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Michael Bitton: Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 Launch Impressions

Columns By Michael Bitton on April 05, 2016

Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 Launch Impressions

Late last year we spotlighted Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2, the sequel to Disney’s social/mobile game, Marvel: Avengers Alliance. The game was in limited release at the time, but we couldn’t wait to jump in and check it out. Fast forward a couple months later and the game is now available worldwide. How does it stack up? Read on to find out!

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For anyone learning about the game for the first time, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 is a game where you collect various Marvel heroes and villains, assemble a team, and tackle a variety of story-driven pieces of content and even do some PvP (sort of, you fight the enemy’s AI controlled teams). The gameplay is turn-based (think Pokémon) and characters come in a couple of different archetypes (Blasters, Scrappers, Bruisers, and so on). Each archetype has its own counter archetype, so proper team composition is key.

One particularly engaging difference between the sequel and its predecessor is in how players can customize each character’s skill loadout. This enables you to create synergistic team compositions, not only in the characters you’re bringing, but also in how their particular selected skills complement one another as part of an overall strategy. Again, you can learn more about the basics in our earlier piece.

I’m glad to report that all these months later and I’m still hooked on the game.  Truthfully, I expected the game to go live within a month or so after our initial coverage, so I found myself a bit concerned as each month passed without a worldwide release or any information along those lines, but thankfully everyone can now jump into the game and play. There are a couple of caveats, though. For whatever reason, Disney decided to launch worldwide on a patch that has been particularly buggy in my experience. For example, your graphics quality may be stuck on lower settings depending on the platform you’re playing on, and crashes seem to be more frequent than usual. Just some fair warning if you do decide to jump in soon.

Bugs aside, the game has improved considerably over the last few months. Disney has taken the time to polish things and tune the balance of the experience overall, though there is still much work to be done. The difficulty of content ramps up a lot smoother now and figuring out where different paths lead in mission chapters is far more intuitive as well.

There’s been a small injection of new content, too. The game’s first Spec Ops (limited time challenges) went live in March and focused on the MCU version of Ant-Man. Spec Ops are significantly more approachable in MAA2 than they were in the previous title. For one, tasks aren’t locked out by requiring you to have specific heroes (though certain optional objectives can require you to have certain types of heroes). And while Spec Ops are limited in availability, it’s possible to acquire “archive keys” to use to permanently unlock the content even after it has expired. Of course, if you manage to complete the Spec Ops while it’s live, you’ll have the content immediately unlocked for you forever. 

One thing I am curious about is how players will unlock the heroes rewarded for past PvP seasons. If you’re just starting out now, you’re basically three PvP seasons behind those who were playing during limited release. This means that characters like Angela, Heimdall, and Miles Morales Spider-Man aren’t currently available. Hopefully Disney has plans to make these characters obtainable somehow for all the new players.

Despite how much I enjoy the game, I do still have some gripes. Right now, the most frustrating aspects of the game consist of a number of quality of life issues. As we mentioned earlier, there are still plenty of bugs to be dealt with and they can be quite annoying. Crashes or freezes when loading into content probably being the worst offenders here. It’s no fun spending 50 energy tackling an elite boss only for the game to freeze at the reward screen and then realizing you need to spend another 50 energy to repeat the fight from the beginning. The same goes for Scouting and PvP.  Hopefully these are a top priority.

 

Another pain point is the store. There are a couple of things I’d love to be able to buy and open in batches, particularly Unstable Power Cells. Opening these things one by one is a real pain in the rear. The game’s inventory is also incredibly cramped at 100 slots. Disney’s been pretty good about monetization so far, but if you’re looking for an easy win, let me give you money to expand my maximum inventory size. Having to clear out some room in my ISO inventory every other fight has become quite tiresome.

Also, let me purchase Legendary Power Cells. If you disappear from the game for a couple of weeks, you’ll return to a Legendary Power Cell in your mail that guarantees you a new hero unlock. 25G for the Superior Power Cell just feels like a raw deal right now and I’ll usually just save the gold for more rewarding (but less exciting) purchases, like refilling my Scouting or PvP mission energy. Most of the time Superior Power cells award new abilities or duplicates (which then get converted into Shield Points). I’d shell out some more gold per cell for a guaranteed hero unlock. With no other means to unlock new heroes, it’s likely to become exceptionally frustrating for players seeking to snag a particular pick as the game’s roster balloons over time. Get ahead of the issue and give people the option to spend a bit more to complete their collections.

Finally, I hope to see some new hero diversity sooner rather than later. PvP and Spec Ops exclusives aside, the last batch of heroes to be added to the game were Age of Ultron versions of the existing Avengers we have in the game. I don’t mind these versions of the characters making it onto the roster, but I’d love to see basic versions of characters that aren’t represented at all in the game added first. With Civil War coming next month, I worry that the next set of characters will be Civil War versions of the same Avengers we have now.  Let’s spice it up a little!

Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 is available worldwide on iOS and Android.

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site''s Community Manager.