Marvel’s Avengers game didn’t exactly get the warmest of receptions when it was initially revealed. The action looked choppy, the superheroes look nothing like their MCU counterparts and it just looked like a cash grab, especially coming hot on the heels of Endgame.
I saw the game (and the real life costumes created by Square Enix) at the Tokyo Game Show last year and I came away convinced that the game is going to suck.
Fast forward a year…
The Avengers game is finally here. The beta experience might have helped put some players at ease, but it had its fair share of issues during that period as well.
So…with the final version finally in my hands, are the Avengers assembling worth your time?
What is Marvel’s Avengers?
Marvel’s Avengers, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, is an action RPG in the same vein as the Destiny and The Division series. Our copy was graciously provided by the people at Bandai Namco Asia! Thanks guys!
The game lets you suit up as some of the most iconic Avengers, while also allowing you customization options to suit your playstyle. Want Iron Man to be a brawler instead of a ranged attacker? Go for it. Want the Hulk to focus on smashing from afar? Sure. Why not?
The Avengers game lets you tweak your experience with equipment you can wear, though these sadly don’t offer any visual changes to the characters themselves.
The game’s split up into two significant components, the ‘Campaign’ and ‘Avengers Initiative’. Both can be played multiplayer, but you’ll need to unlock it for the Campaign mode.
The campaign follows an original story by the developers that takes about ten or more hours to complete if you skip the optional side missions. Once done, its time to tackle the Avengers Initiative, which is where the real fun begins. It’s packed with countless hours of endgame content to enjoy solo or with a group through multiplayer.
The plot revolves around the introduction of Inhumans into the Avengers game universe with Kamala Khan (Miss Marvel) assuming the lead. The fact that it’s not an Avengers origin story is an immediate plus point in my book.
At first, I was sceptical about Kamala being the focus of the game, but as the story progressed on, she has undoubtedly become one of my favourite characters in the game.
I know most people found her initially annoying, including myself, but trust me when I say that she’s the soul of the game. Just like how Peter Parker was the future of the MCU Avengers, Kamala is the future of Marvel’s Avengers.
As for the story line, I think it’s pretty good. Not incredibly memorable or anything but it does its job well.
You don’t need comics knowledge to enjoy it (though there are nods here and there that only the hardcore fan will pick up) and the characters have appeared in one form or another in various Marvel animated features over the years. Hell, A.I.M. (though in a totally different form) was even in Iron Man 3.
I honestly didn’t even expect the game to have a decent story when they first revealed it, but now I can’t believe how good it is. It’s as great as reading an actual Marvel comic book…though depending on which book you’re reading, that’s not exactly high praise.
The twists and turns in the story are what makes it so great. Without spoiling some major events, let’s just say that things aren’t what they seem and even the villains aren’t truly evil, just very, very misguided. Things like that makes the whole story very engaging and enjoyable throughout.
The Game play.
The combat mechanics in Marvel’s Avengers are reasonably simple to comprehend. You hit buttons, do combos and unleash special moves.
As you level up, you’ll be able to unlock more attacks that will allow you to chain them together to create your very own unique combos to defeat adversaries. You also have special abilities that are on a cooldown timer. These are very cool and representative of the heroes they belong to. Iron Man for example, has his Unibeam and the ability to call upon the Hulkbuster armor!
As you progress in the game, you’ll learn that well-executed combos play a vital role in defeating more powerful opponents instead of regularly mashing buttons. However, over time it becomes somewhat repetitive, but thankfully with the addition of heroic abilities, it doesn’t get monotonous.
Gears play a fundamental factor in the game and heavily relies on it to improve the players’ chances against stronger oppositions. As with most games, there are several rarities with different power levels that will add up to an overall power level after being equipped. It’s pretty much the standard routine for any loot-based game and as they say, ‘If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve on it!
One of the gripes that I have when it comes to loot-based games is that the gear doesn’t reflect on the characters wearing it. Take a look at DC’s Injustice 2, where every piece of equipment transforms the appearance of the character.
Sure, Marvel’s Avengers has skins for each character to alter their appearance, but most of the skins are honestly bad. Just standard design with repaints to increase the quantity. A ton of iconic suits (for every character) aren’t even in the game. I’d hoped that Crystal Dynamics would at least throw us a bone but noooooooope.
