Marvel's Avengers Review: A Cinematic Adventure Worthy of Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Marvel's Avengers has had fans talking ever since it was first teased several years ago, but now, the wait is finally over, and if you thought the beta was fun, you haven't seen anything yet. Marvel's Avengers delivers a truly cinematic story full of blockbuster action, and while that's impressive in its own right, it's the smaller, more poignant conversations and arguments that give this Avengers tale the weight it needs. The Destiny comparisons are apt, and the game does make a few fumbles that need to be fixed ASAP if the game wants to be successful long term, but, despite those flaws, the game succeeds in making you feel like the Avenger you've always wanted to be, and this could be the start of something great.
A large part of that success rests on the shoulders of Sandra Saad's Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Kamala Khan. Her performance is spectacular, and it's hard not to get swept away in her enthusiasm in every scene and encounter. When she first meets Captain America, you lose your mind right along with her and that endearing quality continues throughout the entire game. While many will focus on their favorite hero, especially the mysterious circumstances around Cap, Kamala Khan is the engine that drives the story and the other characters forward.
That said, each Avenger does have several shining moments, and not just in regards to combat, but true emotional and poignant exchanges that help flesh out these iconic heroes in some cool ways. Each Avenger is dealing with the guilt of A Day in their own way and that is ripe for storytelling opportunities, and Crystal Dynamics takes advantage. The exchanges between Banner and Stark are especially good, and the conflicts and familial squabbles don't stop when they all get back together either, which makes it all feel genuine and real.
Mechanics wise, each character feels truly distinct from one another, as no one will be able to just go from playing Kamala to Cap and to then to Iron Man without some amount of adjustment. There are also two more pages of skills to unlock compared to the beta, and in that way, Crystal Dynamics has set up their game for success over the long haul, giving players plenty of ways to grow and evolve their character as they continue to take on missions in co-op.
So far, I've mostly focused on the story element of the game, but that's only 10 to 12 hours (though it is closer to 13 to 14 if you take the time to complete optional objectives in each area). Once you start expanding outside of the campaign, you'll find yourself in a variety of War Zones Vaults and Villain Sectors, and this is where the Destiny comparisons truly start to show. Whether that's your cup of tea or not is up to you, but between the additional skill trees and iconic missions that unlock along the way, there is enough to keep you playing after the credits roll, though how long you keep at it will depend on some new content coming down the pike.
The game fumbles when it comes to enemy and location variety. You're going to see just about all the enemy types the game has to offer pretty early on, and the same can be said for the locations. There needed to be one more faction of enemies to truly liven up things as needed and at least one more major location hub, as by the time you get to the co-op, you're already getting tired of seeing the same locales over and over again. The Iconic Missions that unlock throughout the campaign help with that a bit, but the first Operations release needs to help fix this problem ASAP if they want this thing to be a success over the long haul.
The Vendor system could use a bit of life, too, as it feels like there could be more to it but so far you don't have much reason to interact with it. Now, gear is important, as there were several battles that required me to go in and boost some things and switch some gear out for something that fit the current situation better to keep from dying. That needs to continue to evolve if the loot-based system is going to be so central to co-op and online play though.
Despite the limitations in environments and enemies, I still can't wait to jump in and play more, and the story campaign delivered in more ways than one.
Marvel's Avengers did what it set out to do, which was to create a cinema-worthy story that explores the impact of not only the Avengers but heroes as a whole, all through the eyes of someone they helped inspire, and if you don't love Kamala Khan by the end of this you simply have no soul. Marvel's Avengers has some things to improve and some bugs to fix for sure, but the pure joy of slinging that shield, calling that hammer, and yelling "embiggen" along the way was infectious, and I think you'll get a kick out of it too. Avengers Assemble, indeed.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Marvel's Avengers is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.0comments