I love it. It’s exactly what I expected it to be and I absolutely love it. Sure, it has some problems, but as an overall package Marvel’s Avengers is a blockbuster ride with a lot of heart, character and a lot of fun time.
The single-player campaign is fantastic and does a great job of introducing you to this Avengers universe. It starts with A-Day, a day for celebrating the Avengers and their victories. You get to play as a young Kamala Khan, a true Avengers superfan who practically knows everything around her favorite heroes. During A-Day, she gets to interact with all of the Avengers in one way or another and these sequences are charming, full of heart and wonder and a big up goes to the voice actress of Kamala who perfectly conveys all of these emotions. I was there, along with Kamala, smiling and grinning and fangirling all over the Avengers.
But in a superhero thingy fashion, stuff happens, shit hits the fan, the Avengers kinda save the day, but there is a lot of casualties, and many more are turned into Inhumans. Many hearings later the Avengers are disbanded and are labeled as the bad guys for causing all of the pain on A-Day. Of course, there are a couple of actual bad guys pulling the strings behind the scenes and as Kamala, five years later, that’s exactly what you’ll try to uncover clearing the Avengers name and reassembling back the team.
Her journey is fantastic and really well executed both in terms of where she goes, what she does, who she meets, what happens to her, but also on a personal level as she learns who she is, what her powers mean and how can she make a difference in the grand scheme of things. It’s beautiful to see her reach her true potential basically saving the day. So she is great, what about the rest of the Avengers? Well, they are brought to life or performed by some of the best voice actors and actresses out there, voice actors royalty basically, so that should tell you all you need to know. Bruce Banner is calm, very zen-like, but at the same time, there’s something troubling him, something that makes him want to forget. Tony Stark is still the genius billionaire philanthropist douchebag acting all tough on the exterior, but you know that’s a defense mechanism. Thor is well, Thor – God of Thunder full of pride trying to fit in a world without the Avengers. Black Widow is someone who never stopped fighting and searching for the truth since A-Day. Cap well, god rest his soul… in space. The main villain George Tarleton who later becomes MODOK is also brilliantly brought to life and even though he is a funky-ass character to look at with that big head, he is quite menacing and posses a real challenge to the Avengers.
The writers, 3D artists, animators and performers had a really tough task ahead of them the moment this game was announced. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big big big thing and we all know that RDJ is Tony Stark, Chris Evans is our Captain, and so on for the rest of the perfectly cast actors and actresses. Well, Marvel’s Avengers, the game, has a unique and beautifully written story we haven’t seen in the MCU yet, the character models and their animations are exceptionally well done so each Avenger looks, feels, and sounds differently while still familiar enough to MCU fans. The campaign features some bombastic and spectacular set-pieces that surpass what we’ve seen in the movies.
Combat is a mix of light and heavy attacks, blocking and countering incoming attacks and unleashing powerful signature heroic attacks. Each character has a unique move set both in terms of combat and movement abilities. Each character feels good in your hand, some more than others, and the extensive skill trees can drastically change a character’s attacks, abilities, and playstyle. It’s really fun to explore, try and play around choosing different skills, as you can freely do so for the Specialty and Mastery skill trees, and if you don the correct gear you might end up with a pretty overpowered character build.
Yes, gear. I talked about it in the Beta Impressions I wrote and it still feels unimportant, at least for the first few hours of the game. The main reason for that is because gear doesn’t really change your hero’s appearance, it only affects the stats of your character. Later in the game and especially when you start the online/live service part of the game, you need to be more hands-on with the loot as those might combine with your skills creating some devastating builds. For example, I created a pretty much invincible Iron Man who got a crazy boost of defense, an insane boost to the attack power and health/energy regeneration plus some other things when my health was low. It’s interesting, but as I said, you have to put in the work to read all of the perks, check what stats get boosted, and how everything works with your current hero skills. After a while, I didn’t have time for all of that and I just went ahead picking the highest-numbered gear I had, boosted it to the max using the collected materials during the gameplay, and repeat. The easiest fix for this, in my opinion, is for Crystal Dynamics to add some exotic gear with custom perks that transform the heroes in cool ways and let everyone know about these exotics on Twitter or during one of their War Table streams. That’s why I played the Vault of Glass 20 or so times, just so that I could get that exotic Mythoclast. I will grind to get these exotics, everyone playing the game will grind to get these exotics.
