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Five reasons Marvel Super Hero Squad: Infinity Gauntlet may not be a kiddie-focused disaster

Publisher THQ's first take on the popular Marvel Super Hero Squad cartoon was a bland beat 'em up that proved too frustrating for its tween target audience and too boring and button-mashy for older Marvel geeks. Despite this—and a disappointing 49% Metacritic score—the title sold enough copies to warrant a sequel. Thankfully, though, THQ is finally giving this potential-packed franchise the love it deserves, crafting a much-improved follow-up that smartly borrows elements from the popular LEGO games. Mixing the can't-miss appeal of Marvel's cape-and-cowl crowd with a utility-belt full of new and improved features, Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet could actually have us suiting-up when it lands this November. Here are five reasons why:


1. It’s finally next-gen

Despite its cast of spandex-clad stars, the original game's visuals and controls were anything but super. While Infinity Gauntlet will still get a Wii port, the  primary platforms are 360 and PS3, yielding pop-off-the-screen presentations that are barely distinguishable from an episode of the Cartoon Network hit. In addition to super-looking superheroes, environments, animations, and cutscenes get the true current-gen treatment. Playing on the 360 or PS3 also means more precise controls and zero arm-flailing.


2. It has a sharper script

Following the events of the show's second season, Infinity Gauntlet promises a better story with more adult-aimed humor. This doesn't mean Spidey and the gang will be spouting dick jokes or anything, but you can expect a smarter, funnier script similar to what the LEGO games offer. Spot-on casting, such as John O' Hurley—Seinfeld's pompous J. Peterman—as a gameshow-hosting Grandmaster hint at the funny bone-tickling potential.


3. The super powers are more super

The thumb-numbing gameplay of the original did little to complement the awesome powers of its cast. It was, after all, billed as a beat 'em up, but we still would have liked to see the fisticuffs mixed with more of the powers that make these characters cool. The sequel is correcting this, not only highlighting each character's defining butt-kicking abilities, but requiring their use to tackle specific tasks. Whether slinging webs as Spider-man or firing Repulsor rays from Iron Man's palms, Infinity Gauntlet will make you feel more like a superhero than a Rock 'em Sock 'em robot in spandex.


4. You’ll need some brains to go with that brawn

You'll spend plenty of time smashing through henchmen as the Hulk and carving up minions as Wolverine, but it won't just be your biceps getting a workout this time; taking another cue from the unstoppable LEGO franchise, Infinity Gauntlet's also piling on the puzzle-solving. Nothing too taxing on the gray matter, but players can expect the brawling to be balanced with challenges that require a specific character's power to solve. Additionally—and also LEGO-like—previously unreachable areas can be revisited once you've unlocked the appropriate power-wielding character.


5. The co-op will be cooler

The first game supported cooperative play, but a wonky camera focusing on player-one, made the experience more frustrating than fun. Infinity Gauntlet not only improves the perspective, but adds additional features to make the co-op feel more integrated than tacked-on. Dynamic team-based tasks will require players to combine their specialized skills to progress, while a new Challenge mode will enable up to three superhero-wannabes to take the world-saving action beyond the story's campaign.

Aug 10, 2010

10 comments

  • Illprophet - December 18, 2010 12:55 p.m.

    So I read a lot of comics or did when I had time when I was younger, especially marvel dc, and image, and now have an 8 year old son who not onl likes the original style of the characters but also enjoys the silly humorous way super hero squad has taken the basic archtype of each character. I'm excited for the sequel and bought it for him to play on the ps3 (which its also nice that its a game for the ps3 aimed for children as he is not playing my god of war 3 nor assassins creed because it is innappropriate.) We liked the first one if for nothing else than seeing Doc Doom with a cup of steaming coffee, a robe and five oclock shadow lookin all kinds of rough, not to mention the humor of the show. Yes the camera angle was atrocious at times being his wingman but thats what I was and knew it going into it. It's a game I got for my then 7 year old who loved it so I got my moneys worth, and am sure to with this seemingly much improved sequel. Plus, if it is anything like the lego games which this review eludes to it being then its a step I'm excited to take with my son. As for "ruining" a franchise ala Scrappy Doo. If you hadn't noticed Scrappy failed, Super Hero Squad has been successful, and is rather amusing to watch because the personalities are just the extreme archtype and a little toned down version of the characters. The movies of spiderman and the x-men both started really well with the first 2 movies (even without killing Gwen Stacy) but both completely tanked the real stories of both of their histories. Wolverine does NOT stop Jean Grey nor does she kill Scott. Spiderman 3 was wrong on so many levels one of the worst being the fact that they didnt kill Gwen in the first movie which was a big deal in the comics but had her as a major role well after her death should have happened. And here in lies the problem, the subject matter of death, intimate relationships and life experience isn't nearly as important to an 8 year old as the fact the Super Hero Squad does stuff with tough super heroes that they do with their own toys so they enjoy it. Don't come in here just to bring hate go find a game based on something you like and when they mess it up then say something. If you're a fan of the series its worth getting (or your kid is), and if not then don't watch it or purchase it. duh
  • IceBlueKirby - August 14, 2010 1:25 p.m.

