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Marvel’s Avengers

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 21 - 2020

Let’s all be avengers in these difficult times.

 
Marvel’s Avengers from Square Enix certainly did their best to build the hype before launch. While the beta weekends were presumably there to test the hardware and make sure that everything would be working fine under strain, they would also have been used to get yet more people interested in the upcoming blockbuster game. The problem was that these beta weekends almost ignored the most interesting part the game, the single player campaign. The result was that many players would have made their minds up that Marvel’s Avengers was going to be a Destiny-style game as a service, which is not to everyone’s taste and probably not what they were looking for from an Avengers game. While the end game is very much in that style, albeit a bit punchier than Destiny, there is also a remarkably enjoyable story campaign that really is the star of the show.

 


 
There was plenty of talk before launch about Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, driving the story forward. However, I don’t think anyone who has played the game was prepared for just how impressive she is as a character. As a young woman, Kamala is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff, yet throughout the story she manages to maintain an enthusiasm and empathy that makes her really enjoyable to spend time with. Of course, the other characters that feature in the story are well known enough for players to enjoy, despite their slightly different looks and voice work. As a fan of both the comics and the MCU, dealing with different looks for my favourite heroes, or different actors providing their voices, is no big deal. To be honest, the general feeling for each of the heroes, from Captain America and Iron Man, to Bruce Banner and Thor, is spot on and easy to invest in.

 
The story itself is also very easy to invest in, and feels just as epic and impressive as many of the main story arcs and movie plots. A young Kamala Khan turns up at a celebration of all things Avengers, she is a fan after all. However, a surprise attack leads to Captain America presumed dead and half of the city wiped out, which subsequently leads to the Avengers falling from grace and going their own way. Jump forward a number of years and tech company AIM have stepped in to save the day, but the now slightly older Kamala Khan, who is dealing with the appearance of her own super powers as an Inhuman, has found evidence that the earlier disaster may have not been all that it seems, and then goes about bringing the Avengers back together to once again save the world.

 


 
Running into double figures, it is a really enjoyable romp with the player getting to dip their toes into each of the playable heroes. When the attack kicks off at the beginning of the story, the player will be able to try out each of the heroes before being limited to Kamala for a little while. Then, as in any good story, each of the other heroes are brought back into the group. The missions are mostly single player affairs, occasionally with another character offering support.

 
Of course, a great story wouldn’t be any good if the actual gameplay wasn’t fun, and thankfully in Marvel’s Avengers is great fun. There is not exactly a massive amount of variety to the gameplay. While there is a touch of platforming or sorts, the majority of the gameplay will revolve around fighting. Each character uses the same controls, but has very different abilities and feels different to play, which is a real success in the game. From Black Widow and her stealth skills, to Iron Man taking to the air, to Ms. Marvel and her stretchy limbs, once the player learns the buttons for one, they can easily control another. They each have a light and heavy attack, a ranged attack, and a variety of special moves. While the inclusion of a ranged attack does suggest that distance play is possible, much of the time will be spent getting up close and brawling with the enemies. It works very well and players will quickly gravitate to their favourite characters.

 
Other things that work well in the game include the skill trees which unlock some very meaningful and enjoyable new abilities for the characters that allow them to progress into something even more heroic. Also, the visuals are pretty stunning throughout, especially in the cut scenes that have a Crystal Dynamics flair.

 


 
However, there are some aspects of the game that don’t work. While the campaign is great fun, the other part of the game, the looter shooter endgame, is not quite there yet. One of the big problems here is that the game as a service style is looking to replicate the success of games like Destiny, but it just doesn’t quite match up. For example, the heroes in Marvel’s Avengers are well known and can’t really be changed, so while in Destiny the player may get all excited over finding some exotic weapon or piece of armour, in Avengers the player is rewarded with new gear that has an affect “under the hood”, meaning that there is no visual reward, just a slight increase in a stat. It does take the shine of collecting new equipment from running missions, which is the main reason for playing once the story is done.

 
Also, the missions themselves once the story is done feel uninspired and repeated. There are a couple of big bosses in the game, but the majority of the enemies are robots of different type, which quickly become boring. Locations are recycled and mission objectives are mostly uninteresting.

 
The thing is though, this is a game as a service and they are all well known to start off a little lacklustre in the endgame stakes. They are also well known for their ability to reinvent and expand, and there is every likelihood that Marvel’s Avengers will be a very different game in a year than it is now.

 


 
Marvel’s Avengers is a game of two halves. The story campaign is exceptionally done, and runs long enough to make it worth the cost of entry. The end game, the game as a service part, feels muddled and uninspired. New heroes have already been announced, and I am sure that there will be plenty more to come, which should help a bit. But also the very nature of games as a service suggests that changes will come, and they will likely change and improve this end game. Still, that will be further down the line. Marvel’s Avengers has the potential to become a long lasting game, but for those fans of Marvel the story is well worth checking out right now, even if the end game doesn’t quite match up.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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