The Avengers and Marvel have been a cultural phenomenon for over a decade now thanks to the massive success of the MCU. Marvel’s Avengers brings the phenom to video games, and, while it often nails the comic book feel, it is disjointed in its design of trying to balance live service aspects with a story focused action game.
Coming in at around a brisk 10-12 hours, the campaign of Marvel’s Avengers is handled well from a story aspect. The game starts with the A-Day disaster happening, and the Avengers being disbanded because of it. Then, five years passes and you’re then put on course to reassemble the team and save the day. Though many thought they looked like knock offs of the MCU, the characters are the shining light of the game, and feel like we’ve all come to know them over the years personality wise. Tony Stark/Iron Man portrayed by Nolan North is as witty and snarky as ever. Troy Baker nails his portrayal as Bruce Banner/The Hulk who is a man stuck in the stages of grief from what happened on A-Day. Thor unfortunately doesn’t get much screen time, but Travis Willingham definitely gives off the classic Thor vibes with his performance. Black Widow portrayed by Laura Bailey is still the no nonsense badass we’ve all come to know and love. Then, Captain America, who Jeff Schine gives his own take on, is still the man who stands for the greater good above all else with unwavering conviction.
With all that said though, Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel is the real stand out character of the game, and Sandra Saad knocks it out of the park with her performance. She’s the fan we all are and would be if superheros were real, and that doesn’t change throughout the game. From the very beginning of the game you pretty much fall in love with her. She’s basically the main character and the one who takes charge in reassembling the Avengers, and it’s her that keeps them together. The scenes she has one on one with each Avenger or her father are some of the best scenes in the game.
While the story and characters are great, the disjointed mission structure of the game and combat is where it starts to fall apart. Some missions are great and propel the story forward with interesting scenarios and focused hero moments. However, due to the live service nature of the game, there are too many missions that focus on some pretty poor objectives like go stand in this area for a specific period of time and fend off waves of enemies or capture these specific points and fill up a gauge. The combat is very beat’em up centric and you really won’t dive deep into what the combat can truly offer until you get way past the campaign of the game. These issues stop Marvel’s Avengers from being something truly special if it was only more focused in the design or was longer to have a wider variety of missions and add more depth to the combat.
After you beat the campaign, is where you get into the real meat of Marvel’s Avengers with its end game content. Unfortunately, like a lot of live service games at launch, the meat isn’t a filet mignon, but more like a fast food burger. Pretty decent or borderline good, but no where near the best. It’s fun leveling up your characters and spec’ing them out in specific ways to change up the derivative combat encounters. However, the grind to get to max power can become such a chore especially when you want to do it with all six of the characters. This is all due to the repetitive mission structure of fighting the same waves of robots, only two real villains, and samey areas and objectives. Like how many times do I have to hear JARVIS say “There’s a chest with gear nearby,” before I pull my hair out.
The end game content is best played with a group of friends filling out your strike team. However, that brings its own set of problems. Specifically not being able to use the same heroes during a mission. Thus, if you and a friend both main the same character, one of you will have to switch to a different character. This isn’t always a bad thing if you are use to using all characters, but you might not and that can make it a less enjoyable time.
On the technical side, Marvel’s Avengers is marred by numerous issues. There were multiple times during combat where the frame rate nearly slowed to a crawl when there were multiple enemies in close proximity. Dialogue would glitch out multiple times throughout the game with the same line repeating constantly or a line would stutter for minutes on end. The camera can be difficult to work with as I’d often lose track of my character in combat scenarios in small spaces. There are even errors in the subtitles where the subtitles show dialogue that aren’t even being said; thus making it hard to follow what’s happening if your reading the subtitles.
Overall, Marvel’s Avengers is an enjoyable for it’s story and the ability to play with friends. What’s there is good and a solid base, however, the technical issues, disjointed structure, and repetitive end game really bring down what could have been an amazing superhero game. It will be interesting to see what Crystal Dynamics brings to the game in the future and how much they’re able to improve upon with more content down the line.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro