Marvel is in a weird boat when it comes to its games. In 2018, the company released Spider-Man on PS4 to critical acclaim and commercial success, which, according to Marvel Games head Jay Ong, marked a change in how it treated its games. Gone were the days of shoddy, rushed tie-in games. Instead, the company now allows studios to work on original ideas in order to improve the overall quality.
Anticipation for Marvel’s Avengers has been high, especially considering how well-received Spider-Man was. In some areas, Avengers does feel like a quality title with a ton of polish. In others, however, it feels unoriginal and confusing, which can leave overall audiences looking for something else.
The story for Avengers is easily its best quality. You’re getting a standard Marvel story here, so if that your thing, you’ll feel right at home with this title. Without getting into spoilers, there are interesting arcs, twists, and character developments woven throughout the narrative that tell a fun and interesting story.
All the mainstay Avengers are here, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hulk. Each one are fantastic in their own right, but Iron Man in particular is very interesting. While I wasn’t sold when I first heard him in trailers and clips, Nolan North of Uncharted and Destiny fame does a fantastic job as Tony Stark and really sells the character in a completely unique and different way than Robert Downey Jr. did in the Marvel films.
While everyone here is great, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel is easily the best character in the game. Thanks to an incredibly interesting and fun opening scene, Kamala’s character is a great window into this world. The story is mainly told through her perspective, which is a refreshing change of pace for these types of stories.
The villain, MODOK, is great as well, giving players a good person to hate throughout the story. That being said, he’s not perfect. Good Marvel villains, generally speaking, allow you to sympathize with the character. Loki and Thanos in the films are great examples of this. MODOK doesn’t allow you to sympathize with him at all, essentially turning him into a simple bigot with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The gameplay itself in Avengers is also a ton of fun, albeit simple. Whipping off combos in quick successions will genuinely leave you with a smile on your face. The highlight for the gameplay comes with Captain America and Thor. Throwing the classic hammer and shield at enemies is incredibly satisfying, way more than I thought it would be.
Unfortunately, every character feels too similar to each other. Each one has a ranged attack, normal abilities, and ranged abilities. Honestly, the only area where characters feel truly different from each other are their traversal abilities, but even in that regard, the characters are still similar. Thor and Iron Man can both fly, Hulk and Captain America can jump high into the air, and Black Widow and Kamala can both grapple, swing, and hook onto ledges.
It’s honestly annoying Crystal Dynamics didn’t think to separate these characters’ abilities in order to feel unique. Because of this, you get an identical experience playing through each mission, no matter which hero you use.
This leads into the game’s in-game systems like armor, upgrading, etc. In short, it’s incredibly confusing, to say the least. First and foremost, players can find loot and armor on the ground and in chests in each mission in order to help “level-up”. Each piece of armor has a ton of statistics associated with them, which is meant to help in certain gameplay scenarios.
In addition, each character has their own exclusive skill tree, which is also meant to change the way that each character behaves. While the skill tree upgrades do make some changes to the overall gameplay, it’s relatively basic. Overall, the upgrade systems in this game feel a bit pointless, at least during the story campaign.
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Also, it’s been said by others before, but there is zero reason that this game should have 10 different materials and 2 currencies. Unifying them all into one or two would have been a much less confusing experience.
Beyond the actual story itself, players also have access to a slew of post-game, multiplayer-only content. These missions take place after the main campaign and allow you to experience smaller stories that the main narrative didn’t have time to tell. That is, if you can get it working.
Throughout my time with Marvel’s Avengers, I had numerous problems with the game’s matchmaking. It sometimes took a good 10 minutes in order to find another player to jump into a game with and other times, it failed to match me with someone else at all.
For the main campaign, it’s not that big of a problem, as those missions are relatively simple and all of them can be easily completed by yourself. For the post-game missions, however, you shouldn’t really attempt the missions because they require such a high power. They are designed for multiple players and their power levels reflect that.
Another issue to note is the game’s performance. Both during high-intense battle sequences and during simple cutscenes, the game’s framerate would stutter to point where it would ruin the scene. Now, to be fair, I was playing on a base PS4, however, the fact that it was stuttering even during simple cutscenes is relatively inexcusable.
Overall, I did have a fun time with Marvel’s Avengers. The story is a great ride and the base gameplay is a ton of fun. That being said, it’s muddled and confusing in-game systems that make relatively no difference and bad performance tarnish it from being anything more than just a mediocre game, at least for right now.
Given the fact this is a “games as a service” title and the fact it’s getting a next-gen upgrade could mean all my complaints will be gone in the next several months. Regardless, at $60 it’s hard to recommend this game in its current state. Here’s hoping changes are made in the coming months.
DEXERTO’S FINAL SCORE: 5/10
Reviewed on PS4