Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action-adventure game
Composer: Bobby Tahouri
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
Developers: Crystal Dynamics, Crystal Northwest, Eidos-Montréal, Nixxes Software BV
Designers: Alisha Thayer, Magali Stretton
Link to Purchase
PS4 Standard Edition: https://amzn.to/3lQqZNv
PS4 Deluxe Edition: https://amzn.to/356Xq4D
PS4 Earth's Mightiest Edition: https://amzn.to/2QYtS0J
Xbox One Standard Edition: https://amzn.to/3i1oaXM
Xbox One Deluxe Edition: https://amzn.to/2F87MGa
Xbox One Earth's Mightiest Edition: https://amzn.to/32ZPNKA
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
With so much having happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its 10+ year run with all of its characters and interwoven games and overlapping plot lines, you’d be hard pressed to find a new entry point to tell an additional story in the overall Marvel Universe that’s not compressed with so much going on. Enter Marvel’s Avengers, a new game that while seeming to be part of the MCU is actually entirely separate from it and tells a new original story following our favorite cast of heroes as they have to come together after a devastating event known as A-Day a face a new threat in a game centered on being service oriented or similar to Destiny and Warframe in taking a core concept and running it over the course of several years allowing players to play the game in both single player and in multiplayer with friends online. Square-Enix (of Final Fantasy fame) and Crystal Dynamics (of Tomb Raider fame) have come together to deliver this experience that they promise will be supported for years to come with new content, story, characters and more; the question now is will this game be able to deliver on its promises of being the definitive not only Avengers video game, but the definitive super hero experience, let’s dive in and find out!
The story kicks off following Avenger’s teenage superfan Kamala Khan as she heads to an Avenger’s unveiling of their second headquarters in San Francisco event with her father Abu. Kamala roams around the Avenger’s event and runs into other fans and partakes in a collect-a-thon of comic books to gain access to other parts of the event. Kamala runs into several of the Avengers from Thor to Captain America and even Iron Man. After the show of the expo starts, explosions start going off in the surrounding area which prompts the Avengers into action. The Avengers battle a mysterious band of mercenaries led by the longtime rival of the Avengers, Taskmaster, who battles with Black Widow while Thor and Hulk and Iron-Man take on the mercenary band while Captain America is on the Chimera Heli carrier fighting the terrorists there which ultimately leads to the destruction of the Terrigen-Crystal which is destroyed leading to the death of Captain America and the release of Terrigen Mist which creates the InHuman-Disease causing countless civilians to become what’s known as the super powered beings: InHumans. This event, known as A-Day, leads to the disbanding of the Avengers and the rise of the conglomerate known as A.I.M.
The gameplay is a mission based third-person action adventure style brawler that has you playing as any of the 6 initially playable Avengers as you select missions from the Chimera’s WarTable. Depending on the mission you select, you will be able to play missions with a singular character or have a team of 2, 3, and up to 4 heroes of which you can play any of these missions in a single player style with the CPU controlling the other heroes or with other players that are online assembling a team to go out and tackle the various missions.
Each of the 6 Avengers play differently from one another with Captain America being a brawler that can combine his boxing and kickboxing skills with his shield attacks, Thor playing similar to Kratos from 2018’s God of War with his hammer attacks mixed with lighting strikes and AOE abilities, Ms. Marvel using her stretching abilities to grapple enemies and be a good medium to long range fighter, Black Widow playing like a mix of Laura Croft mixed with Max Payne and Batman, Iron-Man playing almost point for point like he was pulled from Anthem, and finally The Hulk who just………HULK SMASH!!!
Combat really boils down to alternating between light and heavy attacks along with character specific abilities and dodging. It sounds simple but it can be strategic in practice and theory when you include doing things to increase aggro and more.
Missions play out with you having to either secure various points by standing in their highlighted squares or circles while a bar raises as you compete with the enemies to get 100% on the meter or with you having to defeat all enemies in an area and fight a level boss as well as levels having you save captured InHumans or levels having you destroy certain objects and even missions that have you doing everything mentioned above. Any of these missions can be completed in any order and offer additional story elements to flesh out more of the characters and the world and lore. There are also training room better known as HARM room missions that have you in a contained room needing to complete certain objectives such as parrying attacks, executing perfect dodges, or fighting wave after wave of enemies.
There are also timed event missions where you have to have to complete various objectives and execute certain actions in them to get access to some nice items and equipment similar in ways to other service based games like Destiny and Warframe and even MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV. You can even do faction missions for Shield which give you experience and items.
The game has RPG elements to it along with a skill tree system allowing you to not only level up your character but gain new moves an abilities along with equipment giving you passive and active buffs. With equipment you can use the materials found in missions to upgrade them to increase your damage output as well as defense levels and cooldown speed for your abilities and gain the buffs I spoke of earlier. You’re also able to dismantle your equipment to get more materials that can be used to upgrade equipment and accessories that you do like and with how much equipment you gain from defeating enemies and exploring levels its fine to not try to horde items. You’ll gain items and equipment that have varying levels as well as being either common, rare, or legendary which you can either find in missions or from the various shops available on the Chimera.
When I saw this game at E3 2019 after spending 3 hours in line to see it; to say I was INCREDIBLY underwhelmed would be a MASSIVE understatement. At no point when I finally got to see the reveal of Marvel’s Avengers did I feel that this game at all looked good and especially compared to Square-Enix’s upcoming (at the time) Final Fantasy VII Remake and thus the game fell off my radar. Fast forward a year and a half later and the game was majorly overhauled and all for the better!
No matter what you play this on the game looks incredible from the character models to the enemies, environments and the destruction caused and more! The visual upgrades done to Cap and the crew is truly astounding and I’m glad to see so much of the details from dust and dirt and more showcased on the characters. The in-game engine cutscenes truly shine as they look fantastic with so much detail in the lip syncing to the muscles flexing and more making it hard at times to not think you’re looking at life like characters.
On console you have the capability of running the game at 1080p 60FPS on the base PS4 and Xbox One and 4K 30FPS on the Pro and One X variations. On PC you can run the game to whatever your max settings are as I ran the game at 4K 60FPS with HDR10 turned on connected to my main gaming monitor and on my ultrawide monitor I ran the game at 1080P 144HZ with HDR10 in ultrawide format and at no point did I have any snags or hang-ups in performance with these settings.
One last thing to bring up is if you buy this on PS4 or Xbox One then you get a free upgrade to the next gen versions on PS5 and Xbox Series X which guarantees you’ll have a next gen game to play even if it’s a port of a current gen game.
The voice acting here is superb with the likes of Nolan North, Troy Baker, Sandra Saad, Jenifer Hale, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, and Jeff Schine at the helm delivering an Oscar worthy performance as the Avengers. Jeff Schine shines (no pun intended) in his role as Captain America complete with his Brooklyn accent and more giving authenticity to Cap that he lacked in the MCU. Nolan North is great at portraying Tony Stark, however, he does slip into his Nathan Drake voice quite often and Troy Baker does a great job capturing all the nuances of Bruce Banner including his quirkiness and dry humor. Laura Bailey is the definitive Black Widow bringing a level of badassery to the role with her take on the iconic agent making you think that no one stands a chance against her should they step to her. Sandra Saad excels in her role as Kamala Khan bringing the idealistic teenage fan girl to life with what is the most believable sounding character I’ve heard in some time.
The soundtrack is well done even if no songs ultimately stand out, everything fits the scenes that they are played in. The sounds of explosions and punches and especially the slams done by The Hulk when he grabs foes all have that theatrical weight to them sounding oh so perfect.
While many complain about the microtransactions in the game, I personally don’t have any issues with them given that you DON’T HAVE TO SPEND ANY MONEY UNLESS YOU WANT TO. Everything in the game can be unlocked by playing the game as it is and grinding and if you don’t want or don’t have the time to spend on grinding then you can spend real world money anywhere from 5$ up to 99$ to get credits that you can use to unlock costumes and more in the game. Again, THE MICROTRANSACTIONS ARE NOT FORCED ON YOU AND ARE OPTIONAL!
The only true downside I experienced was with my review copy prior to launch on Steam running into some hiccups such as being stuck in walls in the HARM levels and having framerate and performance issues due to a lack of optimization. Thankfully that was all taken care of with a patch on launch day.
Well actually a second downer is the fact that Spider-Man is exclusive to the PS4 and PS5 so if you have the Steam, Stadia, or Xbox One/Series X version then you’re out of luck which while I get the reasoning behind it as an incentive to sway buyers to that platform is ultimately in my opinion anti-consumer and scummy business practices on Sony’s end.
Avengers is a game I believe will have a lot of people split on due to content creators bashing the game for being repetitive (to them at least) and the microtransactions which they all seem to be focusing on for negative press towards the game, however, I feel like the general people who actually sit down with the game will truly come to love it as I have and find a lot to love here and plenty of fun to be had especially if playing with friends. With 6 unique initial characters to choose from, varied gameplay with mission based structure, a well thought out and executed plot with an amazing voice cast, and the promise to support the game for years to come with addition content and heroes to play as; Marvel’s Avengers is a game YOU NEED in your collection!