Marvel's Avengers was developed by Crystal Dynamics, with help from Eidos-Montreal, Crystal Northwest, and Nixxes Software, and published by Square Enix. The game is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Stadia with next gen consoles getting a version some time after they release. The Deluxe Edition goes for $79.99 and includes Obsidian skins and nameplates. An Exclusive Digital Version only available for the Playstation 4 goes for $69.99 and comes with a bonus nameplate for Ms. Marvel as well as 1,000 Credits(premium currency). If you pre-ordered the game you also received free Legacy skins and a Legacy nameplate. Prior to launch, if you bought the Deluxe or Exclusive Digital versions you were granted access to the game 3 days earlier than those opting for the Standard Edition. Speaking of the Standard edition, it is $59.99 but you can upgrade to the Deluxe Edition for $20.00 if you really want those bonus Obsidian cosmetics.
Marvel's Avengers is a action RPG mixed with Looter Shooter mechanics featuring a roster of just 6 superheroes(Ms. Marvel, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Widow). Hawkeye(Clint Barton) and Hawkeye(Kate Bishop) are the first pair of DLC characters set to launch but there is no exact date set as of yet only a "late October" tentative release schedule. Spiderman is the only other confirmed DLC character as of the time of writing this review but he is a Playstation exclusive with a 2021 release date. All DLC for Marvel's Avengers is going to be free, so you don't have to worry about missing out on any of the future superheroes.
With all that boring stuff out of the way let's dive into the review proper and talk about Marvel's Avengers honestly and without bias. Overall the game is exceptionally average with very little variety in enemy types and only 6 bosses(3 supervillains and 3 robots). There are a ton of menus and mechanics that will turn off anyone just looking for a pick up and play superhero action game. Additionally, both fans of the MCU and of Marvel comics will be turned off by a lack of skins that replicate the looks featured in those mediums as well as a story and universe only paying homage to both. While the game can be fun at times, the post Campaign loop isn't enough to keep you playing beyond doing your daily and weekly challenges.
The Campaign mode in Marvel's Avengers tells the superhero origin of Ms. Marvel(Kamala Khan) while also setting the stage for the online multiplayer "Avengers Initiate" mode. The dialogue in the Campaign Mode is a bit cringey during the opening scenes with 10 year old Kamala but things quickly improve after the events of A-Day. Without spoiling anything, Kamala goes through the typical superhero origin arc of getting powers, getting in over her head, doubting herself, then being given a pep talk that inspires her to keep going. The story beats are very familiar but the voice acting carries it and there were a few moments where I actually laughed in a good way.
On a side note, anyone worried about SJW politics being crammed into the game can breath a sigh of relief because there wasn't any in the game. Now, I know Kamala Khan herself is quite the controversial topic but I can assure you that she is actually written well in this game. The Avengers don't fawn over her or treat her like the coolest person in the room. Quite the opposite in fact as Black Widow dismisses her early on and Bruce Banner tries to drop her on Stark's doorstep before he skips town. Kamala is a well rounded character, in this game, and is pretty fun to play as when the story forces you to do so.
Yes, during the Campaign mode the game forces you to play as certain characters during certain portions. This sounds dumb in theory but it goes a long way to getting you familiar with all the characters and their different playstyles. It also helps you to snag gear and level up with each one before tackling the Avenger's Initiate mode. You also are rewarded with some skins and other cosmetics for going through the Campaign so you should do it for those if nothing else.
The gameplay in Marvel's Avengers can be summed up as "go to place, beat up enemies, collect loot." It practice it is a bit more complex as each superhero has a unique style and gameplay mechanics. For example, Iron Man has 3 different projectile types(repulsors, lasers, and missiles) that function differently and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, you can choose different Masteries for your superheroes to refine their playstyle even further, allowing you to tailor each one to your liking. Each character also has 4 gear slots, 2 minor artifact slots, and 1 major artifact slot that can pile on bonuses and attributes. Collectable comic books add bonuses to all your heroes.
Each character does has the same basic input setup which makes them all feel very similar when they have yet to level up and unlock moves and such. Each character can perform a Takedown, that heals your character as well as hurts the enemy, on stunned foes. Sometimes a Takedown requires the player to tap a certain button several times before the fancy animation resumes and damage is dealt but there is no way to fail the button mash prompt nor does it add anything extra to the attack. Yeah, it's pretty pointless and just a little bit annoying after doing it for the hundredth time.
