Marvel's Avengers Review (PS5)
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Developed: Crystal Dynamics
Release Date: Sept 4th, 2020
Platforms: PS4/PS5/XB1/Xbox Series/Stadia/Windows
*Game provided to me by Square-Enix
Marvel's Avengers is an action adventure game that is developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square-Enix. It's been nearly a year since this game was originally released, but since that time there has been a lot of updates, new content added and many other changes that might give this game new life. Does this game have a second wind like good ol Steve Rogers who can ''do this all day'' or is it best left as dust in the wind like our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and leave us saying ''I don't feel so good'', Mister Stark''. Only one way to find out, so, let's assemble!
It's A-Day, the glorious day when the earths mightiest heroes, the Avengers, are unveiling a new, hi-tech Avengers Headquarters in San Francisco. With it being a day of celebration of not only new tech, but a day to celebrate all the die hard fans out there, everything seems to be just fine. That is until chaos erupts that sends the entire event into sheer panic and destruction. Five years after the event, now with the Avengers disbanded and being blamed for the deaths and infection of thousands of people, its up to one die hard super fan and newly emerging Inhuman named Kamala Khan to seek the answers once and for all and find out just who the TRUE villain is behind this whole mess and its a mystery, that may shock everyone.
Marvel's Avengers is an action adventure game that has you starting out as the young Kamala Khan, who was also one of the victims of the outcome of A-Day. This event lead to the deaths of thousands of people, as well as leaving many more with a mutation that not only gave them special powers and abilities, but also made them enemy #1 on the list from the evil corporation of AIM. All people deemed and labeled as ''Inhumans'' are tracked down, jailed or even killed, its one of the darkest times for humanity in general and with the Avengers disbanded and scattered all across the globe, there seems to be no end in sight to fixing this mess and freeing the world from this tyranny. That is until Kamala Khan decides one evening to hack into the AIM private security servers to see just what the hell they're up to and what she finds is very disturbing.
After viewing the footage and seeing that it was the scientist, Tarleton, that was the one that killed Captain America, she cant believe just what she has witnessed and she knows she has to do something, anything, to let the world know that it was NOT the Avengers fault, they're innocent of the crimes AIM says they're guilty of. So now as one of AIM's #1 enemies, she is chased and attacked on a constant basis by AIM drones and foot soldiers that are trying to kill her and silence her. She can't do this alone, she needs help. But who can she call?. Well the only thing she can think of is trying to find the rest of the group known as the Resistance. The Resistance is a group if Inhumans who vow to fight back and take down AIM, so with her heartfelt goodbye to her dad, not knowing if she will return, she sets off for the inhuman's base to try to help expose AIM for who they truly are. Pretty big task for just a kid. Especially one that looks like a female Stretch Armstrong. The real ones will know who I'm talking about. Respect. Pretty good set up for your adventure right? Well now that you are aware of the basic gist and premise of what the overarching plot and story are, its now time to get a little bit into the actual game play. We'll start with a few characters, including Kamala Khan who'm you will be playing as mostly in the beginning of your campaign.
In Marvel's Avengers, the combat varies from hero to hero based off the abilities they have as a hero. For instance you can be playing as Iron Man and your style changes to flying and maneuvering around an area with flight, shooting and charging lasers and so forth, whereas someone like a Kamala Khan acts more like a stretchy piece of rubber that can allow her to change her fist sizes and use poles and other means of transportation to swing on. If you've watched One Piece, think of something like Luffy, or for the better of the comparisons think of Mister Fantastic. During the main games campaign you will be able to play as all the heroes you know and love, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man. Each character you play as all have their own individual character tree and ability tree that you unlock throughout your playthrough, all of which give you massive upgrades that can help you later on in the game should you have trouble dealing with bigger and harder hitting enemies or enemies with very strong shields that won't let you damage them normally. But not every character is a bonafide winner either. Characters like Iron Man can have some really awkward steering using your left and right thumbsticks and also having really bad aiming when it comes to using your lasers, even when you use lock on targeting for your enemies. But characters like Black Widow and Captain America feel so good. Being able to kick and punch your enemy with fast attacks in succession, then throw your whip and pull yourself towards enemies to continue your combination attack by Black Widow feels so damn good and vice versa using melee attacking with Captain America and charging up your shield throws and watching it ricochet off the walls and land right back in your hand. Man, he really was right. I really CAN do this all day. Its super fun. But we'll get back to the core game play in just a second, trust me, we'll be thorough. However, I want to touch more upon the progression of the story cause this is 90% of the reason people will be playing this title to begin with in my opinion.
