After what feels like years of teases, hype, trailers and war tables Marvel’s Avengers has finally smashed onto the scene. Traditionally when reviewing a game we would play it completely comb over our likes and dislikes and share our opinions with you in a hopefully helpful and informative way. This time however I am going to try something different, I’m allowed too being the boss and all. But also I’m a dad with limited time on my hands so reviewing a game in full in the traditional format would result in a rushed review way after the game has released. I don’t have the luxury of spending hours in front of a TV crunching this massive RPG until I’ve explored every nook and cranny. Instead I play when I can usually via remote play on a Samsung tablet (more on that later) or late at night, half in the bag, after everyone has gone to sleep. As I said not ideal but we are going to work with what we got.
Due to the scale and design of this game I felt it would be best to explore in gradually as we progress through the eyes of a gamer and Marvel fan. This way I selfishly get to jabber on endlessly until I finish the game and you get to stay up to date with my progress hopefully helping inform any future or present purchase decisions.
The Story so Far…
So let’s begin.
As of this first publishing I’m only maybe 2-3 hours in and am still getting through some of the tutorial stuff. I’ve played the opening bridge mission from the BETA and have now been introduced to the aftermath and our lead player Kamal Khan but I have yet to really open up the game or meet any other characters beyond a brief interaction with the Hulk that again felt like more tutorial than anything. So most of this is going to be initial impressions with cautious optimism.
The opening segment is cinematic and epic, and I think we’ve all seen it by now so not a lot to say other than playing as all the heroes both feels familiar and different. Time will tell if its different enough to feel unique and satisfying or it just boils down to the most basic of variations.
Once we get past that opening segment the story really opens up beyond what we saw in the BETA, we get a much longer introduction of Kamala again giving us some tutorial as we walk through an Avengers sponsored fan-event on their new Helicarrier the Chimera. Unfortunately for Kamala and the Avengers SHIELD’s new power source has some unexpected consequences. Bad guys attack, the city is destroyed and Inhumans are born all in one fool swoop with the blame squarely on The Avengers.
And that’s where our Campaign technically begins as we take control of Kamala once again but this time thanks to her exposure to the Terrigan on the Chimera, she is a powerful inhuman. In this new world overseen by A.I.M being inhuman is a crime and Kamala is on the hunt to take down A.I.M while reuniting The Avengers.
During the BETA the concern with Avengers was it’s gameplay would become stagnant and repetitive. Luckily now that we have the full version so far that isn’t the case. As I progress through the beginning of the game, much of which is obviously tutorial, you find the game-play varies from Stealth, to platforming, then some beat’em up action.
The punchy punchy stuff is definitely the most fun, obviously and playing as Khan in the Hulk in the early game only makes the action feel that much better. You get to really feel big, powerful and capable as Khan and the gameplay does a great job of reflecting that. And while it was nice to see variations in the gameplay I felt the stealth and platforming were just tedious and more often than not the only time I died during my progress so far. The platforming is too floaty and lose while needing precision and unfortunately these don’t mesh and the result is you falling and getting an extended load screen. And the stealth is just boring or I’m bad at it either way I didn’t find it fun at all.
There is hope that the other characters can improve on the various gamplay mechanics but only time will tell, so stay tuned…
The Progress Continues
I am now much further along in the game and have added Tony Stark as well as Black Widow to my team. The Story has really opened up as well as some side missions but due to the interest of time, I’ll be saving most of those for later.
Iron Man and Black Widow do bring some added variation to the gameplay as Iron Man acts more as a ranged character, really excelling as he soars above the crowd raining rockets. While Widow seems to be focused on a mid range character, a little range and a little beat’em, but she is much quicker and combo heavy than Kamala or The Hulk. As much as the gameplay is pretty similar across the characters it does offer enough variation to not feel completely stagnant, although I am most looking for to playing as Thor and have yet to reach that milestone.
The story continues to be everything you really want from an Avengers tale, high action and intrigue with a lot of heart. Kamala is undoubtedly the star and it really helps to sell the heart of the game and heroism of these characters. Seeing them through her POV gives you a reinvigorated fanboy feeling of your first interaction with these characters in real life. There is a lot of hope and optimism in Kamala which is the perfect balance to the dower and defeated Avengers.
So far as we get a little past half way through the main campaign, my only real complaints are the enemy variation and the gear system.
Enemies are boring so far. Having A.I.M be the only antagonist really limits the enemy variations as we are just fighting the same dudes 95% of the time, and if they need to boost them up a bit the game provides them with shielding. And to follow this, where are all the Marvel villains? So far only Taskmaster and Abomniation have shown up and I am really hoping we get a lot more as the campaign progresses but so far there aren’t many signs pointing to other Avenger villains appearing.
Now onto my biggest complaint; the gear system. It’s just a mess from top to bottom but my biggest gripe is you can’t even see the gear. They are essentially just numbers plastered on meaningless models that are never seen in-game. I get the fact costumes and cosmetics are a big thing for Marvel characters and games, but you could have easily done both and allowed for players to create their own variations or gather sets of gear to assemble iconic costumes. Seeing how this game is a GaaS and will be evolving as time goes on, I do see a scenario where they “fix” the gear system as it appears to be the biggest complaint I’ve seen but I’m not really sure how much of that is even possible.
Outside of the fact your essentially just equipping numbers and buffs, the gear uses a boost system that allows you to level it up with you as you go. This means you are tasked with now collecting what feels like an infinite amount of currency items that are used to boost the different types of gear. Its completely nonsensical but seems to be a standard troupe with the GaaS games. And honeslty while its dumb, you barely notice it and just collect all the boxes and currency you can anyway regardless of what color it is or what gear it can upgrade.
That being said I am still very much enjoying my experience with Avengers and am itching to get back to the action…