Marvel’s Avengers Review: Did They “Reassemble”?
I have been a lifetime fan of Avengers, I used to buy comics from local bookstores and read them. Sadly, most of them were just one part of the whole story arc, due to availability issues in India (Its completely changed now), but hey, it is still something.
I still get goosebumps when I watch the announcement trailer, and boy oh boy, the dialogue from the last year’s Marvel’s Avengers: A-Day Trailer, “Never meet your hero’s” that felt so good. It had me since day one. I even had the Deluxe Edition in preorder the moment it was listed on Steam so that I can play it 72hours in advance. I was so hyped for this game.
So, let’s begin with the review. As always, this is my opinion on the game.
The first interaction with the game was during the beta, It honestly didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. It felt clunky, half baked and the gameplay wasn’t as responsive as I would have liked it to be. After the beta, I was still holding out and looking forward, as, in the end, it was just a beta. I still had my hopes up with the final game. We received the Review Code for PS4 Pro on 31st August and was able to start it right away as the servers went live almost 24hours in advance on PS4, it could have been just for reviewers but the servers were online and the game was playable.
First things first, the whole “Buy a costlier pack and get to play early” entices me a lot, because I want to be able to play it right then and there. But at the same time, I hate it because it is just so predatory. It’s in a way a glorified paid Beta, as you are stress testing the server before the release. While companies like Ubisoft & EA, who in the past had such “bundles” even in Single-player games, are straying away from it, Square Enix is selling it at Rs.1000 premium. And the only way they are justifying the Deluxe Bundle is with a minuscule skin pack. You don’t need to have a release spreadsheet in order to find out when you can play a game. And as I am one of those people who do get enticed by it, and end up getting it, makes me part of the problem as well, But it still needs to be said.
Anyway, enough of my rant on the Deluxe bundle, because I have so many other things to say about the game.
The Avengers starts with Kamala getting off from a jet, and you are right away greeted with huge statues of Avengers, they are gorgeous and the first thing I did was turn on the photo mode and click photos of the statue with Kamala. It looked really good. The photo mode had tons of options in itself. Kamala is invited as a fan-fiction writer finalist and is a super fan of Avengers. We go through the whole A-DAY, meeting all the Avengers, and right before the reveal of Terrigen which is a clean source of energy that powered the Chimera, there is a blast at Golden Gate Bridge and the Avengers take off to save the day. But little do they know that it is a trap set by Taskmaster. The Chimera is not ready to take a flight, but still gets launched and then it blasts taking Captain America with itself and making Avengers Public Enemy Number One.
The above is just a gist of the first mission without spoilers. The whole story revolves around Kamala getting the band back together and avenge the A-DAY while saving Inhumans like herself, who were turned because of the reactor blast in Chimera. Avengers are trying to take down AIM & Tarleton, the main baddie of the game. The story looks phenomenal on paper, but it falls short on its theme. While playing the main story, I realized one thing that the whole story is just used as a clutch for the COOP and it is a shame. If you have played the Beta, there are 2 missions in it, 1 is the A-DAY Bridge missions where you fight TaskMaster and the other is Hulk fighting Abomination. Those are the only 2 times they show up in the story and then are reserved for the COOP Missions.
Avengers story in itself is very predictable and never takes off except the A-DAY. It set up unrealistic expectation at the beginning and then just be like no, you are not more of that anymore. If the story asks you to go and collect/do side missions in order to progress in the main story, then it is a bad design and bad storytelling. The game shouldn’t be like “In order to progress, find this so that you can make a costume”. I have attached the screenshot of the “Step 28”, where the game asks you to Harvest stuff in order to make a cool skin out of it. This skin has no physical use what so ever, it is just a skin, not even a gear. And this part really ground my gears. I was near the completion of the game and the game just threw this on my face, basically a tutorial for COOP. I get it, that they want to make money out of it but at least give the experience to the players. They have already paid Rs. 4000/$80.