As Kamala sets out to find the resistance base, she happens to come across Captain America's shield just lying out in the middle of nowhere. Strange. She decides to pick it up and BAM. Holy crap, Its Hulk, angrier than he's ever been and it was at that moment, Kamala Khan knew, she F'ed up. Now the game goes from a hack and slash button masher with light and heavy attacks to an escape for your life level. Run your booty off and jump across ledges, run along walls and dodge all railing and platforms that Hulk is destroying and try to stay alive. There's no way you can fight this big boy. Long story short, you can't run from him, its impossible, but he's not mad at you, he just wants the shield, its Steve's shield, his friend, he just wants it back. So as you plead for your life and pee your pants like Otacon from Metal Gear Solid, Hulk leaves and that is that. Shortly after this you meet up with Hulk again, but he is now calmed down to his normal state, Bruce Banner. Feeling that she now has a REAL shot to blow this whole story wide open, she asks for his help in fighting AIM as well as finding Tony Stark. But Bruce is like ''girl, the hell, you literally woke me up from a nap, stole my best friends shield, brought a horde of enemies upon my sanctuary and now want me stop eating my bon bon's to help you go around the world to find a man I now hate?''. ''Well... yeah!'' Kamala says. But there's something he really needs to see. The old saying of ''seeing is believing''. Bruce has to see the footage she saw earlier or else he might not help. So hesitantly he watches it too and is also horrified by what he saw. Once he sees the footage, the two are off to find Tony Stark and hopefully get another Avenger on their team. The story is really picking up now!
If you haven't guessed by now. Yes, this will be the trend of the game. Go to a new area ,like a desert resistance base, AIM facility labs, going to space.. wait space? yes that's right space. You actually have to go to space to find a secret AIM lair hidden inside a satellite later on in the game. Sounds like something Vin Diesel wants to do in the next Fast movie right?. Its basically Avengers go Dead Space, only without all the dismembering of monster bodies, oh well, cant have everything we want I guess, but a least we have family, right vinny?. Although...Tony Stark's armor for this mission DOES look like it belongs in Dead Space, so, hey, at least we got half a win there. Most of the areas you encounter are pretty cool, at least design and aesthetic wise, but only a few are actually expanded and feel more ''open''. Majority of your trek through each section of the world will take you through narrow hallways and corridors as you fight your way through hordes of enemies or get your platforming game on, depending on which character you're playing as at the time. While they're pretty cool design wise, its nothing spectacular. Personally my favorite area was Ant Hill. Ant Hill is the real home of the resistance Inhumans that is ran by Ant-Man himself. They have everything, including high tech gear, scientists, training facilities for newly discovered Inhumans and even a weed harvest. Wait, what. That can't be right. Nope, that's exactly what it looks like. Not sure of Its legalized in this version of the marvel multi-verse, so I'm taking notes of this just incase they don't have a license to grow and sell.
Back when this game got first released, It seems to have gotten crapped on pretty hard. The initial reveal, even I admit was underwhelming and something about it just seemed off. Then the game actually came out and it became a mixed bag of a reaction. Some people said it was decent and isn't too bad and others said it absolutely needed to be thrown in a dumpster and set on fire. Me personally after playing through the story campaign and some of the side missions you get to do, I can honestly say, from titles like this, to games like Marvel vs Capcom Infinite to Iron Man's 2008 game, I can definitely say I've seen worse. Going into playing this made me wonder just what was so bad about it that people were getting up in arms about. Much like the situation with Balan Wonderworld, I kind felt like maybe it was a case of just people jumping on the hate bandwagon since sometimes that tends to happen. Your favorite creator or outlet shares an opinion, we parrot it because we view their opinion as more valid than our own because we relate to that person, it happens. I also thought maybe it was a case of a more dude bro type of gamer being like ''Dude bro, let's play some call of duty'' or something. Which makes me just want to become Hulk and give them a good punch out of the room, not because the games are bad, but because its become obnoxious. But all jokes aside, were the naysayers of this game actually right at the end of the day? well.. honestly both yes and no.
The reason why I can agree with certain people on why the game underwhelmed them is based off several factors. For one its a live service type of game, meaning its extremely heavy on the microtransactions to get new heroes or even new costumes to use for each character. Pacing is also another issue that you can run into with the game going completely nuts with big action set pieces, then immediately slows you to snail crawl and just going through the motions of fight these guys, move to next room, fight these guys, move to next room. While the game play never got overly boring to me personally, some of the level designs actually did. Why is that you may ask? are you sure you want to know? the story of my playthrough is not for the faint of heart, but like most stories worth telling ,it all begins with a girl, yes that girl, Mary jane... ehh oops. Sorry. I just got done watching Spider-man 2002 a few nights ago so my mind is still elsewhere. Where was I? oh yes. Why I got bored at times. Well its because some of the level design. No not in the way its structured from a art work stand point, but the way they can drag on and on and seem like they do not want to end. There's only so many times you can beat the same waves of enemies like 6 times in a row before you want to fall asleep. This was a main problem for me, drag on levels that made pacing tedious. I will get more into my dislikes in a few seconds because there's so much I have to cover.