Grind huh? Nowadays, saying “games as a service” is the same as saying the game is the spawn of Satan and we need it to burn it with fire or toss it in holy water…? Anyway, if you think just for a second, all games who have a multiplayer mode are basically “games as a service”. They all have one or more ways to monetize the user like selling skins, colors, emotes, player packs, race tracks packs, car packs, weapons packs, map packs, expansion packs, boost/shortcut packs, and LOOT BOXES just to keep you playing the game, so you buy more stuff. I have never had any problems with these types of games. I loved Destiny 1 and 2 as I basically lived inside of those games. The Division games, love them, couldn’t care less about the cosmetic stuff.
I feel exactly the same about Marvel’s Avengers. The campaign, in my opinion, is enough to justify the full purchase of the game alone. Then after you finish the campaign, you have more hero missions to complete which are optional but expand the universe. Then after you finish those, you have the multiplayer missions like War Zones, Drop Zones, Shield Vaults, AIM Labs, etc. that you can keep playing over and over again. During all this, you will level up your heroes, unlock unique skills, get loot, and progress through each hero’s challenge card, the battle pass equivalent here, which is totally free for the first 6 heroes in the game. Yes, you can unlock the skins, emotes, and all of the cosmetic stuff with real money or buy them directly from the Marketplace, but that’s completely optional and it’s only cosmetic stuff. Also, all of the future gameplay content like new heroes, missions, raids, etc. will be completely free for everyone. So why should I not be happy about this? Why should I complain that this game sells completely optional cosmetics? Or should I complain that in a few months we will get Kate Bishop, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and many other unannounced heroes completely for free? Nah, I won’t complain. I hope the marketplace sells a lot of stuff so that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are happy enough to continue supporting Marvel’s Avengers for years to come.
The Chimera, a Shield helicarrier, and the Ant-Hill serve as hubs where you walk around and talk to different characters, pick up different assignments from each of the two available factions, buy new gear and start missions via the War Table. This is basically what you’ll do in the endgame, pick up assignments, go out in the world to complete missions, return and get the rewards. It’s a simple loop, that might get repetitive after a while and we will see that, but it’s still way to early to know that. You have 6 heroes you can play as where each feels unique and has his/her own unique stuff for you to unlock. It’s a long journey to get all your heroes to the 150 Power Level cap and I, myself, am really enjoying that journey.
Visually speaking, the game is stunning. The material work is just fantastic, the particle effects are crazy and the environments look great with some interesting and beautiful architecture designs and are filled to the brim with destructible stuff which is exactly what you need when you play a superhero game. Characters are beautifully rendered, animated, and performed. As for the performance, it’s not good. I played the game on my PS4 Pro and it dropped frames more often than not in every combat scenario. During the final boss fight, the game literally turned into a Powerpoint presentation where it was running at a one-digit framerate. I kinda get why that happens though, with all of the stuff that’s up on screen, the particles, the physics, the AI, and everything else the current-gen consoles struggle to keep up. Visual and audio glitches are aplenty, but they don’t really detract you from enjoying the game, on the contrary, it’s kinda funny seeing Cap’s face basically melt when using the WW2 costume or seeing a bald Black Widow.
Marvel’s Avengers is a fantastic start to what, hopefully, will become better with each content drop. The story and characters are very well executed, everything looks stunning, the gameplay is a lot of fun and there’s already a lot of stuff to do in the game. Microtransactions are there but are not intrusive, cosmetics only and you can unlock most of them by just playing the game. As an added bonus, if you own the game now, you will get the next-gen upgrade for free and I cannot wait to swing around as Spider-Man on my PlayStation 5. Yeah, I love the game and I see myself playing it for a long time. I highly recommend getting this game as it is a lot of fun. Thanks for reading.
Marvel’s Avengers is now available on PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One. The game was reviewed on a PS4 Pro using a review code provided by the publisher.