Superheroes live up to high standards and now that we have an epic new Marvel game, let's see if it has what it takes to save the day.
Marvel's Avengers is a game in 2 halves; it features a somewhat lengthy story campaign as well as an online multiplayer component where you tackle missions with a few other heroes. Let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign and didn't quite care for the online multiplayer as much although it's definitely still worthwhile and it's great that they included it. Anyway, the story essentially follows Marvel super-fan Kamala Khan on her journey to becoming Ms. Marvel. She begins the tale simply being an enthusiastic fan but after a pivotal event and some time passes, she acquires superpowers of her own and seeks out the help of the Avengers in order to thwart the dastardly villain Dr. George Tarleton. She makes for a wonderful star of the story and I loved watching her grow from a mere fan to a highly capable hero in her own right. The resulting story is actually kind of inspirational and I definitely wasn't expecting that.
To flesh out the fantastic story premise, you're treated to top-notch visuals that feature gorgeous animations, beautiful scenery, and detailed character models. I love when I can read characters' subtle facial expressions and these kinds of graphical features make the story of Marvel's Avengers much more immersive and exciting. Speaking of which, the voice cast is great as well and features industry veterans such as Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, and Nolan North. Heck, I even loved the sound effects as they make smacking enemies with Thor's hammer and blasting robots with Iron Man's lasers incredibly gratifying. The sights and sounds of Marvel's Avengers are simply epic.
It's about time to discuss the most important aspect of Marvel's Avengers; its gameplay. At its core, it's an action RPG that often feels like a beat 'em up. You control 1 of 6 superheroes which consist of Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America. No matter who you play as, the general controls are similar as you can beat on adversaries with light and heavy attacks, dodge, and execute an array of special moves that take a while to recharge and can be quite devastating for your foes, especially whenever you're surrounded by a horde of goons. Of course, each hero also features their own distinct gameplay such as Ms. Marvel's stretchy limbs which allow her to climb and swing like Spider-Man, Hulk's screen-clearing special attacks, and Iron Man's ability to fly and snipe bad guys at a distance.
The main campaign consists of a variety of missions that are seamlessly intertwined with the story which makes for a compelling driving force throughout. Missions will have you traverse tricky environments, run from enemies, stealthily sneak by guards, solve light practical puzzles, and take on hordes of enemy forces. Needless to say, you'll do the latter much more than anything else yet the amount of variety is still wonderful. That being said, some confrontations seem to go on for way too long and they certainly start to overstay their welcome. There also aren't many boss fights which is kind of disappointing. Thankfully, the combat is quite intense and often challenging which makes even the lengthy drawn-out confrontations worthwhile, especially whenever you're controlling a new hero.
Finally, allow me to discuss some less desirable aspects of Marvel's Avengers. For starters, the online multiplayer component is fun but it lacks the excitement of the story campaign's missions because the online missions are structured less around variety and more around beating up foes in unique situations. It's still fun and I'll probably play a mission here and there whenever I want a quick fix of superhero action but I definitely don't feel all that compelled to do so. The last thing I'll point out is that vital information is sometimes not clear. For example, I tried starting an online match and it just wouldn't commence no matter what I did and on a few other occasions, I failed missions while playing online and had no idea why. Couldn't the game simply tell me? Why does it have to be so mysterious?
The story campaign in Marvel's Avengers is a wonderful treat for fans of Marvel as it's full of superhero fun. Beyond that, the experience unfortunately doesn't quite maintain its level of excitement in its multiplayer component.
- + Fantastic campaign that's full of great characters and fun missions
- + Excellent visuals, voice acting, and effects
- + Heroes feature a wide array of abilities
- - Gameplay isn't as exciting while playing the online multiplayer mode
- - Some battles are rather drawn-out
- - Vital information isn't always clear