The only thing I would like to avenge is the time I just wasted.
Originally released on Kinect for Xbox 360, Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is not an easy fighting game to get excited for. Thanks to what were originally motion-only controls, one couldn't help but be nervous that such an experience would be far too simple and bare-bones, especially since the controls would have to be moved to the GamePad and given a more conventional layout.
Battle for Earth is not a conventional fighting game. The camera is placed behind your character, and movement is limited to sidestepping left and right to dodge. Otherwise, each fighter is standing still to unleash moves. Attacks are segregated to the touch screen of the GamePad (though buttons can also be used). In addition, the game utilizes a tag-team system in which fighters are switched at the press of a button.
Each character has three special moves, a projectile, and a kick. The special moves need to be charged up (which happens gradually and automatically) before they can be used, while projectiles and kicks only require a partial charge. Attacking with kicks simply requires tapping the icon on the screen, while special moves require a tap and tracing a basic pattern on the GamePad touch screen. Through succeeding in combat, characters can also trigger Breakers and Ultra moves. Breakers send an enemy to the ground and cease any ongoing combos, while Ultra moves are cinematic super-attacks that deal great damage by rapidly touching the touch screen.
My issue with fighting on the GamePad is that simply tapping the touch screen to attack is not exciting, nor does it offer any sense of accomplishment. As long as your character attacks at the right time, dodging out of the way isn't necessary; in other words, the entire game is reduced to tapping and looking at the screen to see Marvel characters pull off cool moves.
In addition to the default GamePad play, fighting can also be carried out using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Rather than mapping moves to a touch screen, the controls instead use a combination of motion-controlling and buttons. The control method works fine, chiefly because it makes the moves feel like they take more effort to pull off and it keeps you moving while playing. With that said, the motion-controlling got slightly finicky at times (the occasional move was not registered when it should have), and the game doesn’t feel any better because of this addition.
Among the cast of 20 characters--from superheroes like Captain America to villains like Super Skrull--all of them feel identical. None of them are much faster than any other, the special and basic attacks work nearly identically, and the only differences between each cast member are aesthetic. Human Torch shoots fire and has fire-based special moves, while Hulk has moves based around his strength. Even the aforementioned Ultra moves work the same way regardless of the character, with only the short cutscene before the move being different. And the stages, of which there are five total, only manage to provide an aesthetic background. There are no unique stage attributes or hazards to speak of.
The main Campaign mode is a romp through the Secret Invasion storyline in the Avengers story arc. The story mode provides comic book cutscenes with voice acting behind them, and then a series of fights at each of the five locations (with a unique mini-story in each). The story has no heart or soul for the fans to be interested in, and the storytelling is so poor that newcomers will likely zone out during cutscenes. Granted, the plot doesn't go far beyond "make sure the bad guys don’t win", but as someone with a passing interest in the franchise, the story mode is irritating beyond belief. The only reason to play it is to unlock characters.
The other modes are cookie-cutter, and nothing more. There is: Arcade mode (more fighting without the story and the ability to unlock costumes--also can be played cooperatively); Versus (split-screen fighting against others); Tournament (up to four people competing in a tournament bracket, but still the same old fighting); and Challenges mode (a series of challenges that involve attacking a certain way, completing a combo, or defending a certain way--nothing interesting). It all just feels like repackaged fighting and not much more.
Presentation-wise, the game is fine. If you're playing exclusively on the GamePad, it seems that the game can only be played on the controller, and not on a television screen (I couldn’t find any options stating otherwise). Other than that, the visuals are okay. The character models look pretty great, the animation is fluid, and the backgrounds look decent enough. The soundtrack is standard exciting superhero movie music, but nothing special.
Because of the homogenous nature of the game, in combination with the basic touch screen-oriented gameplay, Battle for Earth is a tough game to enjoy. It isn't broken in any way, and none of the game inspires feelings of malice, but I just didn't have any fun playing it. The story mode is throwaway, the other modes aren't interesting, and the game is so easy that I had trouble convincing myself to play it. Offering nothing for the fans while having gameplay that’s fun to no one, Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is impossible to recommend.