Marvel’s Avengers was easily one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year and so much about it is excellent that it fills me with great hope for future releases.
But - and, yes, I’m afraid there are a few buts - it is far from perfect, and suffers from several frustrations and let downs throughout.
What is the game about?
The game follows Inhuman teenager, Kamala Khan, who gained superpowers after exposure to Terrigen Mist during A-Day - a celebratory day for the Avengers wherein a tragedy resulted in death and destruction.
Blamed for the chaos, the Avengers disbanded, allowing the science corporation A.I.M. to take their place. Five years later, when A.I.M. threatens to end the world of superpowered individuals, Kamala embarks on a quest to reassemble Earth's Mightiest Heroes so that they can save the world from peril once more.
And that’s where you come in. You take control of your favourite Avenger in a third person perspective to do just that.
Marvel’s Avengers looks absolutely fantastic and has both single player and multiplayer modes. There is also an online co-op mode, allowing you to assemble your own team of heroes.
The initial roster of Avengers included Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Kamala Khan (otherwise known as Ms Marvel). But even more characters are being added in free post-launch updates, which also feature new areas.
It’s not just a case of picking your favourite character, though. Each hero has a variety of differing abilities, skills, powers and weapons, which can be upgraded using the easy to follow skill tree. You can also customise your character’s costume which is pretty neat, too.
'Some of the best combat around'
The game’s crowning achievement is undoubtedly the combat. There is so much depth to the fighting and mechanics and this only expands as you unlock more moves and specialisms. To be frank, this is some of the best combat around and it is the one thing that has given me great hope for future releases.
In many games, characters often feel and play a bit samey. I call it the Ryu-Ken Paradox - but this is yet to enter mainstream vocabulary! The beauty of MA is that each character really does feel different from the others. Of course, that’s how it should be, especially with a roster as nuanced as Marvel’s. But it is so often not the case and should be celebrated as it really does add so much variety to the experience.
I loved the story campaign mode and found it a thoroughly entertaining ride. To be honest, I personally would have been happy with that as a standalone game, in many respects. It does a great job of keeping you fully tuned in while exploring the various relationships and conflicts between the Avengers.
But that’s not to say multiplayer doesn’t shine in it’s own right. In fact, teaming up online with friends was thrilling and especially rewarding when you work together effectively. Using your Avenger’s special or unique abilities to save the day is a massive buzz.
The bad points
Unfortunately, though, as I touched on at the top of this review there are several frustrations too.
The Live game aspect feels like it has been shoehorned in and I’m not altogether sure it actually adds anything to the experience. If anything it is to the detriment of the characters, so could be argued the game is better without it.
My biggest bug bear, though, is the loot and the grind that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, the grind is piecemeal compared to the likes of the king of grind, World of Warcraft. But rarely is it enjoyable, even as you progress through the levels.
As good as the teamwork element of multiplayer mode is while controlling your favourite superhero, the actual mode suffers from a lack of variation in terms of both locations and the enemies you encounter. And at times it can be a touch chaotic, rendering skill and planning futile.
There were a number of bugs and technical issues I experienced while playing, but I am hoping this will be ironed out through patches.
Overall, I enjoyed taking control of the Avengers and making use of their abilities. The combat, graphics, story mode and some elements of multiplayer are fantastic.
But there are too many annoyances holding it back. Plenty of potential for future titles, harnessing the new power of PS5 and XBox Series S.