In Facebook games--or all of entertainment, for that matter--it's easy to rest on the laurels of a brand. But those games usually fall by the wayside faster than the ink dried on the contract. Luckily for comic book (or action movie) lovers, Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook is not one of those games. Disney-owned developer Playdom has teamed up with Marvel and wielded the brand like Thor's mighty hammer. (Before the nerds assault us in the comments: Yes, we know its name is Mjölnir.)
That's the most impressive feature in Avengers Alliance: its dedication to accuracy and story. You have to imagine that Playdom and Marvel treated this game as if it were the next feature film, fretting over how the legions of Iron Man fans would react to how he fires his Repulsor Rays or whether the game references the Kree in one of Ms. Marvel's attacks. (Don't ask.) And the duo has done so flawlessly throughout all 28 available Marvel characters at launch.
And yes, each and every one comes with a detailed bio page. Just how players come across these characters is through the story in Avengers Alliance. While it's one of the most fleshed out (across 10 chapters and myriad missions) stories we've seen in a social game, we'll keep it brief. An anomaly known as The Pulse has stricken New York City, which has managed to attract every super villain team from Hydra to The Hand to its mysterious power.
As a new recruit of S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization that rallies the world's superheroes, you must stop the baddies and find out just what the hell this Pulse is all about. And how do superheroes solve problems? Beat the living pulp out of the opposition, that's how. Those familiar with turn-based role-playing games like Final Fantasy will feel right at home in this superhero simulator's combat system.
Players trade blows with various enemies using weapons they gather for their agent and with their various superheroes' abilities. But it's far from that simple. With a five-way, rock-paper-scissors-style way of handling character classes, numerous status effects that can turn the tide of battle in an instant and oodles of weapons, equipment and abilities to consider, it's clear that Marvel and Playdom are going for a more "core" audience. While that makes sense given that the average comic book reader is probably a big time gamer, the duo is doing a fine job of alienating the majority of social gamers.
Potential audiences aside, Avengers Alliance is one of the most impressive social games we've seen to date. From its beautifully balanced battle system to its slick presentation and exciting animation, Avengers Alliance serves the Marvel fan well. And the dedication to crafting an interesting story shines through almost instantly. The story in Avengers Alliance is largely optional for those who don't give a hoot, but thanks to the words of comic book author Alex Irvine, you might give at least one.
Sure, the story isn't as robust as one you might find on the comic book shelf in the nearest Barnes & Noble, but when stacked up against almost every other core Facebook game out there, it truly stands out. Where Avengers Alliance fails to stand out, however, is in its social features, which amount to visiting friends daily and collecting bonuses. The PvP (player vs. player) system sure is a lot of fun and extends your sessions beyond the energy required to play through the story. Despite employing the game's gorgeous battle system with the extra depth of a leaderboard and PvP statistics, it's solely an asynchronous affair that core gamers will likely turn a blind eye to.
All in all, Avengers Alliance is one stunning Facebook game. From its glistening presentation and story that actually turns out to be interesting as far as Facebook games are concerned, Playdom and Marvel have a potential hit on their hands. And judging from the amount of content already in the game, it's clear they're ready for the long haul. However, the only thing in the way of Avengers Alliance becoming Playdom's next hit is finding a large enough audience. Consider this writer sold, but here's to hoping the rest of Marvel fandom will be too. Marvel: Avengers Alliance is coming soon.
Are you interested in checking out Avengers Alliance when it launches? Do you think the game will stick with the majority of Marvel fans? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.