Marvel's Avengers in preview: lots of potential, lots of monotony

Despite many positive aspects, Marvel's Avengers is struggling to establish itself as a potential game hit for 2020. It all began with the rather sobering presentation at E3 2019, where the somewhat strange-looking character models of the Avengers were particularly criticized. It was actually clear that the Crystal Dynamics development team would distance itself from the iconic actors of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but most of the game versions of the heroes pissed off. Above all, the appearance of the god of thunder Thor irritated, who has been one of the MCU's most popular characters since the cinema hit Thor: Ragnarok from 2017.

Publisher Square Enix responded to the fierce criticism and announced in September 2019 that it would be changing the appearance of the Crown Prince of Asgard. Since then, Thor's appearance has been reminiscent of the Australian actor Chris Hemsworth – how very fitting. But the criticism has not subsided since then. The unpopular "Games as a Service" model, the outcry about Spider-Man as a Playstation-exclusive DLC character and rather sobering gameplay impressions repeatedly led to negative headlines. But wait, stop! Who thinks Marvel's Avengers (buy now for € 58.19) can already be stamped as a miss, that's wrong. The Marvel-Gekloppe provides a lot of reason for criticism as well as a number of promising elements. So don't panic on the four-tube aircraft carrier Helicarrier 64.

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A film-ready production







Graphically, Marvel's Avengers cuts a fantastic figure. Regardless of the weather, the surroundings, the level of detail or explosions: everything looks great.



Graphically, Marvel's Avengers cuts a fantastic figure. Regardless of whether the weather, the surroundings, attention to detail or explosions: everything looks great.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




We've already covered the history of Marvel's Avengers in great detail, but for those who missed it, at the start of the adventure, the Avengers want to open a second headquarters in San Francisco. In the big parade, Avengers Day, something goes really wrong and a major catastrophe leads to the deaths of countless innocent people as well as the Avengers leader Steve Rogers (Captain America).

Many years later, the Avengers disbanded and spread around the world. The A-Day explosion not only wiped out lives, it gave some people supernatural abilities. Some of these neo-superheroes subsequently became a threat to society. The company AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) took control of the country and wants to ensure "order". The (huge) head behind the company is none other than George Tarleton, better known under his pseudonym MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing). The young Kamala Khan, big Avengers fan, also gained supernatural powers on A-Day and thus became Ms. Marvel, whose goal is to bring the Avengers back together and to stand in the way of the machinations of AIM. The staging of the plot is definitely convincing. Whether a huge Marvel fan or a newcomer, the story should pick everyone up and provide a lot of fun and fan service.

Marvel's Avengers is not a pure single player game and is more of a hybrid of several gaming experiences. So it is important how well the many individual elements of the title work together and how important the individual aspects really are in the end. Before we get into that, we would like to focus on the content of the beta.







We particularly enjoyed the boss fights. This is where the Taskmaster and Natasha Romanoff meet, just like in the next MCU film Black Widow.



We particularly enjoyed the boss fights. This is where the Taskmaster and Natasha Romanoff meet, just like in the next MCU film Black Widow.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




The beta begins with an approximately 25-minute intro sequence, set on the Golden Gate Bridge, which revolves around the events and the disaster as part of A-Day. Here Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Black Widow can be played alternately. In addition, you have to fight the first boss fight against Taskmaster, which we have to defeat with Black Widow. The appealing staging stands out, which can definitely be booked as a big plus point of the action adventure.

After the start mission, we can throw ourselves into so-called hero missions, among other things. Here we see, for example, how Ms. Marvel and Hulk search an old Stark archive in the middle of dense forests. The task is to recover the artificial intelligence Jarvis and bring it into the helicarrier – the home and base of the Avengers. Jarvis is supposed to help the heroes track down the missing Tony Stark. The mission leads to a confrontation with a boss, none other than Hulk-Nemesis Abomination – great! The second mission takes us into the snowy tundra of Russia, in search of a no longer used S.H.I.E.L.D.base.






The events of A-Day also give the young Kamala superpowers. They are very reminiscent of one of the most famous pirates in pop culture: Monkey D. Luffy.



The events of A-Day also give the young Kamala superpowers. They are very reminiscent of one of the most famous pirates in pop culture: Monkey D. Luffy.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




Furthermore, the beta content offers some War Zone missions (extensive missions), Drop Zones (short missions) and HARM challenges (training sessions in a holographic training room). In addition, there are always passages in the already mentioned helicarrier, which can be expanded further over the course of the season. The headquarters of the Avengers is still a bit empty in the beta, whether a real "home feeling" will arise inside the Helicarrier over time has to be shown in the final version.






