Square Enix’s ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ released on August 14, 2020. It’s now February 2021, which means that it’s reached a 6-month lifespan. The launch of Marvel’s Avengers was….not great to say the least, many fans who were excited for the game were incredibly let down by the lack of content, heroes, and performance of the game. However, Square Enix has had 6 months to improve upon the game in many ways, but how well did they do? How have they improved on the content and gameplay of the game? Have the recent game updates and War Table announcements been enough to keep players engaged and happy with the state of the game? The question we have to ask now…is Marvel’s Avengers worth playing 6 months later? (This review is only for the “Reassemble” Campaign and does not include any post-campaign Operations that were included after launch).
During my play-through of the game, I was running Marvel’s Avengers on PC at “Very High” preset, though I have turned motion blur all the way to 0 (I really just don’t like motion blur while I’m playing games.) My game was run at a resolution of 2560 x 1080, with VSync turned off, in Fullscreen (not Exclusive Fullscreen.) I currently have 16gb of RAM, a 2080 GPU, and an Intel Core i7-8700K CPU running at 3.7GHz. Overall, the game runs smoothly, although I do still get some pretty decent stuttering here and there. I got a pretty consistent 60+ FPS and while it did dip below 60, it did sometimes push up to mid-70s.
The game begins with the story of Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan, and while I am not entirely familiar with her character, I think it goes to show how well Marvel’s Avengers introduces her. It’s great, it makes me connect with the character, and I actually found myself chuckling to myself when Thor and Captain America met her at the A-Day celebration. When you first start the game, you are introduced to a young Kamala Khan, a finalist in a fan-fiction contest. Throughout the entire prologue of the game, I found myself chuckling with joy as Kamala meets her childhood heroes, Thor and Captain America. After the prologue and Kamala finds Bruce Banner on the seemingly abandoned Chimera, there’s a short maybe 45 second long interlude in which Kamala and Bruce take a road-trip in an RV and the entire thing is Kamala being a kid loudly slurping her massive drink and playing with the radio as Bruce takes the role of the grumpy old man who gives her the funniest look and turns off the radio – Kamala promptly lifts her drink up to her face and slurps even more loudly. I absolutely loved everything about this scene – it really gives the characters, well…..character. Ironically enough, it humanizes the so-called “inhumans.”
Tony Stark’s introduction to the game is one of the best. Maybe it’s just me loving anything and everything to do with Nolan North (voice of Iron Man), but man is the banter between Tony and Bruce some of the best dialogue that gaming has to offer. Tony is just as quippy – if not quippier – as he is in the comics and the MCU and it is genuinely funny. Sort of gives me Deadpool vibes from the 2013 game developed by High Moon Studios in which Nolan North also voices the titular character. It seems pretty evident that North pulled from Deadpool when deciding how to give Tony his personality. I gotta say though, his sprinting animation is really weird and I miss his long hair.
As far as the story as a whole goes, I thought it was fantastic. The game swaps back and forth between each hero’s story pretty seamlessly and re-introduces each Avenger with their own unique batch of story missions to play through after which you unlock the hero to level up and continue to upgrade for the rest of the game. I gotta say, the main story itself is incredibly short. It took me a total of 11.5 hours to complete from start to finish, so if you’re just looking to do that, then it won’t take you long at all. However there is a ton of other stuff to do in the game outside of the initial campaign and now Kate Bishop has her own campaign as well, so I assume that each DLC hero will also bring with them their own story missions as well.
I loved that Marvel’s Avengers utilized MODOK, a classic Marvel villain that has yet to be seen in the MCU. The game also features Taskmaster and Abomination as seemingly prominent villains in the beginning of the game, however, after a single easy boss fight with both of these villains, they don’t actually show up again. Abomination appears in a few cutscenes, but has no other appearance in-game in the main story. To set up both of these huge Marvel villains as major characters in the main story and then not use them after the first couple missions of the game is a pretty big let-down. The final boss is pretty lacking in terms of mechanics; it basically has you swap back and forth between characters to complete different tasks. Iron Man uses range to take out some thrusters, Captain America throws his shield a bunch to take out another thruster, Hulk and Ms. Marvel help escort some inhumans, and Black Widow…..shoots MODOK’s big-ass head. That’s pretty much the gist of it. The big fight at the end is a massively embiggened Ms. Marvel fighting a huge Kree Sentry, but you don’t actually get to do a whole lot – it’s just a quick-time event. Pretty disappointing if you were looking for some involved mechanics for a tough boss fight, but that’s not exactly what you’re getting here.
Overall, I had a blast with the story, I thought it was interesting, albeit short, and the characters and the interactions between every single one of them is outright phenomenal.
The gameplay in Marvel’s Avengers is pretty spot on….for the most part. This game is very clearly a story game which means that it isn’t exactly centered around extremely complex combat, but rather focuses on trying to move you along through the story as simply as possible which I, for one, appreciate more than others. While I definitely love a good combat game like Devil May Cry, that’s not what I’m looking for from Avengers – I’m looking for a great story and Avengers delivered just that. Unfortunately, I was expecting just a little bit more from the final boss fight mechanics, or any boss fights for that matter, as there weren’t all that many in the main story. Another thing is that when interacting with in-game objects like Stronghold chests and other objects necessary to progress through the game, I found myself punching when pressing the “X” button (on an Xbox controller) rather than interacting with the object. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it’s not very user friendly when the interact button is the same as the light attack button, because you’ll end up accidentally punching a wall or the air instead of opening a chest or unlocking a door.
I guess you can’t really have a review of a looter without talking about the loot in some capacity. The gear in Marvel’s Avengers can get kind of complicated; you’ve got to take into consideration your Melee Rating, Defense Rating, Range Rating, Heroic Rating, as well as Might (melee damage), Precision (ranged damage), Proficiency (critical chance, perk chance), Valor (Heroic effectiveness, critical damage), Resolve (max willpower/health, willpower recovery effectiveness), Resilience (armor), and Intensity (stun/status meter damage, status resistance). Yeah, so it’s definitely a lot of information to consistently keep in the back of your brain. Although, if you had a brain as big as MODOK, you probably wouldn’t have such a hard time with this. Different gear can add to your Might, Precision, Proficiency, Valor, Resolve, Resilience, and Intensity ratings, but it doesn’t seem to do a whole hell of a lot until you get to much higher-leveled gear. However, you can upgrade your gear using a whole bunch of different upgrade materials that you can find in missions and enemies throughout the game. I’m used to the somewhat simplistic design of Destiny’s loot system where there isn’t a whole lot of information you need to memorize, but rather different perks that you familiarize yourself with. This is a completely different ball game and requires quite a lot of close examination of each armor statistic to really min-max your gear as efficiently as possible. I’m not exactly there yet, but I’ll get there eventually and when I do….AIM is in for a nasty surprise.
The graphics in Marvel’s Avengers are also really good, at least on my higher-end PC the game runs fine, with the exception of some strange bugs and frame skips, there’s really nothing much to say about it. The game looks great and it performs great (for the most part). I did encounter a couple of visual bugs that I honestly can’t even really explain, in the final boss fight there was a massive green…thing (no, not the Hulk) that just warped around the screen and then disappeared after a second or two, Cap’s shield was hovering near his arm once or twice, overlapping dialogue, just little things that didn’t actually impact the game a whole lot, but were still noticeable.
While I definitely love all the heroes in the game and their interactions with each other, I do find that there needs to be a bit more variety in the hero roster. After completing the main “Reassembled” campaign, you will have access to Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and recently now Kate Bishop. Iron Man and Thor function essentially the same way in combat, so what we’re left with is basically 5 different heroes to choose from in a game that revolves around superheroes. That’s not exactly a full roster. While we are getting more heroes in the future like Hawkeye on March 18, Spider-Man on PS4 at some point, and supposedly Black Panther as well, there’s definitely quite a few heroes that I would love to see be added to the game to give it a bit more variety.
I loved this game. I thought the story was phenomenal, the characters were great, the combat felt good (although very easy), the game looks great and performs consistently on its highest settings. Though if you’re looking at it from a time-to-money perspective, then I would probably wait for the game to go on sale as you’ll get less than 15 hours from the main campaign, but there’s still tons to do post-campaign. The only thing that I could really see that needs improving is the hero roster. I always want more heroes and more stories to play through. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some AIM-ass-kicking to do in my second play-through!