I can’t lie and say I didn’t have high hopes for Marvel’s Avengers. Like most, I’m a massive fan of the superhero team and have been dying to experience this new game since it was revealed. However, the more I learn about Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers, the more my built-up hype drains. Still, what matters most is how it plays. And, thanks to an open beta about three weeks before launch, I was able to for a few hours. My overall experience with the game ended up being a mixed bag.
The Marvel’s Avengers’ open beta is only a few hours long. Still, it gives players a chance to try out every character that will be playable at launch, including Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel. From the first few encounters, combat is noticeably button-mashy, but I didn’t mind too much based on how cool these characters looked. Each character feels surprisingly unique and true-to-form; When you play as Hulk, you feel like Hulk. When you play as Iron Man, you feel like Iron Man, and so on.
Player customization is a huge part of Marvel’s Avengers. Seeing as how the game is attempting to be a “game as a service” akin to Destiny 2 or Fortnite, players are given a large variety of customization options, and it doesn’t seem to be shy about locking things behind progression walls.
Each Avenger’s combat style can be fully customized through individual skill trees. If you want your Black Widow to be the team’s brute and you want Hulk to focus on ranged attacks, you have the option to do it. I don’t see why you would, but, hey, go crazy.
On the other side of the spectrum, each Avenger has a ton of unlockable or purchasable costumes. As a lifelong comic book nerd, seeing some of the costumes the devs have decided to include makes me super happy, but I realize the danger this poses to consumers. While many costumes are unlockable through gameplay, others will only be able to be bought using premium currency that is time-consuming to acquire in-game without dropping some real-world cash. This system, along with several other unlockable cosmetic goodies, simply reeks of greed and just doesn’t sit well with me.
Seeing as how Marvel’s Avengers is basically going to be an online multiplayer game, I really hope that the servers for the full release fair better than they did in the beta. Even though I played 95 percent of the beta by myself, I ran into constant messages saying I was “disconnected from the internet” even though I wasn’t. The game would continue on like normal after closing out of these messages, but they really dragged down gameplay, and I can only hope they won’t be in the full release.
I can’t really speak to Marvel’s Avengers story yet, but I liked the bits and pieces that I saw. The Avengers themselves are all likable and so far played incredibly well by some of the best voice actors and actresses in the business. While I don’t think the whole story will be anything revolutionary, I am excited to see the Avengers taken in a new direction.
My time with the Marvel’s Avengers beta left me with some mixed emotions, but I’m optimistic about the full release. I had a ton of fun in my few hours with the game, though I could see combat becoming repetitive during extended play sessions. The “games as a service” aspects of Marvel’s Avengers leave me worried about what paywalls I’ll encounter in the future. Still, I have faith that Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix will be able to work out the issues found in the beta for a better final product, though I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see.
Marvel’s Avengers is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 4, with a planned launch in holiday 2020 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
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