Marvel’s Avengers released on September 4 for all platforms. Now that we’ve had a couple of days to try it out, we’re ready to talk about the game.
Our take is Marvel’s Avengers is an Okay game with a promising future but a disappointing present.
I’m going to put it in other words. Marvel’s Avengers is the most fun average game I’ve ever played. With that said, I advise you to check our spoiler-free Marvel Avenger’s Review.
Marvel’s Avengers Info
|Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
Windows 10 PC
|September 4, 2020|
|Square Enix||Crystal Dynamics|
“Marvel’s Avengers begins at A-Day, where Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Thor are unveiling a hi-tech Avengers Headquarters in San Francisco. The celebration turns deadly when a catastrophic accident results in massive devastation. Blamed for the tragedy, the Avengers disband. Five years later, with all Super Heroes outlawed and the world in peril, the only hope is to reassemble Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
I’m sorry to say the game has nothing to do with the cinematic trailer. I’ll be sharing some gameplay videos down below, so don’t be fooled.
Instead, Marvel’s Avengers is a linear game where you play each mission or episode with the character you choose. Without spoiling much, the game is about re-assembling the Avengers after a failed battle in San Francisco.
The A-Day, as they call it, left the Avengers scattered and beaten. You first play as Kamala Khan to search the heroes all over the planet. Ultimately, the team must defeat an evil AI mega-corporation taking charge of the world’s security after the Avengers are gone.
Here’s a character that’s releasing very soon as a free DLC, Kate Bishop:
When studio Crystal Dynamics first unveiled the game, they called it “Avengers Initiative.” They kept the name to identify their goals, though, and they are incredible. At least on paper.
What they intend to do is create a massive Avengers universe with a constant stream of DLCs, expansions, and addons released for free. For instance, the studio is releasing a Hawkeye DLC that includes a single-player campaing. They are also releasing a Spider-Man DLC for PS4 owners only.
Moreover, they are marketing Marvel’s Avengers as a “Destiny-like” looter-shooter RPG. Instead of guns and sci-fi powers, though, you get the abilities of each hero.
Keep what the studio promised in mid. We’re reviewing what the game turned out to be.
Avengers piqued my interest since Square Enix first announced it in 2018. It looked like plenty of fun for a Marvel fan. The result is an epic beat & smash episodic game, where every episode features a vast map plus a dungeon-like map. It also has RPG elements that make you search for better gear for your heroes and customize their skill trees.
For each mission, you play as one of the Avengers you choose (like Captain America, Hulk, or Black Widow), and each one carries its own set of particular abilities.
For instance, Captain America has melee abilities plus defensive abilities with his shield. Black Widow can turn invisible, shot her pistols, and use a stick for close combat. Or Hulk can do an epic high-five that sets a powerful wave forward.
Aside from the missions where you find each Avenger, each level works more or less the same. You enter the open map full of mecha-soldiers and bots, and then you enter a tech compound, full of mecha-soldiers and bots.
At the end of the road, there’s usually a boss waiting for you. And throughout the journey, there’s some underwhelming loot that won’t actually change anything.
Check the original reveal trailer:
Marvel’s Avengers plot
The plot follows what happens after the Avengers disband and what Ms. Marvel has to do to reunite the team againts M.O.D.O.K.
The plot advances with Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) as she assembles the heroes in the helicarrier. The ship is the game’s hub, where you hang around and select the missions you’re going to take. It takes cues from the Mass Effect series on that regard, as you can choose whichever mission from the hub and follow either the main quest or a side quest.
In particular, Ms. Marvel interacts with Bruce Banner/Hulk the most as he’s the first one he finds. These two are the titular couple with the task of re-assembling the heroes. The moments they deliver are worthy of any comic issue as in they are great.
Otherwise, the plot is easy to follow. Gather the heroes, forgive the errors of the past, move on, and defeat the villains. It’s a fun ride, indeed…the first time around!
Naturally, then, there are missions where you have to rescue the heroe from their own mistakes. You also get to play as each hero on their special tasks. And once you take them into your ranks, they become available for other missions.
A good game only works with a good villain
“We’re fixing the damage the Avengers did many years ago” – MODOK.
The villain is M.O.D.O.K. Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing.
He’s the super-smart kind of antagonist, and we’ve yet to see him in the movies. I thought it was an excellent choice for the enemy, and it poses a real threat during the game. He’s a vengeful, cunning genius with a lot of resources.
MODOK’s goal is to convince the world the Inhumans, super-powered humans, and overall heroes are a threat to society. Furthermore, he creates a lot of tension between the Avengers: his actions make the heroes wonder if the world is better with them.
The plot is, no doubt, the best part of the game. It’s not at the level of Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it’s as theatrical, heroic, and bombastic as it gets. But that’s also the reason why it’s often devoid of life.
Don’t be mad if this game didn’t fulfill your expectations. Instead, I invite you to save your money for the one that’s going to be bigger:
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The character design & customization
“I can’t really explain it, but this game just looks odd. It’s like someone made an Avengers mod for Mass Effect.” – random YouTube comment
As this is an Avengers game, one of the most important things to mention is the character design.
It’s a good thing that you get so many characters to play with. Each one feels decently different, but, after a while, it all feels the same. You could very well smash the buttons to the end with the occasional dodge, and it makes no difference.
Here’s where I must bring out the RPG elements. Things like getting a new hammer for Thor or a new armor for Captain America won’t truly make a difference. There’s not really a ton of loot to choose from like what you see on Destiny. There’s not even a fun grind to play, nor gear that changes how your character plays or behaves.
