E3 2019 Preview – Marvel’s Avengers
How long have we been hearing about Square Enix’s Avengers game? It feels like forever. We were all looking forward to this year’s reveal, as Square had tweeted a little teaser before E3. They finally showcased the game’s first trailer at their press conference and results were, well, mixed. All we got was a cinematic reveal with characters that didn’t look like their MCU counterparts at all, and while this is not exactly Square’s fault, it’s hard not to have mixed feelings about this factor in a year where Endgame was basically THE biggest pop culture event. Nothing about the gameplay was revealed at Square Enix’s conference, but thankfully enough, I’d be able to see more of it in a press appointment during E3 itself.
While my appointment didn’t allow me to actually play the game, I got to see a nearly 45 minute long presentation of the game being played right in front of me. I noticed it wasn’t a fake video of someone pretending to play it in front of me as the framerate was still quite rough and no publisher in their right mind would intentionally add in framerate drops just to make the game look more real…. or would they?
All tinfoil hat jokes aside, the gameplay was actually okay. Innovative? Absolutely not. It actually looked very safe, something tailor made according to marketing research to appeal to the largest amount of users as possible. Still decent, nonetheless.
What I liked the most about the demo was that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics showcased the gameplay for all main characters. Thor acted as the brute Arkham-esque brawler, with increased strength and area-of-effect lightning attacks. Hulk was also a brute, but also the fastest character of them all. He could jump and walk on walls Titanfall-style, as well as pick up and throw tanks around with ease. Iron Man could obviously fly and shoot enemies from a distance with a reticile, with his gameplay reminding me a bit of space shooters from a few years ago. Captain America, on the other hand, felt basically like Batman from the Arkham games, with the addition of using his shield as both a long-distance boomerang and, well, a shield…
Finally, we have Black Widow. Funnily enough, she was the demo’s highlight, even though she’s the only one in the team with absolutely no superpowers or fancy suits. She was fast, acrobatic, and could shoot her dual pistols with such grace that they looked more like machine guns than actual pistols. She was the one who fought Taskmaster in the demo, and took him down with ease. Of course, being an action-adventure game with cinematic influences, there were a few Uncharted-esque QTE’s scattered throughout the fight, but nothing too serious or immersion-breaking.
We were then exposed to an extended trailer that showcased a few extra environments and a brief glimpse of Abomination, another villain present in the game. After being told that the main story will be a single player campaign and that the Destiny-esque multiplayer takes place after the main campaign, the presentation ended.
In the end, I left my Avengers presentation more hopeful than before. I still have some issues with it, especially regarding the character design, as well as my doubts about the game’s “live service” plans, but the gameplay looked decent enough. Safe, but decent. It may not have been the comic book fanservice extravaganza that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is shaping up to be, but I can safely say Avengers wasn’t a disappointment. Far from it. I’m still looking forward to it, even if Captain America looks like BJ from Wolfenstein dressed in a Cap suit.