<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/08/Marvel-s-Avengers-Beta-Screenshots-15–pc-games.png" alt = "Marvel's Avengers in Preview: A lot of potential, a lot of monotony (7)”/>



Marvel's Avengers in Preview: A lot of potential, a lot of monotony (7)

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




And what do we think of it all now? In fact, that's far more difficult to say than initially thought. As much as we like the story and its staging, we find certain decisions by the team just as strange. The motto and the playful incentive are clear: Play your very own Avengers, the way you want. There are also skill trees with which we can adapt the skills of the various characters to our own tastes. The well-known icons play each other nicely at the beginning, which nicely refreshes the monotony gameplay that some feared. By activating various skills – often with a lot of fan service – the different playing styles should later crystallize out even more.







During the various missions there are always boxes to be found in which various pieces of equipment and fragments can be found.



During the various missions there are always boxes to be found in which various pieces of equipment and fragments can be found.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




In addition, there is a lot of equipment to be found as a reward for missions or in the game world. But here we come to a serious problem with Marvel's Avengers: The equipment increases values ​​such as strength and resistance and gives our characters additional buffs, but the items do not have a visual effect. Instead, a clear distinction is made here. The appearance can only be customized through costumes, which we can also unlock in the course. If it were possible to find and combine various pieces of clothing, our motivation would have been much higher to look for a chest behind every small hill. In addition, the missions quickly get lost in the same beatings. Outside of combat, the skills of characters like Kamala Khan do not have to be used meaningfully and instead of, for example, giving us the opportunity to sneak into an occupied base, the game forces us to rush in and seek open combat. First of all, there is a lot of atmosphere, and secondly, after a while, you get the feeling that you are doing nothing but polishing the faces of opponents who always look the same.







Okay, admittedly. The machines are beautifully designed, but beating soulless robots is not the yellow of the egg either, is it? & Nbsp;



Okay, admittedly. The machines are beautifully designed, but beating soulless robots is not the yellow of the egg either, is it?

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




That brings us to the next point of criticism. There are enemy types like orcs or zombies, you just can't get enough of them. Instead, almost only the other category of enemies awaits us, such as the AIM robots, which are always designed in the same way, and you can tell how little variety has gone into their design. Beatings are hardly fun and after a few Hulk smashes you have enough. One fear on our part is that nothing could change in the finished game. Not only would that make the monotony factor visible, it would also be a waste, since the Marvel Universe actually offers a lot more adversaries that would lend themselves to the game. Of course we have only played the beta so far and the final version can present a much more colorful and varied picture, but we are skeptical a few weeks before the release. The exaggerated thunderstorm effect on the screen during the battles is also annoying, as it primarily damages the overview.

But enough of the criticism. One of the biggest pluses, probably a very surprising one for many, is the young heroine Kamala Khan. Not only does it bring a breath of fresh air into the mainstream Avengers dynamic, it also embodies the perspective of the players in a great way. The famous and beloved members of the Avengers are not just legends to us. If Kamala rummages through old Avengers stuff and finds, for example, Steve's first sign or an old private photo of the troop, then she is at least as amazed as we do. She's also a well-written character who's one of the most believable on the game's Avengers grid. The MCU is welcome to learn a slice of this, as it has not yet been represented there. Team Kamala? Always.







This is how fan service works: Those who take a closer look at the beautifully designed surroundings will be rewarded with various comics from the Marvel portfolio.



This is how fan service works: If you take a closer look at the beautifully designed surroundings, you will be rewarded with various comics from the Marvel portfolio.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




What you can't deny the team is the attention to detail and the templates, which are treated with a lot of respect. We would have preferred customizable clothes, but the many unlockable costumes offer tons of allusions to the films and comics of the Marvel universe. Furthermore, there are countless comic books to be found in the world, which is a beautiful homage to the long history of the Marvel Comics company. The most important plus point, however, is that Marvel's Avengers is a game that will still be a lot of work after its release. We can look forward to DLC characters, new missions and stories. For example, Hawkeye and Spider-Man (Playstation only) have already been confirmed as post-launch characters. It's hard to imagine that we won't look forward to icons like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Vision and Doctor Strange in the future.

As usual for a "Games as a Service" title, the game will be supported, expanded and improved by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix for a long time. Sea of ​​Thieves, The Division 2, Destiny … If you look at the many examples over the last few years, the quality of those titles that provided a solid foundation at the beginning increased over time.







Oh holy ...! The famous Hulk nemesis Abomination is one of those Marvel characters you don't necessarily want to run into.



Oh holy …! The famous Hulk nemesis Abomination is one of those Marvel characters you don't necessarily want to run into.

Source: Square Enix I Crystal Dynamics




We have a lot to criticize, but we still believe Square Enix is ​​heading in the right direction with action adventure. The staging is fantastic and doesn't have to hide from games like the great PS4-exclusive Spider-Man. As the adventure progresses, we'll meet Marvel characters like Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Hank Pym and J. Jonah Jameson. We have already gotten to know characters like Abomination and the Taskmaster. Not only is this great fan service for Marvel enthusiasts, it's a compelling element of the title's ongoing history. Marvel's Avengers is definitely fun and really unfolds its strengths when played with friends. Hopefully, our points of criticism are less present in the finished game than they were in the beta. We'll find out more on September 4th when Marvel's Avengers comes out.

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