I’m a huge fan of both Marvel and the Avengers and was excited when Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics confirmed they would be bringing their take on this to gamers in 2020.
Like most, I was thinking of their previous work on the Tomb Raider reboot and the type of story-based 3rd person action-adventure game they would be able to make. I was a big fan of those three games (yes, even the 3rd one) and like most people, though this could be a great pairing for a big-budget Marvel Avengers game.
The first looks were ok, but fans quickly started to get concerned as more information was released on what it would be like. The biggest issue was that this would be a GAAS (games as a service) style title. Fans were upset this would be nothing but a cash cow for the makers to milk funds from players.
Unfortunately by the time of its release, it looked already like the game had become something of an easy punch bag for players to take aim at. Too many decisions made on its development were at odds with that players had hoped for.
I was willing to take a chance on it, if only due to my love of Iron Man and there being no other options. Unless you have a Switch and could dip into Marvels Ultimate Alliance 3 (although even if I could, that game isn’t really my type of game), you don’t have a ton of options to suit up.
At release, the reception to the game was highly mixed with reviewers praising the story and combat but also taking issue with the amount of content, technical issues and repetition.
This did mean I backed off from my initial plans of a day one purchase, but after the release of the “War for Wakanda” DLC featuring Black Panther (another favourite of mine), the time was right to pick up a cheap copy on a Steam sale and see what was on offer. It’s also now been added to the ever-expanding library of Gamepass titles so this could be the last go for the game to get players in the door.
I’ll start by saying, I don’t think the game is as bad as many have made out. It does have its issues, and some of them could have been easily addressed, but fans of the comics and movies can find a lot to enjoy here. Firstly plenty of content has been added since the release. Here is a list of whats came so far:
- Tachyon Anomaly
- Red Room Takeover
- Cosmic Cube
- Wasteland Patrol
- War for Wakanda
War for Wakanda is the biggest of the above and offers a sizable chunk of story content. I’ve enjoyed it and the base story enough that if you can get the game on Gamepass or pick it up cheap on sale, I’d say go for it. The base story is pretty good and it’s nice to see it focus on Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) rather than one of the more established members of the rosters.
The story sees her gain her powers after a terrorist attack against the Avengers and the people of San Franciso. This results in the Avengers disbanding and then 5 years later Kamala has to bring the team back together to take down the rising enemy threat.
It can be repetitive, but as new skills and abilities are gained when levelling up any of the player’s characters, the fighting system comes into its own and there are multiple ways to battle the bad guys. It is a bit of a grind to do this but worth it in the end.
Although additional costumes for characters can be earned or bought (yes I bought the Endgame Iron Man outfit and it looks glorious), it is annoying to see that the gear system in place amounts to nothing but increased stats. No matter what you collect it never changes how characters look. This is a massive misstep as it could have been made to let players truly make their own personal version of a character.
This change could also have helped with one of the games other big issues. Online multiplayer. This could have let multiple versions of the same character be played at the same time. Although this was added during a post-release event, at launch you all had to play as different characters. It could have been fun having 4 slightly different Iron Mans all teaming up.
Multiplayer is a grind and a rehash of the same enemies and areas that are featured in the story of the main game. it’s not for me but some may find joy here.
Now on to what may have upset the biggest number of players the most……Spiderman.
Although the character has been confirmed for some time, Spidy has yet to arrive and has been delayed a few times. Even when he does, only some people will be able to experience him. He’ll only be available to Playstation players. It’s a smart move for Sony….tie down one of the popular members of the Avengers and use it as a selling point to play on their platform. Players however feel like this is a little harsh as outside of the most recent Spiderman solo game, the character has been featured on all platforms in titles like Marvels Ultimate Alliance.
Although the game hasn’t performed as expected, more content is due to drop in the next few months to try and both keep existing players and bring new ones to the game. I appreciate that so far at least, the developers have committed to the game and trying to fix some of the issues players feedback at release.
Lessons learned it seems, as It doesn’t look like the same mistake will be made again. Square Enix has redeemed themselves recently, a little at least, as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy just dropped to positive reviews across the board and fan reception.
To finish up, don’t avoid the Avengers game. If you can give it a try and it’s on sale, there is a good amount of fun to be had. However, don’t go in expecting a life-changing experience, it’s dumb fun and I think the game knows this itself.