To say Marvel’s Avengers game is divisive would be an understatement. From its very first showing, you had a bunch of people rallying against it – thanks to the shoehorned GAAS elements, and the hate got stronger after the open betas failed to impress. And while a lot of the disdain regarding the shoehorning of these elements is valid, the game is actually a lot of fun and boasts of a solid single player campaign. That being said, we haven’t managed to experience everything this game has to offer – partly due to bugs, broken matchmaking and an ongoing end game component that takes some time to experience.
So if like many, you find yourself on the fence, here are some thoughts that may help you with your decision.
The campaign is surprisingly charming
The Avengers’ campaign takes place after the fateful events that transpire on “A” day, a day that is ironically celebrating the Avengers. A series of catastrophic events rock San Francisco during this event and The Avengers are blamed for it. They are deemed too dangerous to operate and are shortly disbanded. During this time, Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel, the biggest Avengers fan on the planet refuses to believe her heroes could do any wrong, and embarks on a quest to prove their innocence. Not only does she put the band back together, but she saves San Francisco this time as well.
While I do admit that Khan’s over the top excitement 24/7 was annoying for me personally, she does have a certain amount of sincerity to her, and eventually becomes the glue that binds the team together. Other more well known actors like Troy Banker and Laura Bailey also do a great job in bringing their Marvel counterparts to life (even though they obviously don’t sound like their MCU counterparts). The villains on the other hand just aren’t menacing or convincing enough. #bringbackthanos
The campaign is a mix of bombastic set-pieces you would expect from a Tomb Raider game, followed by moments of fan service that’ll have Marvel fans grinning from ear to ear. Throughout the campaign you’ll also have extensively played as each of the Avengers, so by the end of it, you’ll have a fair idea of who your favourite character for end game content would be.
Avengers has been designed as an all out third person brawler with heavy RPG elements. The combat is surprisingly solid, and each character plays quite differently. The RPG elements allow for some diverse builds, so your Hulk could perform quite well as a tank who has certain healing abilities, while mine could concentrate on pure damage output. It’s very flexible in that regard.
The heroes also work really well with one another. Hulk isn’t super effective against flying enemies, but Iron Man could easily wipe them out, while Hulk or say Kamala could take care of all the mobs on the ground. This mixing and matching of heroes is essential during the more challenging levels where every single enemy hits like a tank.
Unfortunately, due to matchmaking being broken on the PS4, I couldn’t co-op any mission with a friend, but the bots are not too bad. Sure you can’t command them to stand at a certain place, or attack a particular threat, but they will almost always revive you. And trust me, you’ll be grateful for that because this game has some of the worst challenge spikes I’ve experienced in a while. I remember this mission as the Hulk where we had to stand on a tiny circle for a certain time – during which you’re attacked from all sides by enemies, who also happen to deal frost damage (this freezes you on the spot). Not only do you have to be aware of both ranged and close enemies, but you have to stay on a tiny circle, revive your teammates and make sure you don’t get one shotted by enemies.
Rinsing and repeating
Apart from the tailored, set-piece heavy campaign missions, a lot of the individual hero quests feel same-ish. Go to a base, destroy a reactor/rescue some people, kill everyone and leave. Except for Kamala, nearly every other Avengers quest chain plays out like this. And with no tangible loot for the character, these seem unrewarding. Speaking of reward, we’ve addressed this in our beta impressions piece also, but having a game built around loot where the loot isn’t visible is a huuuuuuuuge bummer.
The only thing I can do is swap one invisible upgrade for another to get a stat boost, and that’s not going to impress a lot of gamers who aren’t stat chasers. I know Marvel is super anal with the way their characters look, but think about how much you could customise your DC character in Injustice 2. I would have happily grinded these repetitive missions if I had the allure of better looking loot to deck my characters out with.
The game’s performance starts fine with it being able to hold 30 FPS, but as you progress through missions, it’s all over the place. During certain missions – when there’s a lot going on screen, the game can even dip all the way down to single digits. Besides that performance hit, cut-scenes immediately after a loading screen also tend to stutter a lot, and at time the cut-scene audio doesn’t sync with the visuals.
During one pivotal cut-scene, I even lost all audio – and subtitles and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I’ve also faced numerous bugs during gameplay where some characters just stop moving, or certain events don’t trigger so I have to restart a checkpoint. And one time, the game just randomly decided to blur everything around me, forcing me to play through a lengthy section all over again. And I’m not exaggerating but Avengers has the worst loading I’ve experienced in a while. Not only is the game plagued with loading screens for every single thing you do, but each one of them is painfully long.
At this point you’re probably thinking I didn’t like the game, and that’s the weird bit. I really enjoyed my time with this game – warts and all. A lot of the issues I have with Avengers can be rectified with a few patches, but till then, only pick this one up if you’re a diehard Marvel fan.