As someone who only recently started appreciating superhero movies, there is a lot to love about the Avengers. The cinematic universe Marvel has created is nothing short of spectacular. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite transfer into the video game world. Marvel’s Avengers provides an entertaining yet unoriginal campaign, and reaching the end is a struggle.
Set in an alternate universe to the popular Avengers movies, the Avengers – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Hulk – celebrate the unveiling of a second headquarters in San Francisco and a Helicarrier, the Chimera. The heartwarming day soon turns south when the Taskmaster attacks San Francisco. This results in the Golden Gate bridge falling, the destruction of the Chimera and the death of Captain America.
“The Avengers Campaign is 30% story, 70% filler.”
The Chimera is powered by a Terrigen Crystal which was also destroyed in the attack. The destruction of the crystal creates a mist that turned countless bystanders into Inhumans. The Avengers disband following the events of what comes to be known as ‘A-Day’, and it is your job to get the band back together.
Marvel’s Avengers has two modes, Campaign and the multiplayer aspect, Avengers Initiative. Both of these modes are heavily linked together. Character progression goes across both modes, and if you level your character up in the campaign, you will have it levelled up in multiplayer. This has its pros and cons. The best part about the game is that you already have a reasonably levelled character for multiplayer when you finish the campaign. The bad part is it makes the campaign feel like a labour-intensive grind.
The campaign starts brilliantly. Kamala Khan was in awe of seeing all the avengers at ‘A-Day’ and so was I. The first few hours of assembling the avengers was exciting until the open-world levels began. Every few hundred meters new enemies would spawn. I’d kill them and then it would repeat. The gameplay soon became extremely repetitive.
Level design in Marvel’s Avengers is quite vast. Some levels take place in the desert and some are set at night in a vibrant city. Alas, this doesn’t last long. Before you know it, you are doing missions in the exact same level, doing the exact same thing; No dialogue or plot changes, just the same level. This is where it became clear how much ‘filler’ the game offered. Using the same levels opens your eyes to how incomplete the game is. It feels lazy and rushed considering the amount of money they have ejected in the game.
“Marvel’s Avengers is all downhill from here.”
As you play through the monotonous gameplay, you are hit with an array of customisation options for each avenger: skill trees, powered gear, cosmetic items and battle passes. The level of freedom is enormous and with the game boasting microtransactions, there is no limit to this.
Each time you level up you are awarded a point for the skill tree split between 3 categories: Primary, Specialty, and Mastery. Each character can be completely customised to your play style as some parts of the skill tree force you to make a choice between 3 options. These include deciding between an increase in critical attack damage or a rise in the critical hit percentage. This unique customisation is the peak of Marvel’s Avengers and statistically, no two avengers would be the same.
Avengers is all downhill from here. The gear loadout is a complete copy from Destiny, and it is almost pointless early game to get excited over rare items as they will become irrelevant as you level up. Cosmetic items also feel locked behind the walls of microtransactions. After completing the campaign, I still was nowhere near able to afford any cosmetic clothing options for any of the Avengers. This feels unnecessary considering you already have to pay for the game in the first place. The battle pass system does offer some free cosmetic options but nothing compared to the store.
“Melee combat is undermined by mediocre ranged gameplay.”
A battle pass system seems to be where every games-as-a-service game is going, and Marvel’s Avengers‘ take on it feels like a bit of a slog. Each Avenger has its own battle pass. You level up the battle pass by completing daily and weekly tasks. The difficulty of these tasks varies but can also be refreshed once a day if you feel dull. Unfortunately, the battle pass skins don’t look very different from the skins you already have. This makes you feel like completing the battle pass is pointless and unrewarding.
Some Avengers feel better than others, but at least each character offers a distinct play style. Marvel’s Avengers is essentially a brawler with characters boasting ranged elements. Black Widow uses guns, which feel powerful, almost more effective than melee combat when powered up correctly. Additionally, Kamala Khan uses her long arms to hit enemies out of the sky or objects. Except ranged combat doesn’t feel right. The ranged combat on some of the characters feels rigid and stiff. There is also no leniency for missing. The hitbox is small, so not hitting the target exactly, leaves her hand flailing in the air. While there is close to no consequence for missing as you can just spam the button, so she keeps throwing her hand, it just feels inefficacious.
“Restarts are discouraging.”
Bug and glitches thwart the gameplay. Many of the characters allow you to grapple onto objects to get on top of buildings. This results in you sometimes reaching places you aren’t supposed to be. The game forced me to restart countless times to the latest checkpoint because I got stuck somewhere.
I also ran into some completely game-breaking glitches, where it felt like I was playing an old PlayStation and the disc was scratched. The audio would be stuck on a loop, and my whole PlayStation was entirely frozen. It left me with no option but to restart my console.
Unfortunately, Marvel’s Avengers provides an entertaining yet unoriginal campaign. Everything you do is a repeat of different games which have done it better. The longer the game goes on, the more repetitive and mindless it feels.