    The first game would have been mildly entertaining in co-op mode had it not been for the completely broken camera, so this sequel might actually be worth playing. I love playing the Lego games so if they're taking the right cues from that series they'll have a fun game on their hands.
  • BlackElement17 - August 12, 2010 8:13 a.m.

    All this game needs is Deadpool.
  • crumbdunky - August 12, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    MMM.THQ with a cash in to embarrass Activision! Well done in the douchebag stakes guys! Being an old wanker, like I am, I remember being a littlin when the "worst thing ever" happened-Scrappy Doo arrived signalling the seemingly endless parade of "baby" versions(either directly or in weird mutated ways like these or, worse, cringes, Baby Plas)infecting our pop culture from cartoon to film and eventually to games. Think how long this has been going on now?! Aren't we due a break FFS? I saw the first game being played at one of my sons mates houses and even the , then, six year olds saw through it and would EASILY have liked actual, proper modelled <Marvel characters. "Why is Spiderman such a tiny weiner dude?" asked my son. "Ha ha-they're ALL like it-like the gay TV show" said his mate. Needless to say the game had been bought by clueless, well meaning nanna but is it right to make cartoons and games that seem to exist mainly, if not entirely on being watched when there's absolutely nowt else on and games that get bought by error? Honestly, if six year olds won't buy into it just why have these "baby" characters survived so damn long? If the kids hate them WHO likes them? Doesn't anyone else still have the mental scars left by Baby Plas? What a tosser that kid was and why did anyone EVER think ANYONE would find him anything other than a cause to gve up entirely on the human race? Where does that leave this? Without a proper audience and IF they make it borderline playable with decent mechanics the few teenies who buy it won't enjoy it much anyway. Plus buying it, if good, supports these stunted affronts to the dignity and original ideas of the Marvel creators of much loved characters. The Scrappy Doo trend must die so why not now? Do not support this even if it's BRILLIANT! Which it won't be so spread the word to all those aunts, granpa's, well meaning uncles and cousins who have no idea about games or comics but isist on thinking that somehow they can muddle through. All that happens is more of this is sold and the word keeps making and creating "baby" and cutesy versions of proper characters to dilute their legacy even effin further. Stop it nanna! No more awkward b'day and Xmas mornings going "Erm, thanks Nan-just what I wanted-"Kindy Wolverine goes knitting!". While nan turns to mum and says:" And I thought those things on his hands might be dangerous! Had I known Wolverine was a knitting machine I'd have taken little bobby to that X-man movie!". Bloody dwarf, cuttesy, baby and, worse, baby, cutresy with attitude bloody cartoon characters and game characters can sod off and die. HOW long has it been going on now? Didn't everyone hate bloody Scrappy right from the off anyway? I did, that's for sure and I was capable of watching some proper tosh at the time si just what makes grown men think character deformations like them are OK? Seriously, a whole bloody team of cute Marvel versions is just my idea of philistine hell. Comics have rights too so why make them take this kind of direction when as far as I can tell, they're WAY less popular than the originals anyway. What are they meant to do for Marvel? Be a gateway series to ween nippers onto the proper stuff? I think this might be sending me over the edge. I'#ll be ringing my shrink. good day fellas. Scrappy dappy fucking doo. I sodding ask you, why? Please, baby Jesus, why? In the name of all that's good, righteous and holy, why? Tell me.
  • Hobojedi - August 11, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    Meh, it's still not going to be that great.
  • Felixthecat - August 11, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    I think it has potential. It could be pretty good, we just don't know yet.
  • WickedSid - August 11, 2010 7:05 p.m.

    Dick-Joke Spidey!
  • Wolverine08 - August 11, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    oh hell,despite all this I hate how they mutated the cast of marvel into kiddie playthings, and I'm not sure staring at them for hours will help. I'm a major comic fan, so this'll just be like plunging a giant sword into my comic collection, then replacing it with those godawful kiddie version comics, which i still for the life of me have no idea why they make. i don't care about any of this, they're de-grading a AAA company, for god's sake marvel get round to making an Arkham Asylum equivalent, the mass audience is with us, gamers, not 7 year olds with no particular idea about anything AT ALL
  • wormytables - August 11, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    i think you failed to add the obligatory '(sarcasm)' at the end there - if you're not careful people might think you're being sincere. this game looks god awful - everything about it.
  • ColonelKc - August 11, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    Eww.

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