Once again, all of the loot is more or less the same, albeit some differences in the apparel.
You can customize some features of the characters, too, like the outfit and the finishing moves. You unlock customization options each time you find a comic.
There’re tons of outfits, by the way, as the studio took inspiration from over 80 years of Marvel history. However, the publisher placed most of them behind a micro-transaction fee.
Now, every character has a voice, and as far as voice-acting goes, it’s just okay—nothing too impressive, but also nothing too bland.
The other side of character design is how they look. Sometimes, the heroes look amazing; others, they look odd. There’re also plenty of glitches, bugs, none of them game-breaking. Yet, take everything into account, and you’ll realize the game is poorly optimized.
I think it’s time to share some actual gameplay footage:
I had to add a short review of Marvel’s Avengers cuts as well.
Characters are supposed to carry the cuts. They are the spotlight of the game, in theory. In practice, though, the stakes turn out bland and mediocre. The characters merely move around, so it feels like they are not part of the world.
There’s a couple of cool moments of tension between the Avengers. Aside from that, they hardly react to the things happening around them. Cuts and moments should have been more emotional, more driven.
I think it’s time to check the overview trailer. How the game works should become very clear by now:
Level design & graphics
The worst part of Marvel’s Avengers is the level design. They all start with a vast map that includes mostly jumping puzzles.
Then, the levels are unnecessarily vast and open, but without anything interesting to see. It’s like the studio filled the levels with random elements until you find a couple of platforms you need to jump.
The goal of the open map is always reaching the “dungeon.” Every looter shooter has to have a dungeon. The thing is most dungeons are simply a tech compound. And after you look at the first facility, you’ve seen them all.
The graphics are not at offering the best we’ve seen on PlayStation 4 games or Xbox One titles. It’s also not at the level of what we expect Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 games to look. We’ll check back when the studio ports the game towards next-gen consoles.
Even when the graphics are not the best part of the game, it’s hard to run on PC. Running the game on 1080p won’t ask too much of anyone; a GTX 1050 and equivalent could run the game in high and ultra settings on 1080p.
Running the game on 4K/60fps makes you think this is the Crysis Remastered game. You’d probably need the upcoming Nvidia RTX 30 series GPUs for such a feat. Lucky for you, it does have plenty of graphical options to turn on and off on the PC version.
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Action & gameplay
I bet you have a good idea of how the game works by now, so I’m keeping the last sections shorter.
The action is cool, at first. Playing as Ms. Marvel on the first mission of establishing a base, it’s probably the best part of the game. She feels fleshed out, agile, and real. Her powers are also interesting, dynamic, and distinct.
The single-player campaing is enjoyable. It’s a great Avengers story that shows plenty of love for its source material.
Ms. Marvel does the initial job by finding the helicarrier where the Avengers will set shop. The rest of the gameplay follows her, saving the other characters and taking them back to the ship.
The action is also enjoyable. Each character has a heavy, light, and ranged attacks. They also have a set of special moves, combos, parries, and dodges.
Then, you’ll unlock new skills with the XP you earn on the missions. The abilities make each character feel unique and different from each other. They offer a fair amount of options, heroic abilities, synergies, masteries, and overall fun. In that regard, Crystal Dynamics did a fantastic job.
The downside is the AI is quite dumb. You can choose to play the levels or the side quests with AI companions, but the AI is so bad it’s better to go without computer-controlled teams.
Multiplayer & end-game
Aside from the single-player campaing, you can go to the ship’s map and choose to jump on the game’s side-quest and boss battles. Here’s where you get the chance to play with a team of up to 4 friends.
These Marvel’s Avengers online multiplayer levels are pretty basic. Moreover, they display the reward on your hub’s map very cleary. Rewards are a set of boots, a weapon, some coins, or some XP. They also display the difficulty level.
The multiplayer maps are better than what we see on the single-player campaing. They are open, vast, and give you plenty of opportunities to smash your foes with your friends.
However, once you see a multiplayer map, you’ve seen and played all of them. It can feel repetitive quickly. Furthermore, this grind game follows the kind of quests you don’t want to find on a game so focused on the lore.
Side quests are about fetching things or defeating enemies.
The future of Marvel’s Avengers
With all of that said, I must still point the future of the game looks promising.
Square Enix promises free DLCs, expansions, and addons for free. That means there’s going to be a story, campaigns, and levels to play for years to come simply by paying the base game.
I’m optimistic about the future of Marvel’s Avengers. Most games like this take a few patches and updates to get things together. Moreover, the studio is delivering all of its DLCs and expansions for free.
A year from now, we could be playing a Destiny 2 expansion-size free DLC for free. And, with each passing year, Crystal Dynamics has the chance of taking the game forward.
Marvel’s Avengers failed to deliver on its promise of being like “Destiny 2 but with super-heroes.” It lacks the same end-game elements and misses the mark on its RPG elements.
What would you rate Marvel’s Avengers?
Still, the game puts a lot of heart into its single-player campaing. With plenty of character-driven moments, a great dynamic between the protagonist duo, and a story to follow with each titular Avenger, the game has a lot to offer before you even get to the end game.
With all of that said, Marvel’s Avengers doesn’t have the dynamics, the diversity, the graphical quality, the animation quality, or the enemy AI any other game in its genre has. It’s just average. If this were made with original heroes instead of the Avengers, the game would be anywhere.
What do you think? Leave your take on the comments below!
Even though it packs a great plot and plenty of character-driven moments, it fails on most everything else.