When I reviewed Marvel’s Avengers back in September last year, I praised it for having a really enjoyable campaign with excellent combat while criticising it for it’s awful repetitive endgame content, being littered with bugs and it’s seedy live service microtransactions. I finished by awarding the game a 7/10 with the promise that this review score would be updated once we’d received more content, as is often the case with ongoing games such as this. So here we are six months later and we’ve had two character expansions as well as a next-gen upgrade, but have these additions helped or hindered Marvel’s Avengers and has my review score changed? Let’s find out.
Before I get any further into this review, just be aware that although I won’t be talking about detailed story events, I also won’t be going out of my way to completely avoid all spoilers so if you are yet to play the expansions and wish to go in completely blind then maybe check back in later. Also if you’d prefer to give your brain a rest and watch the video version of this review then you can do so in the link below..
Firstly I want to talk about the next-gen upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X. I have been playing the PS5 version and for the most part it’s a big improvement. The first thing players will notice is that we are given a choice between ‘Highest Performance’ or ‘Highest Quality’. It’ll be no surprise to anybody who has spent time with Marvel’s Avengers that the biggest benefits come with the performance option as that targets 60fps over the quality setting that targets a natural 4K resolution. Having the game fun at 60fps really helps with the manic combat and makes Avengers a much more enjoyable experience, especially when fighting a lot of enemies at once. On the PS4 I would often have to deal with framerate dips dropping well below 30fps while the console would sound like it was about to take off whenever there were more than a handful of enemies to deal with at one time. Although the game sometimes struggled to stay at 60fps, the difference is borderline game changing and means the combat which I already enjoyed before is now even better when playing next-gen.
Not all visuals are worthy of calling themselves next-gen however with a lot of them still not even worthy of being labelled last-gen! Certain textures still look blurry, some locations feel really rough and extra characters who aren’t lucky enough to be Avengers usually look like old beat up potatoes that would look out of place in a PS3 game.
Outside of the visuals, long loading times are now a thing of the past. Remember those annoying slow mo shots of each Avenger you’d have to sit through while waiting to access the helicarrier? Well those are completely gone on PS5. It’s not as impressive as other next-gen titles which have eliminated load times entirely as there are still a lot of moments where the game takes it’s sweet ass time to load a map but it’s a noticeable change and makes the experience a better one for it. Elsewhere there is use of the haptic feedback on the dualsense controller but it’s very basic and a little disappointing, especially given that the two new characters are Kate Bishop & Hawkeye and we don’t even have any cool resistance effects on their bows.
The frequent bugs that I would constantly encounter on the last-gen version seemed to have been ironed out as well. After a good 5 hours on PS5 I am yet to have it snow indoors, have my character become a floating costume or fall through the floor, all of which were regular occurrences on PS4. I have had one incident where I was stuck on a black screen while I could still hear the action in the background but given how buggy my experience was before, I’ll take that!
The only real downside of upgrading to PS5 (and this isn’t an issue on Xbox as far as I’m aware) is how complicated it is to transfer your saved data across. It’s not as simple as the game reading your PSN profile and being ready to go, instead you need to go into your PS4 version of the game and upload the data and then download it on the PS5 version. Now that’s not exactly complicated but it does cause problems if you already uninstalled your PS4 version and now need to make room for a 120gb download rather than a 75gb one just to make a quick transfer. Oh and this is of course even more frustrating when you take into account the limited storage on PS5 anyway so I’d highly recommend keeping the PS4 version on your PS4 for this exact reason if you can.
