'Marvel's Avengers' Is a Good Game Buried Under Bad Marketing

I do not have time for so-called "games as a service" games. They do not fit into my life, one that requires intense time management to play games at all, let alone ones that involve other people and hundreds of hours in order to engage with what makes them click. To be clear, I do not wish these games to disappear—I'm simply jealous I can't play them and so their popularity, both in the broader gaming culture and for stockholders, drives me up a wall, because every game announced in that template is, inevitably, one I probably can't enjoy.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wxqanb/marvels-avengers-is-a-good-game-buried-under-bad-marketing

I’m about 2/3 of the way through the story at this point, so I’ll offer these two things in addition to Patrick’s impressions:

  1. The best moments you’ll have in the middle of combat in this game always let me down a little because you realize that someone could have just made the Marvel’s (character) based on your current character. This could have been a Ms. Marvel game. It probably would have been better for it. The team behind Thor borrowed some personnel from everyone’s favorite sad/mad/bad Greek dad. As a result, playing as Thor when not flying is actually pretty fun! Not sure about a full Thor game, but Square-Enix/Crystal Dynamics ironically put a lot of restrictions on themselves when they decided to pursue so many characters simultaneously. I hope that if the Marvel Games label decides to work on another big game like this that it’s just one character next time (not including the inevitable Spider-Man 2).
  2. I don’t know if that it’s that I just finished playing The Last of Us 2 or if it’s 2020 in general, but gosh it’s nice to play a story with a character with as sunny a disposition as Kamala Khan. And I’ll be darned if they don’t make the “fanfic finalist” angle work both as a means of illustrating how Kamala relates to the Avengers but also how the Avengers relate to Kamala.
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Gosh, that A-Day intro with Kamala walking around and geeking out about her heroes (with an acknowledgment of where her fave hero was at that moment) was just so well done. Kamala’s dad with his trademark brown dad negging of the Golden Gate Bridge was also a highlight. I’m only like two hours in but so far this game is bringing me back to why I like certain triple A experiences.

I get everyone being down on them going broad with the Avengers and not focusing on one hero, but I’m actually like the GAAS format so far. Just knowing that we’re going to get a drop feed of regular story content for free going forward really appeals to me, and was kind of what I hoped Anthem would have been.

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I haven’t gotten into the individual character quest chains yet to see if they’re any good. If I had to guess, that’s probably the kind of content that’ll be forthcoming more than big ol’ setpiece/cutscene levels like the main story.

I swear Dr. Doom or like Loki did the marketing for this game.

This whole thing has been like the Joker running the fan outreach for a new Batman game.

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You’re probably right that it’s going to be smaller character arcs, but hey, I’m not the biggest fan of the set pieces as I’m the guy that fell about a dozen times trying to get through Hulk’s Golden Gate obstacle course. If it’s smaller character moments mixed in with beating up mooks I’m cool with that.

And who knows, I could totally see them doing larger yearly expansion packs like Destiny with beefier story content as well!

Honestly, the biggest sin was not getting the pre-bridge segment with Kamala Khan at the fanfic contest finals in front of as many eyeballs as possible. That was the part that sold me on the game.

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I’ve played a lot of this game, level 32 Ms. Marvel with a power level of 80. The story was okay, I’m a big Ms. Marvel fan so I’m glad I already knew her origin story to fill in some blanks. I’ll give some end-game thoughts below in case anyone is interested.

The post-game stuff is pretty terrible. It ties directly into the ending, features some amount of unique voice lines, but I have no idea if it will pay off at all without playing probably 50 more hours. Abomination and Taskmaster are the only post-game repeatable villain fights, and they are awful fights. The combat becomes tedious, if you check reddit you will see a lot of people complaining about ranged weapon spam, and in the post-game you basically are trying to desperately keep track of which of the 10 ranged enemies on and off screen were the ones that hit you, and you often end up dodging one unblockable attack only to dodge right into another one. There have been a few times where I have just been stunlocked or one shot without knowing what happened.

Also, Austin mentioned on the pod about certain characters not being able to destroy the doors that have chests behind them so you’re basically out of luck if you’re playing singleplayer. It’s actually worse than what he mentioned, there are also doors where you need to hack a control panel to open them - only Black Widow can open those doors. Captain America can’t open the doors that need to be broken or the doors that need to be hacked.

Anyway I’ve played way too much of this game and I think I’m done with it until they start fixing some of the issues, especially the save ending bug that can happen. I hope they do at least fix the issues and give it support though because the end-game stuff does have potential, and I would definitely play any future story missions.

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The more I see of this game, the more it feels like it was made as this story campaign first, and then forced to become a GaaS game by shareholders second.

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The mission where you have to destroy the AIM Arc Reactor as Iron Man is where I really started thinking a lot about combat design.

Insomniac and Rocksteady both understand a few fundamental things about a game like this:

  1. The camera needs to come out quite a bit so you can see as much of your combat arena as possible.
  2. If you’re going to have enemies that can attack from range, you need to make sure you have a “knock it off” button (e.g. a Batarang that auto-targets) and some means of closing the distance so they can be removed from the combat puzzle.

The many, many teams behind Avengers…don’t really understand this. Every Avenger has a ranged attack, yes, but you have to specifically switch to “ranged” mode, line up your target, and not miss all while being pursued by other enemies who stunlock you quite easily. And they’ll give you the blue “ranged attack incoming” indicator, but good luck dodging it!

I just want to play the fucking amazing looking Marvel vs Capcom combo-heavy character action game that people are apparently finding within this mess:



Also, if this was just a Ms. Marvel character action game I would have pre-ordered and beat it by now. Now I think I’ll wait until the GaaS is revamped and/or removed.

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I just finished the story mode. They have one extremely good idea in the final mission that they kind of squander and I’m a little sore about it, but I think it wraps up pretty well. Overall, I liked it, but it’s not something I would necessarily recommend grabbing at full price.

I’m in the endgame (heh) content and the combat loop is starting to click for me. Part of that are the options you get with leveled up heroes, part of it is taking on encounters more strategically (i.e. hit and run a few enemies away from the pack to thin the herd), but the biggest component is playing with live players who know what they’re doing. Having a competent Iron Man clearing the skies of turrets and drones make mobs less overwhelming for instance, or even a Ms Marvel who knows how to squad heal significantly reduces the chances of a wipe. I think the combat is a bit deeper than a lot of people are giving it credit for.