Each superhero possesses 3 "super" moves that need to be recharged between uses. Some heroes have moves that are mostly offensive while others have a mix of defensive and offensive moves. Iron Man has arguably the best super move as he is able to summon his Hulk Buster armor for himself or any of his companions to wear. The Hulk Buster armor has a time limit to its use but it is usually enough time to clear the area. Calling the armor also refills Iron Man's health, so saving it for when you are hurt is the best use of the move.
Characters don't have any classes but they do fit into the basic gaming archetypes of Tank(Hulk, Thor, Captain America), Healer(Ms. Marvel), and DPS(Black Widow, Iron Man). Since these are not formal in game classes or roles, each character can be tweaked to be a DPS or Tank but only Ms. Marvel has any real ability to heal the party. The Hulk can heal himself very effectively so he is the top character, IMHO, at the moment.
To further differentiate each character, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, and Iron Man can use computer terminals to open doors to hidden treasure while Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man using his Hulk Buster special can break open destructible walls to uncover secret loot stashes. Captain America can do neither at the moment so playing as him will leave you without the ability to collect all the treasure chests on some maps.
Avenger's Initiative is the other mode and it can be played before or after completing the Campaign mode, tho it does have spoilers for the Campaign mode story. This is the online multiplayer mode for the game and is where you will be spending the bulk of your time with this game. It can be planned solo with AI companions, which is a godsend since getting a group of random players together for a mission can be a pretty long wait. However, when you do manage to get a group together you are in for the crap shoot that is random match making. If the server gods are kind and you do get a group of competent players than this mode can be quite fun and worth the wait.
With gameplay and story covered we need to discuss the giant elephant in the room, microtransactions. I already did a F-Bomb laced rant on the subject that you can view on YouTube, but if you rather not listen to me rant then just know the microtransactions are all purely cosmetic. There is no hard sell to buy any skin, nameplate, emote, or takedown animation. The premium currency is a bit pricey but you can earn some by completing the Challenge Cards for each hero. These Challenge Cards are 100% free for the 6 starter heroes but will require you to use 1,000 Credits to unlock the Premium rewards on all future DLC heroes. You will still be able to earn the Free rewards on each Challange Card but currently we have no idea what rewards will be tied to the premium tier and what rewards will be free.
The Premium Shop has a rotating Featured Item tab, with no indication if or when these items will come back around. Square Enix hasn't mentioned anything about cosmetics being a limited time thing, so there is hope that they will have a set schedule to the rotation and all items will eventually show back up within a reasonable time frame. I wish they would drop the whole rotating menu feature and just keep adding new cosmetics to the shop so you can buy things at your leisure with no pressure to "act now or miss out!" from the looming rotation deadline.
The other issue that needs to be talked about is the many bug featured in the game. The biggest one, which has been fixed but could always return, was unlocked cosmetic items disappearing from your inventory. While that is really shitty, the audio bugs are far more annoying. Hearing the NPCs repeating phrases ad nauseum as you try to shop or fight a battle is enough to cause any player to Hulk out. The visual bugs resulting in derpy faces are funny but not game breaking. Not sure if this qualifies as a bug, but running the game on my PS4 made my fan sound like it was ready for takeoff.
Final Verdict: Not Recommended
There is fun to be had in Marvel's Avengers but the buy in price is too high for the shallow gameplay loop. The lack of supervillains is supremely disappointing and one of the most glaring flaws the game has, combine that with really generic looking robotic enemies and the game becomes boring pretty fast. The multitude of bugs are annoying but not game breaking and I suspect them to be fixed in a timely manner, based solely on the quick fix initiated to the disappearing cosmetic bug. There seems to be no real rewards to be gained from playing the game on the 2 harder difficulties of Challenge III and Challenge IV so it is best to avoid them unless you like to get your ass handed to you or you need to do so for one of your faction quests. That said, Challenge I is a cake walk and Challenge II can be either really easy or pretty tough based on your own ability and character loadout.
I plan to do mini reviews with each DLC release and will revise my Final Verdict should the game drop in price or add a substantial amount of content. I will also be watching the microtransactions and premium currency and will do an article on either should something change about them. If you enjoyed this review I hope you will hop over to our Twitter and YouTube accounts and give us a follow. Links are just below this review, so feel free to scroll on down.