics anyway no matter when they released it.

From the screens below and the fact you can level up, the game looks to be shaping up into an old-school RPG with the enemies on the left and villains on the right.

It also looks like your character will fight alongside the heroes at the top of the screen in traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. garb. Nick Fury has also been mentioned as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the game so the story will likely be less tied to the comics and more to the movies. It should be interesting to see if they use the traditional comic book version of Fury or the Ultimate version portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson like in Marvel’s recent slew of movies though.

The first big question I thought of when I saw this though was when are we going to get a full blown Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for a console?

To check out the trailer and to get the latest updates on when the game may go to open beta, you can check out the game’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/avengersalliance

What do you folks think? Is this going to just be propaganda for the new Avengers movie or will it be a legit foray for Marvel and Disney? What villains and heroes do you think the game should feature? Let us know what you think with comments below!

Originally Published: May 10, 2011, on Momsbasement.org

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix. This week I break out a Thor theme and review the Thor movie, the Thor: God of Thunder video game from SEGA, and Fear Itself #2 (of 7) from Marvel. My hot chick pick of the week is Kat Dennings, who plays Darcy in the Thor movie, and I have two songs this week: The 1966 Thor cartoon theme and the Marvel vs Capcom 3 Thor theme.

Originally Published: March 22, 2011, on Comicvine.com

With their theatrical release date right around the corner and new movie posters being shown off, SEGA wanted to make sure we didn’t forget that they have corresponding video games coming out to go along with these summer blockbuster comic book movies.

Both Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier will officially be available three days before their respective movies with Thor coming out May 3, 2011, and Captain America coming out July 19, 2011. Both games will also be available on Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and in stereoscopic 3D for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. Speaking of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, let’s take a look at some of the new screenshots for both games.

Originally Published: January 8, 2011, on PlayerAffinity.com and Comicvine.com

I had the chance to sit down with acclaimed comic book artist Ron Frenz over the holidays. We discussed some of Ron’s best known work including how him and Tom DeFalco came about creating Spider-Girl and his extremely popular seven year run with Tom DeFalco on Thor. We also discussed his current five issue mini-series bringing back his character from the mid-90s, Thunderstrike and if he hopes to somehow work this into bringing back the Thor Corps.

Originally Published: October 29, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com and NationalLampoon.com

I had a chance to talk to Matt Powers and Stephen Frost of SEGA about Thor: God of Thunder coming out next summer at NYCC 2010.

Originally Published: July 21, 2010, on Lundberg.me, SportsRev.tv, and NationalLampoon.com

This week I reviewed Blur from Activision for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC and X-Force: Sex and Violence #1 (of 3) from Marvel. My hot chick pick of the week this week is Joanna Shari.