The characters are well done, and Kamala is easily my favorite character of out all the Avengers. From the moment she gets off the Jet, till the end, the acting and emotions displayed by her, kept me going. Honestly, if it wasn’t for her & HULK, the game would have lost me long back. Tony Stark is portrayed by the phenomenal Nolan North and it is the closest RDJ impression, one can ever get to. And we all know that RDJ is Tony Stark. No one could have done a better job than Nolan North and he nailed it. My least favorite characters were Thor & Black Window. Thor did not get enough screen time in Campaign and Black Widow felt just irritating. The first time I got to play as her in the campaign, I remember she mentioned that she was undercover 10000 times, in just one mission. I get it, she is undercover, that’s her job, Get over with it. Captain America is portrayed by Jeff Schine, I wouldn’t say that it is the best portrayal ever, or not even close the Chris Evans but whatever screentime he got was strong in itself.
Overall, the characters were done justice in terms of voice & acting department. They selected the best portrayers and it paid off. But again no matter how good they were, when the story is a letdown in itself, even actors cannot save the game or a movie.
The gameplay definitely has the feel-good factor, while playing it. I can totally see how people can grind in it. But as an overall experience, especially in a single player part, all you do is run, run, run, and smash Square or Triangle and the mission gets completed. The game is packed with robots and there are few humans, but no gore whatsoever. In the whole game, you just smash Square & Triangle. And it gets old super fast. If you have your friends who are in for a lot of grinding then yes it can be fun, as there are tons and tons of side missions and activities, but if you are alone, then it will get repetitive fast. I completed the whole campaign alone and by the end of it, I was exhausted. The COOP elements were pulling the single-player part down. The whole ending section of the game was let down by poor execution of the game. The whole ending section was supposed to look like a giant cinematic set-piece, but due to the coop nature, it becomes grindy, repetitive, and predictable.
As for individual characters gameplay, I liked Hulk, a lot. Hulk is fun to play, especially because all you do in the game is Smash, Smash, & Smash. So Hulk is my go-to character followed by Kamala. Kamala has the same feel as Hulk as she can stretch and fight. My biggest letdown was Iron Man, the whole gameplay felt a bit janky of Iron Man, slightly hard to control and the initial power of him sucked Hard. There was a mission that you play as Iron Man, where you just have to fly and dodge incoming attacks. Again on paper, it was a terrific idea, but the execution was really poor. That whole mission felt underwhelming and the feedback from the game was just not where it should have been.
The game has a lot of skills, Every individual character has 3 pages worth of skills and every skill is well thought and differentiated very well. Each skill can be unlocked by using skill points you get when you level up the characters and the skills are very enjoyable and fun to execute and see. Sadly if you are in the game for only the story, then you will not see all the skills the game has to offer. But if you are in for a long haul and up for grind, then the skills are worth unlocking. As it does change the way you play, unlike the gears.
Gears in this game have no effect on the skin, like in Destiny or other games, you can see the gears once you equip them. Here they are just stat boosts and nothing much. You cannot change the way the hero look, you can only change the skins. If you are going with the mindset that you can change the way your hero looks with individual parts, then stay away. Gears do nothing the way your character looks. Chances are that there will be another player with the same skin you have unlocked. It does not bring the uniqueness such COOP focused games bring to the table.
I unlocked about 2-3 Skins through the whole campaign, I tried to do more side missions but they were just plain boring in doing alone, it was just more of what I already did in all those campaign missions with no reward, to be honest. I am not a skin fanatic and I don’t care how my character looks, as long as it plays well and gives me good power-up. The only incentive for me to play the side missions were to level up my character in order to unlock the skills, other than that, there is no incentive whatsoever, at least for me personally, to unlock the skins or even pay for them. They do show all the skins available and how your character looks into it, but all are locked in a way they are baiting the player into either spending the money, which is fishy.
Final Words on Gameplay
On average, you play about 1-2 campaign missions with each character, the campaign is quite small, took me about 7-10 hours to finish it. The gameplay while it is repetitive and grindy, I can totally see how it can appeal to the COOP Crowd out there. If you are going into the game with a single-player narrative experience, then don’t bother. It is through & through a COOP based game, which wants you to play with your friends. Otherwise, the gameplay will get old, FAST.
