In keeping with their pattern of excellence, Marvel Games’ latest RPG, Avengers Alliance 2 fires on all cylinders and seamlessly transfers the energy of comic-book fun to mobile devices. This free-to-play title expands the influence of the Marvel brand to our very pockets, redefining the notion of the “pants party”.
This game’s stand-out feature is it’s immaculate aesthetic, accentuating the environments, characters and animations which it boasts. Avengers Alliance 2 beautifully blends comic book illustration techniques of shading and lining with graphically impressive 3D art-design. The stylistic synthesis creates visuals that are reminiscent of a cartoon, especially during the animations where your character executes an attack or a villain arrives to wreck havoc; it feels like your favorite heroes and baddies are jumping off the comic page and onto your phone screen. This sets a fun tone for the game with bold colors and detailed textures that draw players into the action as you take turns with the AI, fighting through city streets and rooftops.
The trademark Marvel aspect of real settings such as Times Square in New York, with fictional landmarks like the Avengers Tower, or SHIELD helicarrier in the backdrop helps to create an authentic feeling for fans of the comics and movies. In addition, you get to traverse locations familiar to the origins of your favorite heroes like Hell’s Kitchen, quintessential to the lore of Daredevil. As you advance, you unlock new locations and characters that make the expanse of the Marvel encyclopedia a prominent feature of the game. Avengers Alliance 2 also makes an unambiguous and appreciated point of filling the roster with characters of all sexes and backgrounds, allowing a variety of demographics to project themselves onto their team of heroes as they beat bosses and henchmen.
Quintessential to the unabashed nerdy fun is the games score. The ever-present, orchestral, bombastic superhero theme music kicks in as the game commences, almost unnoticeable in its predictability. Just as you begin to settle into the familiar feeling of the superhero-centric game, a lively riff makes its debut, followed by a drum beat that suddenly drives Avengers Alliance 2 in a different, more engaging, enthusiastic direction.
Gameplay is as simple as most other RPG titles: tap the screen to navigate through the menu, maps, character lists and to select your attacks and defenses in battle. You unlock characters and upgrade their abilities to advance through the game. Leveling up your team of heroes will allow you to take on bigger and badder Marvel foes, of which there is no shortage. There is no greater joy for comic book fans than building their fantasized team of Marvel characters and blitzing hordes of villains running rampant through the streets.
My one issue with the game is relatively nitpicky, but does add up to an annoyance. Every time you click to navigate somewhere, you are going to get a loading screen. I began to sigh as my immersion and focus was broken each time I had to wait on the game to load the menus and maps. It’s also worth noting that there are some in-app purchases to be cognizant of for things such as energy to skip the cooldown periods after you play or bonus characters. None are detrimental to advancing in the game’s narrative, so whether or not you choose to spend your money on these features will likely be determined by whether you are the type of mobile gamer who generally does so.
Ultimately, Avengers Alliance 2 is another worthy release from a hugely successful and influential brand which renews fans vigor for more content and brings in new followers in droves. Regardless, RPG and Marvel enthusiasts are sure to be pleased and get their fix of superhero fun.
But is it Hardcore?
Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 is a blast for fans of the brand and genre alike.