Back at E3 this year, Square Enix showed a behind closed doors gameplay video of its upcoming Avengers game. The reception was poor from journalists, and from leaked footage, it did look bad. Maybe it was the cell phone camera that made it look like this is a licensed game from the early 2000s, until I saw the official gameplay reveal – it is that bad.
After a cutscene of the Avengers celebrating A-Day, duty calls as multiple attacks across San Fransisco burst out of nowhere. A little bit of awkward banter between Thor and Iron Man, the first peek at the overall feel is given as the God of Thunder smashes mysterious thugs. His movement looks sluggish, and the hits seem to not have weight to provide a satisfying punch, especially when throwing Mjolnir, his mighty hammer. It looks arcadey rather than a modern action experience.
Continuing the weird writing, his quips and catchphrases during combat are cringy. While the whole cast is excellent with Travis Willingham (Camp Camp and Tell Tale’s Batman) as Thor, Laura Bailey (Gears of War 4 and Insomniac’s Spider-Man) as Black Widow, Troy Baker (Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us) as Hulk, Nolan North (Uncharted and Pretty Little Liars) as Iron Man, and Jeff Schine (Mafia III and The Walking Dead: A New Frontier), they all have some flat line delivery along with no chemistry. North and Baker had wonderful chemistry in Uncharted 4, so maybe there was a directing issue, or this comes down to poor writing.
It appears each hero has three main moves to pummel enemies. The animations are enjoyable, but I have little hope the power will be there when playing.
Iron Man eventually comes in to help his friend. Unlike the movies where the heroes fighting side by side creates for exciting fights, this lacks that. He flies above Thor shooting people idly.
If things looked like you would play this in an arcade than pay $60, then it completely ramps up the quarter hungry type of game as Iron Man get his time to shine on screen. Switching to the billionaire superhero, he flies across the wreckage of exploded vehicles to shoot down flying enemies. The destruction of the landscape looks spectacular, which loses its mesmerizing effect as Tony blasts generic thugs out of the sky.
Hulk’s combat section does not repair any damage. He does what he is best at, smashing. The impact is not there, making him, along with everyone else, a lot less powerful than he should. The green Avenger jumps over gaps in the Golden Gate Bridge by wall jumping from one collapsed piece of debris or vehicle to another. It is overly linear and adds no depth to the gameplay.
Captain America continues the generic fighting as he kicks, punches, and uses his iconic shield to defeat incoming enemies. This beat-em-up section looks like every other scenario. While each character does have unique abilities, I don’t have confidence that will make enough of a difference for the quality.
Black Widow chases Taskmaster, the only supervillain shown off so far. Out of every character design, he is one of the best. A brief platforming section along with a QTE (quick time event) heavy battle with the antagonist screams the early to mid-2000s in the worst possible way. She does get in a real battle with two more stages of this battle, which shows off weak gunplay and slightly faster movement from the agent.
It ends on a cutscene of Captain’s death and a few cutscenes from the trailer shown before this Gamescom reveal. All of the cutscenes are impressively crafted. The epic scope makes this story worthy for the Avengers, but everything else falls flat to make me not even care for its potential.
The second AAA title from Marvel Games looks terribly disappointing. Outside of pretty graphics, it offers no appeal to me at all. After the success of Spider-Man, I thought things looked positive for the other studios developing for the publisher. Turns out I was wrong as this comes off as a dated and generic action game that would have come out a decade ago as a cheap tie-in to one of the movies.
What do you think of the gameplay for Marvel’s Avengers?
Marvel’s Avengers comes out May 15, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia.
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Images via Marvel Games/Square Enix