Does Marvel’s Avengers deliver?

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After our speculation and high hopes for Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers, I was buzzing to get my hands on the latest Marvel escapade. If you want a bit more background info and explanation as to the significance of Ms Marvel starring in this game, I’d recommend reading through Ayo’s predictions and synopsis.

After playing the game myself, I have concluded: 

This game could be brilliant. Please don’t buy it yet.

I know, the two statements here are a bit contrary, but I’m going to take you through the entire thought process that led me to the above idiotic statement. To be honest, it pains me to even type these words because Marvel’s Avengers is a brilliant game, but it needs so much more work.

Square Enix have made an enjoyable, addictive yet flawed game. In the same way I could sink three or four hours into the campaign without pausing, I am so let down by the various bugs and glitches that it ruins what could honestly be my game of the year. 

Combat

Avengers is absolutely enthralling to play. Its combat is immersive and intense without being ridiculously difficult as you level up each playable character and their power level (determined by your equipped gear). 

They’ve really nailed the sound effects and created a real sense of impact with every punch. It’s worth playing Iron Man just to hear those sweet repulsors fire every other attack. 

Image Credit: Square Enix
File this one under ‘images you can hear’

Each playable character has a unique playstyle which all require a different mindset and tactics when playing. In my experience, it’s difficult to balance each character’s separate abilities without requiring a different controller layout or scheme. You run the risk of each character feeling ridiculously similar but with a different aesthetic. Square Enix have knocked it out of the park in that respect, with Thor swinging Mjolnir against individual targets and Ms Marvel holding off lots of mobs with her elastic arms.

Each character’s RPG-esque skill trees are well planned and give a real sense of progression, pushing you to keep playing to unlock a new heavy attack combo or improve your skill moves.

The core combat in Avengers is reminiscent of the Arkham games, the typical light and heavy attacks, with an emphasis on timing your dodges and parries to charge up stronger skills with Intrinsic Energy. The combat is well-polished if a tad unbalanced in terms of characters relative damage output. It’s a bit strange how the Hulk can’t one-hit enemies that Black Widow can take down in three punches? Not completely comic accurate but I suppose the characters have to be fairly equal to make sure none are underpowered.

Campaign

The Avengers campaign is great. Set in a world where Inhumans are treated as a disease and the Avengers have disbanded following a public failure, you have to reassemble the Avengers (hehehe) and take down AIM and their well-intentioned destruction of all free will in the name of safety. Jheez, Templars much? 

Image Credit: Square Enix
Experience Ms Marvel’s journey from superfan to fully-fledged Avenger.

The voice acting is terrific, and the raw emotions conveyed by each main cast member are top-class. There’s a few twists and turns on the way, some of which even took me by surprise, but I’ll refrain from spoilers. 

Multiplayer

Avengers  is laid out in a format recognisable to Destiny fans (pre-free-to-play at least, yuck). With recurring ‘war zones’, weekly challenges, faction-based missions and vendors, Square Enix was definitely ‘inspired’ by Bungie’s game layout. And to be fair, it does create clear and concise gameplay. 

Image Credit: Square Enix
Faction based vendors selling character-specific gear? Very Destiny-like.

But that’s not the hard part. 

No, the hard part is finding a game. This is why I don’t think people should buy this game. It is completely riddled with bugs and massive loading screens. I’ve had to restart the game six or seven times in the 5 days I’ve owned the game, let alone the bugged incompletable side missions. I’ve had so many 10-minute loading screens that I’ve taken to having a book next to me whenever I’m playing to have a little read between missions. 

Also, some enemies just disappear mid-swing? One second you’re about to nail some thug in the face with Cap’s shield and the next you’re swinging at buck naked nothingness. 

Plus there’s the sound issues, hearing the same syllable for 10 seconds as Thor’s voice line glitches is kind of hilarious, but also deeply immersion-breaking. 

Image Credit: Square Enix
There’s nothing quite like rolling out with your mates as Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Personally one of the most infuriating issues is the typos. Oh god, the typos. I’m probably being a bit pedantic here but in my eyes, the clearly unchecked spelling mistakes are almost as sinful as the marathon loading screens. It wouldn’t take too long just for someone to double-check the descriptions of gear or the game messages.

To be fair, when the heavens aligned and I could finally start a mission with my friends, we had a great time. There’s nothing quite like rolling out as a group of Avengers. There’s a strong sense of teamwork and we spent at least half of each mission trying to find hidden chests for that sweet sweet loot. Some characters such as Hulk, Ms Marvel and Thor are capable of knocking down walls to reveal secrets, whereas others have hacking abilities like Iron Man and Black Widow, revealing other secret areas. 

Why shouldn’t you buy Avengers?

Avengers is a potentially brilliant game. It combines elements from various successful titles, is highly cooperative and is based in the Marvel universe. But all the bugs are infuriatingly simple issues. It seems to me that Avengers needed at least a few more months in development to iron out those problems and make sure the game was sufficiently playable. I mean, a couple bugs at launch are to be expected nowadays, but it felt like I was still playing the Beta. This is an unfinished product in my eyes.

By purchasing this arguably incomplete product, you’re telling the publishers that you are comfortable with these standards.

Essentially, if Avengers sells a lot of copies, more and more publishers will begin releasing their games before they’re quite ready, as it doesn’t seem to be hurting their profits. The only way to communicate with publishers as a consumer is with your money. Do not accept subpar games, and the quality of triple A titles will improve as the market becomes more selective. By choosing not to purchase Avengers until these issues are fixed is the only way we as individuals can enforce these standards and maintain the quality of gaming for the future.

Is it worth the money?

In its current state, Avengers is not worth £60. However with the promise of future additional content, and hopefully the fixing of its many bugs, I wouldn’t mind paying that much for this game.

So, give it a few months, wait for it to drop in price a bit and for the bugs to be patched, then definitely buy this game. At its core, there’s no other game like it, but unfortunately, the current state of the game lets down all the hard work that’s clearly been put into parts of this title. 

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