Saturday, September 1, 2012

Game Review - Marvel Avengers Alliance

I had never played a Facebook game until Marvel Avengers Alliance. I had seen numerous people get sucked into Farmville and things like it, and I'd always think to myself, "Never." Unfortunately, this game is addictive, and I know that I'm falling for its tricks.

Developed by Playdom, Avengers Alliance was released in time with The Avengers movie. It follows the typical social game format, allotting you with a set amount of energy that allows you to do something within the game. In this case, your energy is used to initiate battles. Once you're out of energy, you either have to wait hours for it to recharge, or you can pay to get gold and buy more. This is the business model for most social games. You want really good items? Pay for them. You don't want to wait for a certain amount of time to accomplish something? Pay for it to finish quicker. Herein lies the problem with the PVP aspect of the game.

Recently updated, the Player vs. Player portion of the game allows you to fight against other agents and their selected teams while you're waiting on energy. You can earn experience for your characters this way. However, while you may be matched up with people the same level as you, most of these people have obviously spent money to buy items that increase their PVP stats light years past yours. It becomes extremely unbalanced if you don't want to spend real money to get ahead quicker.

Aside from that, the game is enjoyable. You play as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent under the command of Nick Fury and you team up with various Marvel heroes to complete missions. The gameplay is standard turn-based RPG-fare. Each character has their own unique moves and class-types. Each class is stronger against one and weaker against another. These class differences lead to different bonuses in battles. As you defeat enemies, you can earn silver and experience points. Silver is used to purchase items or combine with SHIELD points to train characters or research items.

During missions, you can also deploy characters for a chance to receive an awesome item. After defeating bosses, there is a roulette game to determine a bonus item for you. At this point, the most valuable is command points. These allow you to recruit more heroes to your team and expand your roster and PVP bonuses. A-list heroes such as Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, and Hulk cost 90 points, meaning you really have to work for them. Recruiting one of these characters is such a rewarding feeling, though.

The dialogue is basic comic book speech with superscience references dropped all over the place. The character and dialogue art is awesome and pretty consistent. I couldn't find who did the art  to give them props. 

The game is being updated on a regular basis and new characters are becoming available, as well as additional uniforms for the heroes. It's fun and addictive. I wish it were available for the DS or something so I wouldn't have to wait to play it more. I refuse to pay for anything on it, because that's just ridiculous. I get the appeal for some people to do it, but I will not be one of them.

If you're on Facebook and looking for a great way to kill time, you could do way worse than Avengers Alliance.

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