I took part in the Avenger’s Beta a little while ago, and remember it fondly enough. Although the gear/levelling etc was a bit odd, it played well enough, it looked ok and as a long-time Marvel fan, I hoped it would do well.
It didn’t really….and I decided to hold off until perhaps Square Enix took the opportunity to get it patched-up and into a consistent, fair state.
Now it’s the back end of 2022 and I think its time to give a bash. How does it play? Is there much to do? Is it actually fun? Avengers, thankfully is in a decent place now and it’s great fun, even as a solo player. Let’s dive a little deeper…..
I think the best way to describe Marvel’s Avengers is that it’s a third-person beat-em-up with some MMO-lite features. Kind of a third-person, Marvel-themed Destiny, but with a more melee and variety-focused approach.
I’ve run through the full original campaign “re-assemble” and I’ve had pretty good fun if I’m honest. The story was pretty good, the acting, animation and locales are great and I’ve been smashing robots to pieces with super-powers. It’s largely a comic fan/Avenger’s fan dream.
Beneath the shiny sheen and top-level gameplay, lies the stuff that still needs work. Levelling-up with new gear. Avenger’s takes the standard approach here (a la Destiny). You randomly collect improved gear for your heroes as you progress through missions. This is fine, but it all feels quite meaningless. With star-ratings, buffs and power numbers, there should be plenty to go at here. But unless I need to be in some kind of “end game” state to really see this system in action, it’s always a case of picking the highest number and that’s about it.
Gear pushes your overall power level up, which lets you tackle harder content. Cool! But beyond that it doesn’t feel like a system to hone and craft your ideal version of your favourite Avenger’s. It’s a little hollow and I’m sure a basic XP-levelling system (which also exists) would be just as effective.
My next step is to do online co-op and see if the community is still active. The solo experience has been pretty solid to be honest. There’s something genuinely exhilarating about getting into a big fight, feeling a little overwhelmed, and then seeing The Hulk crash in to help you, or Black Widow shooting enemies around you.
I do wonder if it will get stale quickly. Same missions, same locales etc over and over. The same old story as Destiny and strikes etc. It’s fun and accessible, but without more and more updates in what is essentially a live-service game, I don’t know how quickly it might get boring.
Thankfully, Crystal Dynamics are still adding content to the game and updating players weekly on what’s to come. I think you’re good to go for a while yet. The Winter Soldier is coming next!
There’s a lot to like here. Marvel’s Avenger’s is a solid, and well made experience for a solo player. The loot system feels superfluous, though, and that’s a shame.
Avengers looks pretty great actually. Once you get over the character models/faces not looking like the comics of cinematic universe variants, you just kinda accept it. It’s a bold move on Square Enix’s part, but likely more down to licencing?
During the campaign, cutscenes and set-pieces are fantastic. Character faces and models are great, and everything looks fantastic overall. Added to that is the voice acting and audio which are really pulling their weight, too. There’s some really good stuff here.
The detail and textures in different levels look great, and things like water and sunlight are being pulled off really well here.
Model animation is slick, too. You can tell plenty of time and money was invested into making Avengers a triple-A title. Each hero feels and moves differently, in-line with their skill sets and personalities. This is a lovely sight to behold was you swap between heroes during campaigns.
Gloss and sound do not a triple-A title make, though. So whilst everything looks, feels and sounds fantastic (and it really does), the core gameplay has to hold-up, too.
Avengers is running at 75 frames per second with ease on my 1660 Super GPU on PC. I expected things to steady off, perhaps having to cap frames at 60, but no need.
I do believe that Avengers needs special mention of the acting and motion capture, particularly of the faces. It’s arguably one of the best games I’ve seen in recent years for this. I know these aren’t the cinematic universe actors, but everything is delivered with the right personality and tone. It’s really quite impressive.
Content vs Purchases
Avengers is a little too much for me when it comes to the in-game store. It’s always always always peddling wares to you. Materials and cosmetics.
The stuff is fine, but not worth what they’re charging, and I highly doubt that people need that many skins anyway. There’s plenty to unlock in hero-based campaign mission threads, and to buy in the game from stores anyway. The additional game store is too much.
Too expensive, too intrusive and not really delivering anything worthwhile. It’s a real shame, because one of the first messages I saw when I logged in to start, was about the marketplace, and these persist every time I load in.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of content gameplay wise to have fun with and everything is in there from the get-go now, so no additional DLC to purchase. This is a sensible move by the developer to ensure continued engagement with Marvel’s Avengers after a rocky launch.
Just stop with the “buy our currency for this tat” and making it so aggressive. It’s more frustrating than engaging, and I’d likely buy something if it wasn’t so desperate to force a sale.
The other thing, is that Crystal Dynamics seem to have removed the weird “battlepass per-hero” that I saw in the beta. I was really concerned at how the game was shaping-up to squeeze you for cosmetics at an individual hero level. That’s disappeared, which is great news for all players.
I do wonder if Avengers was released a couple of years later. After the likes of the Ms Marvel TV series had been released, if people would have been keener to get stuck-in from the get-go. It’s all very familiar and you can see lots of touches that new fans would have missed initially?
New fans, old fans or those in between. It doesn’t matter. What matters is if Avengers is actually an appealing package now in 2022. Aside from a loot system that feels redundant, if you take Avengers as just a beat ‘em up co-op game, you’re getting a good package now.
Available on Gamepass, and fortunately for us, after a not-so-stellar launch, you can pick the game up quite cheap on all platforms. Avengers is a great value package.
With all the campaigns available, special modes and events, and online play. There’s plenty to keep you going.
Ignore the (pretty aggressive) store for cosmetics and materials, and you’re golden!