So the next-gen upgrades are a pretty decent improvement, but what about the additional content? It’s worth noting before I talk about Kate Bishop & Hawkeye that one of my main issues in my last review was how bad the endgame content was, and having to wait nearly three months for any new content whatsoever just highlighted that even more. It became so boring and repetitive that every one of our regular group of players had uninstalled the game well before Kate Bishop – Taking AIM was finally released in December. Once it was out and Kate was officially in the team, things didn’t really get any better. After months of suffering from endless AIM hallways filled with the same AIM robots again and again we were greeted with, you guessed it, an infinite amount of AIM robots to kill in the same damn AIM hallways! The story that accompanied the drab locations was okay but it felt as if it had been written so that the developers could continue to recycle the same crap from the base game with the addition of a few new cutscenes to justify it as ‘new content’. This of course resulted in the gameplay being completely identical as once again we were tasked with defending point A, B and C or destroying point A, B and C time and time again.
Thankfully though Kate Bishop as a character is a joy to use, even if her dialogue does fall more on the side of cringey teen comedy than it does the typical MCU banter. So despite the first bit of additional content being an outright failure, at least the latest playable character was fun to use I guess. Then came Hawkeye this past month with his DLC – Future Imperfect. Now I’ve seen this story get a lot of hate but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to really enjoying it for the most part and I think I know why.
For better or for worse Hawkeye’s story just feels different. I’ve become so emotionally detached from Marvel’s Avengers story, mostly due to it all being about some old bag guy stereotypes trying to do an evil thing with soulless robots. Whereas Hawkeye’s story straight away humanises him, whether that’s due to interacting with actual civilians (which has criminally been a rarity in the game) or chasing after his stolen dog, it’s just a refreshing change of pace that was much needed.
The biggest breath of fresh air came when we finally got a brand new setting as Hawkeye & The Avengers travel forward in time to a post apocalyptic world in hunt of Nick Fury. Okay sure it’s still filled with an endless amount of AIM robots but just seeing something new was enough to make me sit forward and pay attention. I found the short and sweet story a lot more interesting than the Kate Bishop story from last year and although I didn’t necessarily get all the answers I wanted, I can’t help but feel it’s all leading to something bigger and gives me hope for the future. There was also a lot less point A, B and C nonsense so that was appreciated. Admittedly it was only replaced with more fighting but given Hawkeye plays just like Kate Bishop but a bit better, I was more than okay with this change. As I just touched on, Hawkeye unsurprisingly feels like a clone of Kate but his unique abilities including a really handy healing circle makes him a character who I can see myself using again in the future, especially if I can get that sweet ass Ronin outfit.. Wait, I need to pay for it? Of course I do..
To nobody’s surprise the endless amount of purchasable cosmetics are still constantly shoved down your throat and continue to leave a bad taste. It’s only fair to point out however that both these DLC’s were free so maybe it’s not quite as bad as the base game encouraging you to spend more money on your full priced AAA game but it’s still not ideal. Elsewhere there have been other minor improvements over the months including new shortcuts in your bases to receive Shield and Inhuman faction missions a lot quicker as well as just a tweak in layouts to cut time in walking between point A & B. There’s also been some really questionable additions such as the decision to slow down levelling therefore meaning you must grind for longer if you want to level up your Avengers. Given that the majority of the missions are boring and repetitive anyway, this feels like a really dumb move in asking players to suffer for even longer if they want to even consider maxing out every Avenger which is surely where the fun should be in a game like this?
So six months on from giving Marvel’s Avengers a 7/10, where do I stand now? There’s no doubt been a few saving graces, the performance mode on the next-gen version of the game being the stand out for me as it means I can enjoy the brilliant combat to its fullest. The most recent DLC was a lot of fun for me and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s left me wanting more and actually has me quite excited to see what the upcoming Black Panther expansion will be like, especially if it means we’re finally moving away from fighting AIM. Having said all that I can’t forget the months and months of nothing that we had to endure and how disappointed I was by the Kate Bishop DLC which felt lazy and insulting. Hell, even though I enjoyed the Hawkeye content it was still under two hours so maybe lazy is still applicable there too. It’s thanks to the most recent update though that I’m still just about on board and willing to give the live service game one more chance, however that doesn’t mean I can ignore the fact that the negatives have outweighed the positives over the past six months so as it stands I’ll be dropping my overall score for Marvel’s Avengers from a 7/10 to a..