Marvel’s Avengers is an Unfinished Masterpiece that’s Just Getting Started
At NYCC 2019, Crystal Dynamics debuted a demo of Marvel’s Avengers in its pre-alpha version. Suffice to say, the game was breathtaking and fun in every single way.
The game begins right in the thick of things, in what feels like the Avengers Battle of New York. The team is assembled on a bridge facing off against a menacing army threatening the city. In different intro segments specific per character, each with their own unique abilities, you get to play as Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Black Widow, in that order.
The event really gets you to embrace the best of what each team member has to offer. Without too many spoilers, the introduction ends in a catastrophe. One which splits The Avengers. Afterwards, a new superhero organizations, called AIM, takes over as the city’s protection and an unassuming Avenger’s fan, revealed to be Kamala Khan, looks on as a bystander in the distance.
I collaborated with fellow Workprint Writer, Bassam Kaado, in writing this article and together, we demoed the game on the PlayStation 4 and came up with collective thoughts about the gameplay.
Hands down, the best aspect of the game are the mechanics. With controls similar to the Spider-Man or Batman Arkham video games. The “square” button is used to quick attack, while the “triangle” button commands your power attacks. There’s even a “triangle and circle” command for one-hit takedowns.
Attacks build up energy, which triggers special “L1” button finishers unique per each character. Iron Man has his Uni-Beam, Black Widow executes her trademark movie Leg Flip, Thor rains Thunder, Captain America throws and bounces his Shield, and Hulk fires off a sonic wave when he Claps.
Thor – The God of Thunder was a treat to play, and he’s personally my favorite character. He was one of the few characters in recent memory that rewards you for electing to use a heavy attack as his brutal combination of lightning and hammer is devastating. Being able to use Mjolnir is a delight, due to the ability to throw the hammer and call it back at your convenience. The only concern was his inability to fly during the demo.
Iron Man – Tony Stark in any video games is a challenge, but the game seems to have done a great job with capturing his distinct ranged fighting style. He seems like the character out of the group that would require the most effort in getting down, and his flight felt a little awkward to steer in battle.
Bassam mentioned, while aiming, you must target your shots, which is a concern because the target is bigger than his ranged attack you need to shoot. It makes it difficult to properly aim and forced him to shy away from his repulsor beams.
I didn’t notice this, mostly because I was too busy having fun blasting everything in sight.
The Hulk – The Hulk is probably the most enjoyable character to play with and should be the number one choice for casual/new gamers wanting to try the game. As one would expect, his offense is focused on brute force and is easy to get down. You can grapple enemies and ragdoll them around to beat down opponents. You can also smash everything in sight, from tanks to cars, as Hulk jumps and smashes everything in sight, using his signature Hulk Smash.
Captain America – Cap is a great character to play, and he was Bassam’s favorite character to use. His controls are very intuitive to anyone familiar with 3rd person action games. His use of the shield provides a fun ranged attack that blends well with its defensive capabilities. His fighting style is fluid and allows you to get into a good rhythm while battling a multitude of villains. His character skin was also noticeably less chubby than in the original showcase, which fans initially complained about.
Black Widow – The famed double agent and stand-out female character of the Avengers plays very similar to Captain in her fluidity during combat. Being armed with guns, she has the easiest ranged attacks that matches really well with the rest of her fighting style. She is another character that is intuitive to anyone playing video games, as she is well-balanced in both ranged and melee attacks. She is also the fastest character in the game and the one you use to fight the big baddie of the demo, as she goes head-to-head with the villainous Taskmaster.
Little is revealed as to the overall plot of the story, but what is confirmed is that you get to play as Kamala Khan and must help reassemble the Avengers after the incident.
The main story’s home base is established on an abandoned Shield Helicarrier, and every character obtained has unique unlockable skins spanning 80 years of Marvel history. Atop of that, each hero has unique abilities, with customization trees unique per character that can suit a large array of fighting styles from melee, to long-range, and even power attacking.
The game has Hero missions for the single-player campaign mode. With another, War Zone mission mode, for online multiplayer of up to four players. With AI assistance if someone drops out.
The game is beautiful and does a great job of inserting you into the Marvel Universe as these characters. The only issue found was during the Iron Man segment where a glitch showed only the background during a playthrough. For a game that is in Pre-Alpha (with a current release date of May 2020), the game looks miles ahead of what one would expect, and Bassam and I are both anticipating the opportunity to pre-order.
You Can Play Marvel’s Avengers in May 2020