Believe it or not, this is not an action RPG.
The Avengers are known by anyone who has contact with pop culture – “Avengers: Endgame” is not just the highest grossing film in history, albeit without inflation. It is all the more surprising that the brand has not yet tried to monetize with video games: in the beginning, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was accompanied by lousy games under licenses, and the only really successful Marvel’s Spider-Man came out only in 2018.
And now the fans have waited, in theory, for the peak game adaptation – Marvel’s Avengers . An ambitious project about five Avengers at once (in the future – even more) made the backbone of the Western studios of Square Enix : the authors of Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics and the creators of the modern Deus Ex series from Eidos Montreal. The game has been in development for over 3 years, the characters were played by famous people like Troy Baker, Laura Bailey and Nolan North.
And in the end, it still turned out that something was wrong.
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The Avengers are yesterday’s news
Probably, initially they wanted to release the game around the release of “Avengers: Endgame” for hire, which would be logical, but the development of large game projects almost never meets the deadline, even with a margin. There was still a chance to tie gamification to the release of the solo film about the Black Widow – in the opening mission, Natasha even fights the villain Taskmaster, who will also be in the film – but even then there was a discrepancy due to the coronavirus.
Due to a number of troubles, Marvel’s Avengers came out when the Avengers and Marvel in general were forgotten for the first time in a decade, and many people were fed up with the advertising of the game. In this sense, the project failed even before the release: imagine that in 2021 a big RPG based on Game of Thrones will be released. It seems that the idea excites, but the train has already left.
The genre is also outdated. In 2017, when the game was just announced, session cooperative games-services still seemed to be the future of big video games, but in the fall of 2020 this niche is already causing a gag reflexand negative associations. Which Marvel’s Avengers unfortunately backs up a lot.
This is not an action RPG, but a button-masher – you don’t have to think in battles
The new “Avengers” may give the impression of an action-adventure game due to the expensive visuals and the participation of famous actors, but the most accurate description of the game is a classic beat ’em up like the old Double Dragon or TMNT, but in full 3D. Each of the characters has a dozen equipment slots, several tabs for pumping skills and special moves, but battles always come down to fierce and thoughtless pressing of three buttons in the direction of the nearest group of enemies. There is in this some kind of fleeting epic and a feeling of enjoying one’s own power, but more often the fights feel insipid.
Each hero is independent: there is a regular and strong attack, a ranged attack, a special support technique, a special attack technique, and a unique ultimate ability. Iron Man and Thor fly, but Captain America, for example, makes a double jump and runs along the walls. Of all the heroes, the Black Widow seemed the most inconvenient: Natasha cheerfully scatters opponents, shoots pistols and even throws a grenade that gives invisibility to all allies, but dies from a couple of missed hits.
The first few missions for each of the five heroes feel good: you grope for the features of the mechanic, you learn the strategy and wonder if you will play for him more often. Then RPG elements step in and spoil everything:you need not know how to play as a character, but have good equipment… In Marvel’s Avengers, only the power indicator matters, that is, the average level of things on the character. In battle, then it is quite chaotic to press the “square” and “triangle” – they periodically add up to spectacular combos, rather needed for visual diversity.
I would not have problems with the combat system, if the skill of the game was required at least on rare bosses or some elite missions. But even endgame content is played in exactly the same way: hammering the buttons to the last, idly glancing at the mess of special effects on the screen.Being an Avenger turns out to be easy and even boring.
Farming abstract numbers in 2020 is despondency
The Avengers has what I hate the most about games like this: the lazily implemented outfit system. Each character has slots with conventional armor, bracers, a helmet and some kind of artifact, but the things installed in them are not even displayed on the hero. Only characteristics like melee attack power or defense are changed, and that’s all.
Turns out that the gameplay loop is knocking out invisible things (numbers) in order to increase the overall power figure, which, in turn, allows you to farm things (numbers) a little higher. All this is repeated for dozens of hours, only the damage numbers change, which pop up on top of enemies upon impact.
Of course, something similar happens in other service games, but there, diligent grind is encouraged either by the opportunity to go to conditional raids, or by the chance to humiliate someone in PvP. In “The Avengers” neither one nor the other.
The reason why the equipment is not displayed is obvious – the authors (or the publisher) want players to buy decorative skins for characters like the Hulk Mafioso or Black Widow with a different hair color and in a coat. They are sold for resources that are found when clearing missions, butfor completing the campaign and another 15 hours of gameplay, I didn’t even save up for one legendary skin… Solution: invest real money, a little over a thousand rubles for a decent-looking “skin”. It seems that such expensive cosmetics are not in every shareware game, but here is an AAA-class project for full price.
(A thousand rubles from you, thank you).
The campaign is not bad, but very short
The Avengers are throwing a lavish celebration in honor of their loved ones, inviting hundreds of fans there, including young Kamala Khan, a Muslim woman hoping to win a fanfiction contest. During the main show with the presentation of the engine based on the new terrigenous element, a terrorist attack occurs. While the Avengers deal with the attackers, the terrigen explodes for some reason, destroying San Francisco.
Many died, thousands turned into cocoons due to poisonous gas and were reborn as Inhumans. This is how the descendants of an ancient alien race with superpowers are called in the Marvel comics, whose genes are dormant in many earthlings before contact with terrigen – an element from the homeland of non-humans. Among the special was Kamala – she became a polymorph, able to stretch and enlarge parts of her body, and took the name Ms. Marvel in honor of her beloved superheroine.
The Avengers after the incident became scapegoats, quarreled among themselves and disappeared for five years, while Captain America apparently died in the explosion. How supervillains did not destroy and enslave the world without main protectors during this time is a separate question, but we will not raise it.
After the San Francisco tragedy, many Americans have come to hate superheroes in general and even their fans. Inhumans became a national problem, which the head of the AIM corporation volunteered to solve – the scientist who presented the reactor on the terrigen that day. He turns people against the Avengers and promises to create a cure for Inhumans, and he also wants to rid the world of Methumans in general. Meanwhile, matured Kamala is still trying to find out the truth about what happened and find the Avengers – she has a central role in the plot.
Miss Marvel is one of the best characters in the modern Marvel comic universe., but her on-screen debut outside of cartoons will only take place in 2022 at Disney +. Therefore, forcing not the most knowledgeable gamers to play for her in most campaign missions – in them it is often impossible to choose a character – the decision is unexpected. I have been a fan of Kamala for many years and I am glad how well she was conveyed in the game, but I perfectly understand the desire to immediately fly for Iron Man and destroy enemies with volleys of repulsors, and not swing the enlarged fists of some girl.
Although the overall campaign is pleasant: it is not as bright an independent work as Spider-Man of 2018, but quite a good comic event with many references and favorite characters. I have not decided on the attitude to the local Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner – they behave in a familiar way and joke a lot, but outwardly they look like some kind of stuntmen. The authors wanted the heroes of the game to be different from their versions from the cinematic universe, but it is impossible not to compare them.
The general rule of games-services applies here: “don’t buy on release”
The Avengers campaign takes about 7-10 hours, then you can go through additional tasks, complete daily errands and for a very, very long time and slowly develop your character to perfection. This is where the activities offered by the game end for now, although the entire storyline campaign looks like one big prologue of the heroes’ adventures.
This is the trouble with inept service games: instead of immediately releasing a large game and gradually completing it, they release an aperitif, which will become a full-fledged game only after several major updates. They will, of course, be free and even add new heroes – Hawkeye (more precisely, Kate Bishop) and Spider-Man (PS4 only) have already been announced – but they will have to wait for several months. Meanwhile, there are no evergreen mechanics like PvP in The Avengers – it’s not very clear how the authors plan to keep the players all this time. Not by rotating paid skins in the store, right?
If you are going to play on consoles, I would advise you to postpone the purchase of “The Avengers” at least until the release of the updated version for nextgen. For the base PS4, the game was optimized carelessly: it looks poor, character textures are not loaded immediately, even in cutscenes, and in many battles FPS drops to a completely indecent level. Playable, but frustrating.
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