Photo courtesy Square Enix
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‘Marvel’s Avengers’ beta: First impressions and thoughts

Earth's Mightiest Heroes?

13 mins read

After years of dominance on the silver screen with the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (“MCU”). Marvel has decided to try their hand at another front. One that went barren for a while: “the video game industry”.

For the longest time, it has been led by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Due to such hits as the “Arkham” games, and the Mortal Kombat spin-off – Injustice series. However, fans of Marvel were always left wondering with the possibility and fragment of hope of being able to play as their favorite heroes. 

One thing I noticed for the longest time was when certain comic-book movies would release, a game based on the film would drop alongside it. Then, after a while, that seemed to die off, and companies went into the realm of crafting original stories and fleshing out certain characters through the extension of video games. It basically started when DC released the “Batman Arkham” series from “Rocksteady,” and yeah DC fans were ecstatic, but Marvel fans were disappointed and growing somber. 

Photo courtesy Insomniac Games

 I spoke to a few of my friends and they said, “Just imagine a “Daredevil”: ‘Arkham” game or “Spider-Man” could be cool. However, don’t hold back on the potential and narrative of the characters.” So, as you can see, the feeling about the Marvel games landscape has always been a rocky one to boot. Of course, everything progresses over time, and hope is on the horizon in the form of Insomniac Games’ “Spider-Man PS4”. The title was going to be a risk but in all honesty, it paid off. “Spider-Man PS4” was a game like no other but also felt like a blueprint on how Marvel could slowly emerge from their dormant slumber in the realm of video games. 

In addition to Marvel Games having found luck with Spider-Man at Insomniac, the brand decided to call on other studios for the pipe-dream of an Avengers game. In 2020 Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix, and Eidos Montreal all partnered with Marvel Games and have finally shown off and released the beta for Marvel’s “Avengers.” The title is slated to release on September 4 for PS4, XB1, PC, and Google Stadia. Each copy of the game will feature a free update for the next-gen consoles, free of charge. 

Photo courtesy Marvel Games

The fans’ reception surrounding this title wasn’t good, to put it softly. Many were criticizing the title’s appeal of graphics, and the simplistic gameplay. This past weekend the beta for “Avengers” was released for those who pre-ordered the title on PS4. 

So it was only natural to take a look and get a feel on how the title will perform and play when it drops the first week of September. One thing to note was that I originally believed this game wasn’t worth my time. It felt generic on a few fronts. However, I played about two days worth of the beta. I tried out every character and examined the gameplay. I was really surprised at how creative yet simple the experience was. 

“Marvel’s Avengers” is a game that tries a little too hard on first impressions. At first glance, it feels completely different from other titles of this generation. Yet, at the same time, it’s quite stiff but it’s still a beta and a work in progress. I know the finished game will not harbor any bugs or glitches, due to the astounding feedback from fans, to ensure the title is smooth and playable. One thing I did notice from others who also experienced the beta was the creativity of the different play-styles of the main roster. 

Photo courtesy Square Enix

For example, Thor felt like Kratos from his recent adventure in “God of War.” Captain America was full of combo’s and reminiscent of Arkham combat in many aspects. Moving on, Black Widow was suited for hand-to-hand combat and more agile compared to her teammates with long-lasting quick time events. Ms. Marvel felt like Spider-Man with fluid combat and the swinging traversal of her polymorphic body.

Iron Man was fast and witty, and you could fire repulsor blasts, and don the Hulkbuster for a moment. Then that leaves the Hulk and the undeniable truth that this title feels like a framework for a possible Hulk stand-alone game. Which, if that is the case, please sign me up.

Now comes the question of who I enjoyed the most. I would say it was a tie between Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Black Widow due to the fact all three were vastly different from Iron Man and Thor. 

Photo courtesy Square Enix

Now, I don’t want you to also think that “Avengers” is a button masher because it’s not. That’s not what the game is built or focused upon. The title is a mixture of all varieties and this was where I enjoyed my time with Avengers. One reason was I got to witness the customization and loadout capabilities first-hand. The foundation of an RPG is deeply woven into this experience for players, however, to report the inclusion of microtransactions that will be present but I heard from sources very minimally. Some redeeming factors are the elements of certain RPG factors though, such as buffs and debuffs along with an area of effect. 

Photo courtesy Square Enix

This game was simple yet balanced. Now, with that being stated, one certain gripe I encountered was the tedious inclusion of a setting to equip the best possible gear at any time, which would nullify the necessity for a loadout and customization, making the feature absolutely pointless. 

I felt the main thing that one should take away from this beta would be that it’s still not fully developed yet, and it could possibly be hit or miss when it arrives Sept. 4. One thing to note is “Marvel Games” has been responsive to feedback. So, I feel the product will shock a majority of people, to say the least. Some people might ask if I enjoyed it. I would respond yes, but it also needs to determine what direction and style it wants to be known for. 

In addition to the inclusion and reveal of certain characters, which in my opinion could be a strong selling point for this title. For example, “Hawkeye” was just announced as a post-launch expansion. However, to note 2021, everybody’s favorite wall-crawler, Spider-Man will be a “Sony” console exclusive. One fact to note is this won’t be the same Spidey from Insomniac. Instead, this will be Crystal Dynamic’s own original take on the character. 

Photo courtesy Crystal Dynamics

When asked about the console exclusivity of Spider-Man only appearing on Sony, Scot Amos, Co-head Producer of Crystal Dynamics had this to say in an interview with ComicBook.com.

“[It] comes back to the relationship with PlayStation and Marvel,” he explained. “When it comes down to choices of where and what Spider-Man can be, that’s a relationship question that PlayStation absolutely has the rights to, that as you guys know, with Sony’s ownership there, and Marvel with Sony saying, ‘Hey, this is something we can do. This is something we can do on this platform.’ [We] love the idea of being able to bring this character to the PlayStation players,” Amos explained to ComicBook.com. “People will get fixated on one thing as opposed to, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re going to have hundreds of hours of content and years of storylines coming ahead of us, and new worlds and regions, and new heroes,’ and more stuff we haven’t even announced yet.” 

Amos continued in saying that they’re making the game for everybody but did also acknowledge the strong marketing relationship between “Sony” and “Spider-Man”.

“But I really do think people will look at this and say, ‘Yeah, okay, we get that, we can understand the business behind that’, but in general, we’re making this game for everybody,” Amos said. “We want this to be the place you get to play those superhero fantasies out with your Avengers team, that continue growing with new characters, characters you ain’t even guessed at yet.” 

I can tell from that quote the reception surrounding this title still feels a little shaky. Especially from fans of consoles other than Playstation. However, many need to know and realize that the game is still not even done being polished yet. Crystal Dynamics is still withholding many secrets up their sleeves, but of course, only time will tell. 

I will say in the defense with my experience of the beta, “Marvel’s Avengers” is a mixed bag but an enjoyable one to say the least. It honestly increased in replay-ability and creativity the more I invested in the game. In my opinion, it could benefit from a slight delay but at the same time, I feel if it did undergo another transition to further increase development. Fans would not be thrilled about the choice and it would spark debate for controversy, the potential of the title.  

Photo courtesy Square Enix

So I speak to the fans of Marvel and ask are you excited about this game or would you rather have more personal, stand-alone titles that would share a place in the future of home consoles?

However, whatever style you decide to support, you need to realize both gameplay elements have been shown and maybe this could be a sign of a Marvel Games Universe on the horizon. Due to the fact it began with Spider-Man PS4 and now it seems Avengers is trying its hardest to continue that trend. 

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