Do you know why I love this time of the year so much? It’s one of the only times we are virtually guaranteed some amazing deals on games we missed out on. When I found out Avengers Initiative had dropped to $0.99 on Android, it didn’t take long for me to scoop it up. Even though the game has as many 1-star reviews than 5-star reviews, I figured $0.99 wasn’t much of a gamble. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I didn’t pay full price for this game.
As far as performance goes, Avengers Initiative has been pretty competent for me. Yes there is some occasional lag and at least one of Hulk’s alternate costumes is so glitched his arms and legs are completely white, but that’s not the reason why this game gets under my skin. The amount of in-game purchases offered in Avengers Initiative is downright appalling. This game was originally priced at $6.99 and it’s structured like a free-to-play game from Glu Mobile.
I believe in an effort to push this game out and to milk as much money as possible out of players, Marvel Games intentionally slowed progression in Avengers Initiative to make the game seem longer than what it really is. Then Marvel Games decided to break the game into episodes to create the illusion of value for your dollar. Here’s an example of this game’s pay-to-win spirit. A short while into the game, Hulk arrives on a S.H.I.E.L.D. carrier to fight a boss that is at least twice as powerful as he his. Hawkeye even tells Hulk he’s not strong enough, and he should train before taking on the fight. That’s just this game’s way of telling you to go grind for a few hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the grind as a general rule. Infinity Blade, the game that Avengers Initiative is inspired by, also introduced a heavy grind. The difference between these two games is that Infinity Blade made grinding rewarding by offering up lots of weapons, helmets and armor sets without eyeing up your wallet a second time. Infinity Blade also made sure the price for these items were reasonable. Avengers Initiative only lets you purchase full alternate costumes for Hulk that are very expensive. If you want the best costumes, you have to spend at least 10,000 ISO-8 to get them. In-game purchases start at $0.99 for 10,000 ISO-8, and goes all the way up to $49.99 for 800,000 ISO-8. The most expensive costume is 100,000 ISO-8. If you wanted to buy that with real money, it’ll cost you around $10. The problem is you don’t get much ISO-8 no matter what you do. Your options are either grind heavily or just pay up. For a game that launched at a premium price, there’s no reason why players should be restricted like that.
Avengers Initiative should have been released with all its playable characters (Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America) given its premium price. But Marvel Games instead decided to slowly release new episodes and charge $0.99 for them. How slowly are they being added? Well, this game was released on September 6 for iOS and the Captain America update just hit earlier this month. At this rate, it’ll be September 2013 before this game is technically complete.
I’m tired of seeing games that have the potential to be amazing being held back by greed. All Marvel Games had to do is implement all the Avengers from the beginning, sell individual pieces of each costume to encourage customization and back off on the in-game purchases. I guess that’s too much to ask for some companies these days. This game is a shameful cash grab. Don’t spend more than a dollar on it.