Ever since its announcement in 2017, Marvel’s Avengers became one of my most anticipated games. With how much I loved Marvel’s Spider-Man, my expectations increased and I thought this would be of a similar caliber. After watching an over 20 minute hands-off demo, it’s safe to say that my expectations have gone down a bit.
The demo starts on A-Day, a celebration of the Avengers. The good times end as an explosion occurs on the golden gate bridge, and the fun begins. Progressively throughout the demo, we get time to see each of our main Avengers in action. The demo kicks off with Thor in the sky taking out enemies. While it’s cool to see Thor in action, nothing about what was shown was particularly jaw-dropping. The sequence had a mix of quick time events and shooting enemies out of the sky. There’s a point in the demo where Thor gets on the ground and attacks enemies with his hammer. The combat reminds me of the most recent God of War where you can aim the hammer at enemies and then call it back. Compared to titles like Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077, Avengers doesn’t seem to reach those heights.
Next up is Iron Man, who flies similarly to Thor but can attack enemies with laser blasts. Like Thor, Iron Man eventually goes back to the ground and fights more enemies. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, and Black Widow all have different special moves that helps them wipe out several enemies at a time quickly. The only stand out was Hulk’s where he utilizes his signature clap that knocks foes back.
From here, we switch to the Hulk, who was my favorite character of the bunch to see in action. He takes enemies out with ease by throwing them around or punching them and wall jumping from place to place to maneuver to certain parts of the level. Characters like Black Widow reminded me of Catwoman from the Batman Arkham games while Captain America felt more like Batman minus the shield.
Back to Basics
Another aspect of the game that doesn’t blow me away is the character designs. Nothing about them stands out or makes the characters look distinct in this iteration of the Avengers. It felt like Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal wanted to recreate the aesthetic of the MCU films rather than have their own unique style. Additionally, the dialogue and storytelling felt more traditional than anything else. While Marvel’s Spider-Man felt like a Spider-Man story, it had the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from not only the character, but the MCU films. Avengers lacks this sense of whimsy based on this quick snippet of gameplay. Granted, this can change once the full game comes out next year.
Towards the end of the demo, we take control of Black Widow as a boss fight with Taskmaster ensures. This is where things mix up a bit and offer some variety. Like any boss battle, Taskmaster had several waves to go through and each one upped the stakes a little. From there, a time jump occurs to five years later. By then, the Avengers have been disbanded and something occurs which makes them try to reunite.
Marvel’s Avengers is a game that I’m mixed on. As a comic book and MCU fan, the game is something I’ve been waiting for for awhile and it’s a game I’ve wanted to know more about. The idea of playing a game as the core avengers is exciting and leaves me wanting more. That being said, nothing about what was shown off broke new ground in a way that Marvel’s Spider-Man did. That game had fun combat that offered combos and a plethora of skills to unlock that made the combat even more fun. Granted, this could change once more information comes out about Avengers but at the moment, there’s nothing there that’s increasing the hype level.
I wouldn’t say that it’s terrible or unplayable, but what was shown off didn’t blow me away with excitement. This could change once the final game comes out and its surprises are uncovered. Some games don’t demo well but end up being a blast to play. Additionally, none of what was played was in co-op. Despite all the negativity, it’s a game that I think could have the potential to break through all the negativity and deliver something truly amazing. After playing the latest Tomb Raider series, it’s clear that Crystal Dynamics can craft a well told story that interests players. Additionally, they added gameplay elements such as skill points and leveling up that made combat more enjoyable over time. While my excitement and anticipation have dropped after this demo, I haven’t lost all faith in earth’s mightest heroes.
Marvel’s Avengers comes out on PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC on May 15, 2020. For more E3 coverage, including a recap of Square-Enix’s press conference, stay tuned to VGR.