After having seen the game in action back at E3 2019, we finally got our chance to play Marvel’s Avengers. Playable for fans at New York Comic-Con 2019, we managed to play it at Marvel’s booth. The collaborative effort between Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal has definitely improved in quality since then. After experiencing the game hands-on, we’re a lot more excited for the title.
The demo was the same A-Day demo taking place in San Francisco. The Avengers are celebrating when the Golden Gate Bridge is suddenly attacked. Captain America sends Thor and Iron Man to fly over to the scene for first response. The two heroes fly toward the bridge and Thor breaks away to fight off ground forces, giving a prompt to slam down to damage the foes.
Thor has improved greatly since the reveal at E3, having much more stable performance during his gameplay. Many have compared Thor’s gameplay to Kratos from God of War, and honestly, it’s pretty spot on. There’s two attack buttons, one light and one heavy, and holding them can cause guard breaks. Players can dodge and jump as well, these controls being universal across all the Avengers. Where things differ are in their abilities, using the shoulder buttons and triggers.
Thor uses powerful strikes that deal a lot of damage to the enemies. Health bars above the enemies make that pretty clear as Thor’s attacks tend to deal about half their health. He can throw his hammer and call it back at will, or simply use it to pin enemies to fight with his fists. Pressing the Heavy and Dodge button together unleashes devastating finishing moves when the button prompts appear. Enemies also drop health orbs, which makes it seem easier to stay alive. A bar underneath the character health gauge will fill up over time and allow them to unleash their special ability. In this case, Thor summons a large surge of lightning and lets it out in a thunderous crash for an area of effect attack.
Shifting over to Iron Man, his gameplay will sometimes include on-rail sequences where he shoots enemies down with repulsor blasts. When he’s not on rails, he’s a mobile and ranged fighter. He’ll have the ability to shoot from a distance, but he can also fight up close. When his ability gauge fills up, he can release a powerful unibeam from his chest, dealing massive damage. Iron Man is notably weaker in attack power from his normal attacks, but his projectiles can still deal some damage. With the ability to fly, Iron Man seems to have a good amount of versatility.
Moving to the Jolly Green Giant, the Hulk, he just feels unstoppable. His gameplay includes platforming and the ability to cling to walls and jump from them to clear gaps. In combat, Hulk has the option to grab opponents and make them his weapon. He can also choose to throw them, slam them, and do just about anything else that makes survival questionable. I said it before back at E3, but these attacks look irrefutably lethal. Hulk can also take debris from the ground and use it to attack. Finally, his special ability allows him to release a devastating thunder clap.
Moving onto Captain America, his fights are a lot more up close and personal. The Super Soldier from Brooklyn is more defensive, with the ability to block damage with his shield. Of course, he can also throw it with his marksman like accuracy, keeping enemies at bay. Unlike Thor or the Hulk, Cap doesn’t deal as much damage unless he performs a special ability, making him more of a combo-based fighter. Despite this, he has a useful stun move where he can activate a finishing move on his foes. Cap’s special ability has him slam his shield against the ground, though it’s unclear how effective it is, as using it activates a cutscene in the demo.
A special shoutout to this moment in the demo, as we see a young Kamala Khan get infected by Terrigen Mist. This event gives Kamala her powers and she becomes the Inhuman Ms. Marvel later on in the story. At New York Comic-Con, she was recently revealed to be a new playable character for Marvel’s Avengers. We will hopefully have impressions on her gameplay soon, but for now, on to the final hero for the A-Day demo: Black Widow.
Black Widow adds an interesting element to the game. Her dual pistols are quick and responsive, allowing her to fire repeatedly at enemies. During the demo, we only fight Taskmaster, so we’re not quite sure how powerful the attacks are outside of boss battles. Against this boss though, they did minimal damage, merely chipping away at his health. The fight was really fun, though a bit more predictable. It’s definitely less challenging than the Taskmaster fights in Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it looks cool in motion. Dodging attacks and activating a cloaking device allow Black Widow to be more technical in combat.
The demo ends shortly after defeating Taskmaster, though we get a brief look of what to expect from the game. Story-based missions will be single-player affairs while free missions allow for online multiplayer. There will be dozens of skins for each playable character and there’s even a loot drop system. Players can gain new weapons and abilities by collecting drops of varying rarities, allowing customization and optimization. After the five year time skip, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) takes a lead in protecting the people. Ms. Marvel questions if they’re really in it for our best interest. It’s up to her to bring the Avengers back together to make heroes important to the people again.
Overall, Marvel’s Avengers looks good and it plays good. It’s a huge improvement over what we saw in the alpha build at E3 2019. Characters look more polished in both appearance and gameplay, and the game offers enough variety to make the action worthwhile. We have to say that we can hardly wait for the May 15th, 2020 release date. Marvel’s Avengers will be released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Are you looking forward to the new game? Keep your eyes here for more coverage when we hear about it.
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