As I stated earlier, you have at least 6 characters you'll be able to play as throughout your campaign and even more than that when you tackle the end game content after your main story adventure ends. All heroes have their own loadouts which consists of equipable outfits, artifacts that boost power and other attributes, gear for hands/chest that can boost your battle power for each character, which is also able to be upgraded if you collected enough resources, take down finishers which act like your special move that you can activate on enemies that are low health and a skill tree which is based on how much you level up by acquiring experience points. The skill tree is actually one of the more enjoyable parts of the combat in this game as everyone has a different play style and each player will have a different experience based off what they level up. Each hero in the game has 4 sections to level up, for example, Iron Man has Melee, Repulsors, Lasers and Rockets, all of which give him a competitive edge during combat by allowing him to upgrade to a flying and downward smash attack, stronger hand repulsor attacks that break enemy shields, a laser that spreads and hits every enemy surrounding you or strong rocket attacks that send your opponents flying. Every character has these type of upgrades. Even probably one of my favorite characters in the game, Kamala Khan. Personality and game play wise, she's very balanced. I love how she is written, along with her rubber hand attacks that require swinging her long arms around and then doing a combo with giant hands and fist. It just feels really good. I actually think I over leveled her because I used her so much over the other heroes. She's just a really fun and fleshed out character and because of this game, I'm actually looking forward to seeing how the Ms Marvel series is gonna turn out now. Crazy right?. Its almost time to wrap up this bad because like Dr. Strange says, ''were in the end game now''. There's just a few more things I'd like to cover because with a game of this size, I feel its almost my obligation to let everyone know everything there is to this game before spending their money.
As you slog your way through the roughly 10-12 of story mode, you finally make it to the end of the game and come face to face with the final boss, but it's unlike anything anyone has ever seen. The REAL bad guy this entire time is. Thanos. No sorry , he's not the real villain. The main villain of this story is Modok. Due to events of A-Day he's been mutated into a gigantic head. You remember the 90's and games having ''Big Head'' mode? well think of that, except someone is using game shark or game genie to make it permanent. Poor guy, he's in over his... head. hahaha...yup. This fight is nothing really anything special, spectacle, but not very much substance. Plus it has one of the biggest tropes in it that tends to annoy me and its the trope of ''Ha, you think you beat me, guess again!'' and then the enemy goes through like 5 more phases of tedious tasks. It's like good lord, enough with the padding, I get it, can I just beat the game and move on now please? thank you. This game also suffers from stopping you dead in your tracks and making you do a fetch quest for specific items to advance the story, but it doesn't tell you where to find them, you have to guess. This annoyed the living hell out of me and wasted nearly two hours of my time and my boyfriend ended up getting an annoyed rant out of it from me. You owe him emotional compensation, Crystal Dynamics.
When you're done being the mightiest hero you can be during the main game campaign, you're able to take on A LOT of end game content. I'm not joking. This game is loaded with things to do after you beat the main game. From daily challenges that require you to help with ongoing Shield investigations, complete all HARM training programs for every character for extra currency to spend, heroic mission chains for each character that gives a little side story to their character and then there's finally the bigger missions that people will care more about overall called Operations. Operations are mini side stories where you take on the role of Hawkeye, Kate Bishop and Black Panther in the newest released update. These offer at least ,multiple extended hours to your experience, EASILY, and its definitely one of the better incentives I've seen from games lately for end game content. It will have you coming back for awhile and that my friends is not a BAD thing... that... is a good thing!
At the end of the day, even a year later, Marvel's Avengers still remains quite a mixed bag, no matter how much you want to slice and dice it. Even with all the updates its gotten over the last year and with PS5 version getting graphical upgrade, better performance and frame rate, it still can't fix the tediousness of some of the levels that drag on, the fetch quests that becoming mandatory and won't let you advance in the story, lots of linear hallway fighting and some characters that either seem unbalanced or awkward to control like Iron Man. But even with all the bad, it still does a lot of things that are really good, such as I feel this game has a really interesting original story and I was actually interested the whole way through, graphically this game looks so damn good, easily the best looking Marvel game to this date. The characters to me are also very well written and I can't say I hated anyone in this story from how they were portrayed or how they were voice acted, everything screamed top notch when it comes to that category and easily, bar none, my favorite character of the game is Kamala Khan. Everything about her character resonated with me from her fangirl like spunk and excitement, to her determination to do the right thing and down to her combat style. Definitely the best character.
There's a lot this game gets right besides that as well, like character gear upgrades, take down moves, skill tree that allows you to make your heroes arsenal more powerful, set pieces that are action packed, great voice acting and even the music is good. Sure, its not the most amazing game in the world, I'll 100 percent agree to that without question. But as I said earlier. I've played and seen far worse than what this title offered me here. Do I feel this title redeemed the good name of Marvel? Ehh, not exactly. Marvel games of late, at least in my opinion have been more miss than hit. But there's another title on the horizon that just may swing things back in the favor of ''hit'' rather than ''miss''. So it will be up to that title, to avenge the fallen. I'm of course talking about Midnight Suns. So let's just end this now so I stop rambling on and on. What is my verdict? well if this game was still full price or even $40, I'd probably tell you to pass or wait for price drop. Sure it has a lot going for it but the live service format can be a turn off and hindrance. But since you can find this game at retail for a $20-$25 price range. I say, why not? So with all that having been said. My verdict is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW