Sunday, 17 May 2020



Thanks to the virtual magic we call video games, we haven't had to wonder how it feels to be a superhero for years. From spiders to the winged avenger, there are many ways to get into a spandex suit and rid the world of evil. Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics plan to make you part of the most famous superhero team in the world with Marvel's Avengers. Thanks to the ease with which the game plays away, you will experience that feeling in seconds.

I HIT YOU 3000

In short: as a breeze. We got started with the intro to the game, which serves as a kind of tutorial. A big battle breaks out in San Francisco, the new home of the Avengers, when the Taskmaster launches an attack on the superheroes and blows up the iconic bridge of the American city. In about half an hour you will get all five members of the superhero team (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Black Widow) under the buttons. The game switches between these characters by itself, showing what each of them does to bring order to chaos.

As said, that does not pose a real challenge, which is of course not very strange in the intro of the game. Each of the five heroes has a series of unique moves that let you sing enemies with great ease. The action buttons on the controller give you regular and heavier blows and you jump around, and with the shoulder buttons and various button combinations you ram out special moves. Each character doesn't just feel different - that's how you fly around with Iron Man while heating enemies with laser beams and Thor is a master at throwing his hammer - every hero also has a heroic attack, a kind of finisher with which you can turns off the screen with the necessary graphical force. This is supplemented with dazzling cutscenes and the necessary quick-time events to make it feel even more cinematic.

Such a tutorial is desperately needed in every game - especially when it comes to such a mainstream franchise as Avengers - but honesty is to say that after that half-hour of spectacle we especially wanted to dive into the depths. How challenging will battles become later in the game and what does the gameplay outside of the battles include? Unfortunately that remains shrouded in mystery until a later playing session, but fortunately we were already treated to an extensive presentation in which some more details were revealed about the structure of the game.


After the intro, in which, after a catastrophic disaster, the people blame the Avengers themselves, we skip five years into the future. The Avengers are separated and they all do their own thing. Thor is still only protecting Asgard, Bruce Banner blames himself for the disaster, Black Widow is a 'normal' secret agent again, Tony Stark has lost access to his tech and needs a haircut and Captain America sacrificed himself during the events of five years ago. A mysterious company called AIM is now protecting humanity with an army of robots, but it soon turns out to have bad intentions and the Avengers must come out of their early retirement to save the world once more.

At that point, climb aboard the well-known Helicarrier of the Avengers and open the War Table, a virtual map on which all missions appear. Those missions can be divided into two types: Hero missions and War Zone missions. The Hero missions cover the game's campaign, giving you control over a different Avenger every time. These missions tell the story of the game and you can play in your own. The War Zone missions are a different kind of missions; action-packed setpieces that do not so much cover the story of the game (although according to Crystal Dynamics there is certainly also character development), but really revolve around the action-packed gameplay and can be played with up to four people. You can also choose to play these missions on your own.

By selecting both types of missions - and therefore both the single-player and cooperative experience - from the War Table, the illusion of your presence on the helicarrier remains intact. It is also the intention that after the release of the game missions and new locations will be added to this world map, so that the story continues for years. All DLC is also free


That desired depth that we could not spot in the otherwise exciting uproar of the game seems to be coming. Players can put their own spin on the superheroes they unlock through unique skill trees that feature familiar and game-devised moves. All of these moves make the various characters quite powerful, and it would be remarkable (and a missed opportunity) if you don't need those moves for more challenging enemies.

Customizing your playing experience doesn't stop there. There are countless packages, again known from movies and comics and brand new. These can be unlocked during gameplay, although there will also be clothes to be purchased through an in-game store. Either way, these packs don't affect your character's skills and are purely cosmetic. The same cannot be said for the many loot you find in the game, consisting of 'gear'. Gear is divided into the well-known categories (such as legendary and epic) and comes with unique perks that give you special powers.


It only remains for us to talk about the acting. Much has already been said about the disorienting feeling you experience when you see and hear the Avengers in the game. They just don't seem and sound like the superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Is that bad? Not necessarily, because Marvel is of course so much more than just the MCU. In doing so, we quickly turn to the new look of the heroes, and especially Nolan North as Tony Stark - the voice actor has a similar sarcastic undertone in his voice. Still, not all dialogue was equally well-liked and especially Black Widow and Captain America seemed a bit wooden.

Hopefully that will be resolved for next year's release and we will get to see more of the game before then to reassure our gamer-seeking soul. The Avengers is an ultimate mainstream franchise, but that's not to say we don't want to put superheroes to the test!

Marvel's Avengers will be released on May 15, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.

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