BGS 2019 Hands-on – Marvel’s Avengers
Back at E3 2019, I had the chance of checking out a hands-off demo of Marvel’s Avengers, the long-awaited Marvel game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. If you want to know my opinion regarding that demo in particular, you can check it here, but to sum things up, it didn’t impress me that much. It was just “okay”. It was very safe, very “made with focus group results in mind”. The other Marvel game featured in the show, Nintendo’s own Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, impressed me a lot more. I finally got to play Marvel’s Avengers at this year’s Brasil Game Show, and that ended up being a mixed bag of an experience.
I ended up playing the same mission presented in the E3 video. That means I played as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Black Widow, in that order, defeating a ton of soldiers on top of a bridge and culminating in a fight against the Taskmaster. It was a somewhat long demo, in which I couldn’t notice any graphical or performance improvements over the E3 video. There were still framerate hiccups whenever things got too hectic onscreen and the character design is still a bit weird. Cap still looks like BJ from Wolfenstein.
The best way I can summarize the gameplay is by saying the following: it’s Arkham. It’s basically Arkham, but without the stealth. It’s the exact same control scheme, with a weak attack, strong attack, a huge emphasis on battling various enemies at once and dodging their attacks, and performing a finishing move by pressing Circle and Triangle together. It felt generic, without a doubt, but depending on the character, it actually felt fun. Weirdly enough, I had more fun with the less “superhuman” characters.
The reason for that is that every single enemy has way too much health. Even when I was playing as someone as overpowered as Thor or the Hulk, enemies manage to take a ton of hits before being defeated, just like in Destiny or The Division. The Arkham gameplay is best suited for fast characters with “ninja-like abilities”, so avoiding attacks with Black Widow or beating the living heck out of a soldier with Cap’s shield felt natural, and dare I say, fun. Hulk was, by far, the worst character to play as, since he didn’t feel powerful at all. This is no Ultimate Destruction, that’s for sure. Thor felt equally sluggish and Iron Man felt like your generic Arkham character with the addition that you can fly a bit. In fact, Iron Man’s gameplay didn’t feel much different from a Lego Marvel character in terms of sheer simplicity.
Thanks to this demo, I finally had the chance of figuring out how Avengers‘ gameplay loop will work. At the same time, I realized how generic it felt, given that it basically felt like as if Arkham and The Division had had a baby and dressed said baby with a Marvel costume. I still want to see how the game’s progression system will work, as well as how good its story will be. But as of now, I’m only mildly looking forward to the final product, just like I was back in June.