Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG, Brawler
Platform: Google Stadia
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Price: £74.99 (Deluxe Edition)
A code was provided for review purposes.
You Get Hurt, Hurt ’em Back. You Get Killed… Walk It Off
To lead an original Avengers story, to take some of the most beloved characters in the multi-verse and to build something that attracts new enthusiasts as well as respect and engage the super fans alike is bold, brave and sadly just a little out of reach for this developer. Yet, there’s enough on show here to keep the audience playing and exploring the world created by Shaun Escayg and the writing team at Crystal Dynamics.
Originally teased back in 2017 predating both the Infinity War and Endgame movies climaxes to the Avengers Saga. Marvel’s Avengers was received with enormous enthusiasm and expectation, moving through two cycles of beta testing ahead of its release. We managed to capture some of these early experiences in our first impressions piece here. It’s had a good amount of time to iron out the kinks along the way. The game lends aspects from so many others and can best be summarised as an action, single-player, RPG, narrative, brawler, multiplayer game. Sound complex and busy? It is.
If We’re Going to Win This Fight, Some of Us Might Have to Lose It
We follow the path of Kamala Khan, Avengers fan-girl turned Inhuman fan-girl after being exposed to Terrigen Mist during the A-Day events. This event caused mass destruction and devastation of the city. The Avengers were blamed for this tragedy and disbanded after the testimony of Bruce Banner incriminated them. This movement made way for the science corporation AIM to step in and take their place. As you’ve probably guessed AIM is evil, and before long Kamala sets out on a quest to bring the old band back together.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar story approach to the narrative of Avengers Endgame. We do see the addition of Kamala as a completely unique character presented for the first time in game. Still, you can see why the game needed to be released a year after the movie.
Cause if We Can’t Protect the Earth, You Can Be Damn Sure We’ll Avenge It
The game itself lends many different features and UI elements from a bunch of other games. Its open world exploration feels so close to Jedi Fallen Order, right down to the War Table at which you decide on the next mission to undertake in your journey.
There are options to upgrade attributes of your character such as armour and parts as well as cosmetic costumes if that kind of micro-transaction floats your boat. This aspect, for me, was a little uninspiring. After 10 or so minutes I found myself just holding down L2 which automatically optimises your gear for the best parts you are carrying.
The story itself will take approx 10 or so hours to complete. It has been written well, it’s nuanced and emotive in its own right, albeit doesn’t exactly help the player to build much connection with the characters themselves. I guess it’s hard as you are constantly comparing their voices, styles and mannerisms to their on screen counterparts. Which is something of a poison chalice for the dev to undertake here.
Yet the voice and motion capture team they have assembled for the game is top notch. Nolan North as Tony Stark (of Nathan Drake Uncharted acclaim), Troy Baker as Bruce Banner (Joel from The Last Of Us) and Laura Bailey as Black Widow (Abby from The Last of Us Part 2). You’d hope that these voice actors would get to bring some of themselves to the roles, but it doesn’t end up that way.
Troy Baker in particular plays a Bruce Banner that does not feel in the slightest familiar to any portrayal of that character I have ever seen. In fact at times his relationship with Kamala early on adopts an almost Joel and Ellie like vibe from the aforementioned The Last Of Us games. It’s seriously cringeworthy at times, with him even calling her kiddo.
I Still Believe In Heroes
Graphically, as you can imagine this game is gorgeous, intricate character designs and solid frame rates even at the most complex of battles. It’s a game built for this gen, but will absolutely flourish in the next gen, with PS5 and Series X upgrades in the roadmap.
The sound design is wonderfully sculpted, grand orchestral pieces, pace building sequences heading into battle. Musically it is stunning! Bravo to Bobby Tahouri who scored the soundtrack, it was absolutely the most immersive aspect of the game.
Is That The Best You Can Do?
The multiplayer aspect of Marvel’s Avengers is clever in concept with the ability to form a squad and have your friends drop in to help out on missions throughout the game. They also get to play as their favourite Avenger. Where this falls down, unfortunately, is the lack of cross-play on offer. This was a particular challenge for me reviewing on Google Stadia. As far as I can find, no cross play option for me, not even with PC!
Marvel’s Avengers is a game I will likely continue to play, the combat is enjoyable and has tons of variety and enhancements available. The story is also really well written and conceived with Kamala often stealing the show. There is also set to be a whole bunch of DLC to keep this train rolling for the foreseeable future. Several additions are just paying for Avengers that maybe should have been part of the original package in the first place (Peter Parker I’m looking at you).
Alas the game as an entire package is missing so much in the space of original thoughts and concepts, and with so much borrowed from other established IP’s its ironically a case of mistaken not hidden identity in this superhero multi-game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Marvel’s Avengers from the following link: https://stadia.google.com