It feels incredibly lazy and just drives home the point that you’re going to have to pay real money to get the interesting skins. With Marvel’s rich history, there are a billion suits that I’d want! Natasha’s Grey suit! Iron Man’s Godkiller armor! 90s Hulk! All-father Thor! Bucky’s Captain America suit!
Wherever loot is involved, grinding isn’t far off.
The grinding of loot is where most games tend to fail in providing an enjoyable experience, but this game isn’t one of them. In Marvel’s Avengers, players do not feel the grinding process as much as you feel rewarded for your completion.
However, since they don’t affect your appearance, the feel of getting new gear isn’t as exciting as it should be. Only your stats increase, but there’s no discernible physical difference.
By playing the endgame content and you’ll receive useful loots that are tailored to your power level and not based on luck that keeps forcing you to grind for better ones.
That brings me to my next point, missions. The endgame content in the Avengers game is the main reason why the grinding doesn’t feel as tedious.
It focuses on expanding the story as much as it is to provide gamers with continued playability. And the rewards earned by completing are worth the time you’re investing in it, which means you don’t have to play for hours to get your hands on an epic gear.
Most missions also have optional objectives you can do but these are all repeated throughout, with only a handful of different types. It gets very repetitive doing them over and over, but you’ll still want to do them anyways as they provide you with materials and equipment as rewards.
Apart from the endgame content, you’ll find that there’s still loads more to do. In the game, players will be able to access iconic missions that are tailored specifically for each Avenger, which tells a unique side story that’s on par with the primary campaign.
And the rewards from these missions are crafted specifically for that particular Avenger, thus, allowing players to gain better loot for the character they love.
During the beta of Marvel’s Avengers, the game looked great but thanks to the excessive motion blur and camera shake, it ruined the game for me to the point where I couldn’t even focus on playing it. It was a real concern for a lot of gamers, and thankfully Crystal Dynamics paid attention to it or else I doubt I could have played it for long.
Now, the game still looks beautiful, but this time I can enjoy the scenery and encounters with more ease. Due to the reduced motion blur and with the option of turning off camera shakes altogether, the game feels so much better on my eyes. However, there are notable issues in the game that I expect will be addressed promptly with patches and whatnot.
For the most part, I didn’t experience any visual issues as I played through the campaign… hat is until I reached the final stage. I started experiencing glitches such as invisible enemies (Sal had invisible characters in his cutscenes) and enemies getting stuck behind walls or under the ground. Some of these issues happened to Sal earlier in his game, but not to mine, leading me to think that they might be isolated issues. Nope, they’re not.
The frame rate of the game also seemed to have dropped significantly, while cinematic cut scenes didn’t sync up with the dialogues and subtitles. I’m playing on a PS4 Pro, with the display setting set to favor performance (for smoother framerates) but even then the framerate can drop to a stuttering mess.
Basically, any time the action heats up, get ready for the framerate to meltdown.
I really hope the PS5 can help iron things out. Oh yeah, if you didn’t know…owners of the game on PS4 will be able to play an upgraded PS5 version for free.
The issue with glitches and drop in framerate becomes very apparent once you start playing the endgame content. Sal and I partied up in multiplayer to tackle some missions together, and we noticed more glitches but this time with one of our AI companions. Thor, the god of thunder, become the god of hopping. Somehow, Thor’s flying animation got glitched, so he ended up hopping from location to location vertically.
Another time, Thor got completely glitched in mid-flight, so he contributed nothing to the battle. He just towered above me magnificently, as I waited to die miserably at his feet without being resurrected.
There were even issues with missions. Sal and I were loading a mission together that got glitched. He loaded into the game, I didn’t. On top of that, the mission that loaded (Gathering of Evil) wasn’t what we initially selected.
The Bottom Line.
Is Marvel’s Avengers the game we all wanted?
Oh yes, indeed, it’s a great game that’s filled with lots of fun, and content that is bound to keep you busy.
With so many characters (and hopefully more to come other than the revealed Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and Kate Bishop (also Hawkeye)) to try out and engaging stories to enjoy, I’d say everyone should give it a shot.
The game has its fair share of visuals concerns, but it’s not as game-breaking as to ruin the whole experience. Glitches abound but it’s a new game, so these issues are more or less expected and will undoubtedly be fixed in the coming days.
Great game with a good story line and lots of endgame content, but faces issues with glitches and frame rate.
- Great story line.
- Lots of characters to play.
- Endgame content is substantial.
- Gameplay is fun and different for each character.
- Skins are not as impressive as they should have been.
- Glitches and frame rate drop.