Graphics & Technicals
Graphics are the only strong point of the game, the color, and environment blend very well. Attention to the detail is done exceptionally well. I have played it on PS4 Pro, and there were 2 options, 4K & High Framerate option. The difference between both is honestly not visible if you are sitting about 10ft from the TV. The frame rate felt overall stable and the game looked terrific. There were few graphical streaming glitches like I remember that a bald scary Kamala, as the hair didn’t render-in, in time. But overall it was a smooth sail graphical wise.
Even though the framerate was quite stable most of the time, it did become jarring and inconsistent when there were too many things going around on the screen. The game tends to send 40-50 enemy, if not more, all at once and while fighting them it does become sluggish but recovers quickly too. The only time I faced issues was during the end of the game, you are dropped in the city and you have to save some Inhumans and in there, the whole framerate went for the toss. It came down to mid-20s if not lower. Other than that it was a smooth sail. And honestly the scope of the game, graphically, is huge. It wasn’t a recurring theme, and overall it was a smooth experience and occasional dips were quite acceptable.
The game is very heavy on PS4 Pro. Like while playing, if I pressed the screenshot button, it would take at least 10-15 seconds before taking a screenshot. Also PS4 Pro runs Hot and Loud while playing this game. The air around the vents of my PS4 was hot as well. It was starting to sound like Bane in the room. I had to stop the game every couple of hours in order to not kill my PS4, though I think it would have been fine even if I played longer, its still better to be safe than sorry.
Its Avengers, so achieving the best Level Design was of paramount, and at the initial parts of the game, it felt like that they achieved it. The whole Golden Bridge gameplay was well executed as one of the large cinematic set-pieces. But that’s the only level that has it. Everything after that feels like been made by a completely different team. There is this first Iron Man mission, where you escape his mansion and that felt good, but still, it wasn’t as good as what the first mission set the bar of expectation up to. Especially when they showed the Golden Bridge level as their first marketing gameplay video. It felt like a red herring, all talks no action. Most of the levels are designed in COOP & Exploration in mind. Now I know the game is COOP Focused, and trust me, it doesn’t forget to remind me about it every 5 minutes. But I am playing for the campaign and story, not for the grind. And am sure many of you are gonna do the same too. I just wish that at least the Campaign levels were unique and well thought of and I really hope they fix it up for the sequel.
They have created a whole blog post on how to spend your money, I ain’t even getting into it. You can read it here – Marvel’s Avengers: Everything You Need to Know about Gear & Cosmetics.
It’s a shame. You have to pay $10 for unlocking the premium tier items for every post-launch hero. It’s all cosmetics and emotes. If you complete the battle pass then you get equivalent points back and then you can grind further in order to get more items for other heroes. Even though you have already paid $60, you have to at least pay another $10 and countless hours to get everything out of the game unless you go down the paying way and buy each and every battle pass for each and every character. It’s sickening & predatory.
The world is empty. Like late campaign missions, are literally just buildings and enemies, nothing else. It is explained that the citizens left the city because of AIM. It just takes away from the whole experience, it’s bland and there were so many ways it could have been better, even the world of Arkham which is without civilians too, still is much more lived in, than this. The emptiness of the world in a way gives takes away the gravity of the situation. Each play area is riddled with small side missions & chest pieces. And the format is identical for each play area. You go in there, you walk through each area, you get the chest, you do the rescue missions of Inhumans, you rinse and repeat. There is no world-building what so ever after the first mission. It’s there just for being there and feeding the COOP.
1. The Characters – Its Avengers, so obviously it has to be good. Still well acted and performed.
2. COOP – The Story & the COOP are intertwined and all the side missions are COOP focused. If you have friends to play it, this is the way to go.
3. Acting – All characters were up to the mark, and I enjoyed the interaction, except at few points.
1. Story – As much as I wanted to like it, I just didn’t. It was convoluted and muddied up.
2. Grind – Again this is subjective, it can be good for you if you are into it.
1. Gameplay – This is quite subjective, because its repetitive, but for a gamer who is into grinding, could be good, I personally liked it & hated it for some part.
Disclaimer: Review code provided by the E-Xpress Team. Big thanks to them.
PS: All the photos in this review are taken from the Press Kit. As the game is very heavy to run even on PS4 and takes good 15-30 seconds to take a single screenshot, so it was hit or miss 8/10 times. Also, the PS4 jet engine is not a myth.
Marvel's Avengers Review