If you’ve spent more than five minutes on this site in the last 12 months then you’ll already know that a lot of our writers have managed to get their hands on the Marvel’s Avengers game already and opinions have been all over the place. A good example of this was the difference of opinions between both Javier and Luke, to see exactly what I mean, make sure to check out the Marvel’s Avengers entry in the video below. (roughly 6min 25secs in)
As time passed we were shown different war table events and new trailers, all the while I’ve been quietly watching from the background and trying not to judge the game too much before I actually get to play it. However I could not hide my fear of this being a game as a live service. Square Enix have not hid this fact but have done a good job at selling the first game of that model that may actually spark my interest after years of hating on the likes of Destiny and The Division.
Don’t get me wrong, these games are impressive and I completely understand people’s obsession but they’re just not for me. Sign me up for a giant single player adventure with more attention to detail any day of the week. Back to Marvel’s Avengers though, if there’s one game that could potentially get me on board with this model then it’ll be a Marvel game that plays well, which is exactly what I thought this might be.
When my good buddy Javier told me that he was bringing over the beta version of the game this past weekend, I found myself to be a mixture of hesitant and excited. Yes I detest games that are this online heavy but it’s Avengers and every bit of gameplay I’ve seen looks thrilling so I was ready to finally play it! As you’ll likely already know, the beta opens with the footage we’ve been seeing for months with the ‘Avengers day’ celebrations which take a turn for the worse pretty quickly.. much like my experience with the beta funnily enough.
I knew what to expect from seeing this footage already but controlling Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow in their own little showcase events was like being given four amazing presents on Christmas day and one unwanted pair of socks (sorry Tony). I can completely understand after playing this opening level why people were so excited coming out of EGX. Then the game opened up properly and Christmas day turned into Boxing day at the refund counter quicker than you can say Hulk smash.
I will preface all of what I’m about to say with my acknowledgment that this is a beta so of course we aren’t going to be shown everything but with the game due next month, I can’t see there being many drastic changes. The first thing I noticed were the character models. Now I’ve seen a fair few complaints and screenshots of some terrible looking models but in my experience The Hulk and Kamala looked pretty great and I’m all in on bearded Hulk!
Like I said, the little showcase they gave us for Hulk in the opening sequence was a thrill ride. However that ride was only about three minutes long and full of all the best moves that Hulk has mixed in nicely with some fun quick time events. As soon as you actually take control of the gamma infused genius for more than five minutes, the cracks begin to show.
The gameplay isn’t terrible but it’s not great either. It’s a very simple mix of heavy and strong attacks mixed in with a few bumper button specials which seemed entertaining enough at first but wore thin after the twentieth big Hulk clap against the endless wave of repetitive mindless robots. This was also an issue, the enemies feel pointless and I couldn’t even tell you why I was having to fight through them all, they were kind of just there.. a bit like The Hulk and Kamala in this boring ass location actually.
Looking at my favourite superhero games there’s always a bit of a theme. In the Arkham games you don’t just have a brilliant Batman who’s a joy to play as but an immersive and wonderful looking Gotham City to explore as well, the same can be said for the true to life New York City we are treated to in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Unfortunately what I saw in both the opening Hulk level and what followed in Avengers was just unoriginal stereotypical high-tech bad guy bases, it was all just so lifeless.
Passing the control pad back and forth, both Javier and myself would often share the same complaints, usually along the lines of “Where am I?”, “What am I even meant to be doing” and “When will it end?”. I understand that some story scenes will have been taken out for the beta but giving me more backstory to why I’m mindlessly destroying waves of boring enemies in a soulless location won’t excuse it for me.
Then we reached the war table. It was at this point that I decided that I will not be parting with £50 plus for this game. I was still holding out some sort of hope that the majority of the game could be played single player with the option to jump into extra side missions with my mates when the opportunity arose. Nope, you’re forced (at least in the beta) to jump into a matchmaking screen to do another pointless mission with no reason why. Tie that into a menu which just screamed online level building nonsense and I was pretty much out.
This time it was even worse as it quickly became clear that these missions are nothing more than typical boring online tropes such as protect the point and defeat waves. By the time we unlocked Iron Man and Black Widow I was so bored and fed up that I might not have given them a fair crack. Having said that, my short experience of watching Jav use them outside of that opening thrill ride was that they somehow manage to feel a lot like both Hulk and Kamala despite being smaller characters who you’d think would have a completely different feel to them.
My guess is that the developers want all the characters to play in a similar fashion so it’s not too complicated to jump between them but if that results in boring and forgettable gameplay across the entire team then don’t bother. I’d much rather each Avenger have their own unique play style which I can choose to learn for the ones l like better.
I’d love to talk about the end of the beta but the truth is we didn’t make it that far, boredom overtook the both of us and this online game as a crappy service with an Avengers skin was turned off, hopefully for the last time. Never say never, if I find myself with a cheap or free copy of the game then I may want to give the full version another go but just based on my experience of the beta from this weekend, my worst fears were confirmed that this game isn’t for me or anyone else who’s looking for a decent single player experience. Looks like my next superhero experience will just have to wait until Spider-Man: Miles Morales, roll on Holiday 2020!