It is hard to believe we have not been given a real, triple-A Marvel’s Avengers experience on consoles, despite all the money being poured into movies and TV shows. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, Marvel’s Avengers sits at the top as the only true, epic superhero experience on consoles set in the Marvel universe.
While there are some gameplay issues, as many large open world games do, I believe this experience comes close to matching the quality the Avengers franchise is known for.
Marvel’s Avengers Details
Platforms: PlayStation 4,Xbox One, Stadia and PC
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action-adventure, role-playing game, beat ’em up
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Reassemble the Avengers and defend the Earth from A.I.M.
The game opens onto the Avengers celebrating the opening of a new headquarters in San Francisco. Those in attendance, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor are quickly thrown into battle as Taskmaster terrorizes and destroys much of the city.
Five years later, with superheroes made illegal and a former Avengers scientist working for A.I.M., a young girl in New Jersey named Kamala Khan finds video footage that leads her on a wild adventure that involves all those Avengers from five years prior. Together, they must all work together to save the world.
Using the perspective of Kamala Khan, also known as Ms. Marvel, to begin the adventure is a brilliant move. Watching her rise from a teen obsessed Avengers fan, into an Avenger herself, is a great way to drive the story forward. I feel her story arch alone is the main draw to this game and any gameplay issues are secondary.
Embrace your superhero powers
Marvel’s Avengers has two main modes, the campaign and the Avengers Initiative multiplayer experience. While both are accessible from the beginning, playing through the campaign first, and understanding the different controls, goes a long way in preparing you for online.
Each hero feels unique, although the gameplay at times does come down to fierce button mashing. And, the leveling up and gear system is fairly tame for an epic adventure such as this, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In addition, you gain levels, earn perks, and level up gear. Although these various systems sound confusing on paper, they are fairly straight forward and well thought out when you are actually engaging with them.
Despite all the characters being unique in their appearance and move sets, I feel the game does little to bring that uniqueness over to the controls. Understandably, you can’t really fault the developers here. Being able to swap between Avengers for different missions means you’re never stuck learning something new. Different attack types are mapped to different buttons, with the right trigger is your defense. In true action adventure game form, combining different button combinations will allow you to perform outstanding combos when fighting A.I.M.
The inclusion of Heroic Abilities is an outstanding way for the development team to keep the gameplay feeling consistent, while giving each character a slight unique feel. Each hero has the ability to perform one of three heroic abilities, all of which are controlled by a cool-down timer before they can be used again.
Running through crashing buildings as Tony Stark, building your Iron Man suit as you go, is as enjoyable as exploring old A.I.M facilities as Ms. Marvel. Throughout the 10-15 hour campaign, there are very few lows, which makes for what I believe is an epic, Avengers campaign.
Beautifully rendered cinematic story
Marvel’s Avengers delivers a clean, beautiful experience. While the character models are easily the most impressive part of the game, the environments are also stellar to look at, at least the first few times you trudge through them in the campaign.
Some of the environments do get reused, and by the time you’ve completed the main campaign and played through some of the multiplayer, you’ll begin seeing familiar A.I.M. facilities again and again. It doesn’t impact the gameplay, but if you like variety in your games, there will be some disappointment here.
However, the game does suffer from some graphical issues and a few glitches. Although many of these have been addressed in patches since the game launched.
Assemble online with friends
Having the ability to play multiplayer in Marvel’s Avengers is a great addition to the title. For those really invested into the characters and the environments, the loot-grinding multiplayer mode provides more of the same.
There are issues, though. Playing with AI players or random folks online is rarely enjoyable. It was only when playing with friends did I truly enjoy bashing through waves of A.I.M. goons. And, when you and some friends link up as Avengers to rid the world of evil, it’s one heck of a time.
There are new mission types to complete here, as well as loot to gain. I would argue that isn’t why you play multiplayer. You play to fulfill that small desire deep down to be an Avenger yourself. And on that front, I believe this game delivers.
Marvel’s Avengers offers a compelling campaign that is worth the price of admission alone
Marvel’s Avengers is not without its faults, but the campaign following Ms. Marvel is worth the price of entry alone. For those that want to extend their game play experience, the multiplayer offerings provide dozens of hours of additional fun. If you can look past repetitive objectives and some unsatisfying end-game loot, there is a lot of fun to be had here.
If you’ve been enjoying the Marvel film franchise, and want the feeling of being an Avenger yourself, Marvel’s Avengers is the game for you.
+ You get to play as an Avenger, how cool is that!
+ Fantastic 10 hour campaign focusing on Ms. Marvel
+ Unique characters with vastly different Heroic Abilities
– Multiplayer isn’t as enjoyable with AI or random players
– Lots of assets and environments are reused, as are objectives
– Can end up as a ‘button masher’
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MARVEL’S AVENGERS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5