By: Corey Lack
So, the game Marvel’s Avengers released very recently and as a big fan of both the comics and the movies, I was eager to play it. I have to say that it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but we’ll get into that in a second. The plot focuses on Kamala Khan, a big fan of the Avengers, being given polymorph powers after being exposed to a previously unknown element during a terrorist attack on a prototype helicarrier. Afterwards, the Avengers, having been blamed for the destruction of San Francisco and the ‘infection’ of numerous people when the element powering the helicarrier exploded, go into hiding, having been deemed fugitives. A new organization, called AIM, effectively takes over as a police force while also tracking down and arresting the “dangerous” inhumans, like Kamala, in order to forcibly cure them. Kamala, after being found out, leaves her home of Jersey City to find the Avengers and put a stop to AIM’s plans.
In terms of the plot, it’s a good superhero story. Crystal Dynamics, the company that made the game, has shown to be good at creating interesting and entertaining stories, like with their long-time work in the Tomb Raider series. It had plenty of interesting and well-known characters to play as like the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Black Widow. I enjoyed the interactions between the various characters. Kamala, especially, was relatable. She’s definitely the one I’d act like the most if these heroes were real.
It is in the gameplay that the issues with this game comes to the forefront. It unfortunately follows a similar pattern that many games seem to be following now. The game was advertised as being able to be played as both single player and multiplayer and it can. You can also play games like Dragon Ball Xenoverse as both. You can play DC Universe online as both. You can play World of Warcraft as both. That doesn’t mean that it’s not blatantly obvious that it was designed to be a multiplayer game. The game plays by having the player go to a HUB location and then selecting missions from the war table in order to travel to new locations and fight enemies. While selecting missions, the player can also choose to have up to three of the other heroes join them on the mission to fight alongside them. To explain why this is more lacking than having the other characters be controlled by actual people, let me describe one of the missions I had to do. As someone who likes a straightforward fight, I chose to play as the Hulk with Ms. Marvel and Iron Man as my backup. There came a point where I had to hold a location for a certain amount of time while endlessly spawning enemies tried to take me out. Pretty soon, I was overwhelmed by the number of enemies of numerous shapes, sizes, and difficulties. As I was frantically trying to fight them off, I noticed that my two computer-controlled allies were in the fight, but they didn’t seem to be making much of a dent. Also, Iron Man, the fastest and one more focused on long-range attacks, wasn’t taking out the turrets that were turning us into Swiss cheese, which should have been obvious. I also couldn’t give them any orders and have them focus on a certain type of enemy. As a result, I might as well have been on my own. Sure, they revived me when I went down, but that was the bulk of their contributions to the fight.
Speaking of fights, the actual combat is kind of lacking as well. Even when I’m playing as the heavy hitters like Hulk or Thor, I never really felt that I was making an impact. Sure, I’d take out small enemies pretty quick, but up against the larger ones, it was clear was not the better fighter, just the one with more health. This might have been easier if controls to allow for parrying or dodging was more accepting, but there would be times where I’d get a warning of an attack and I’d try to parry or dodge, only for me to be hit and then my character would perform the action. Also, the difficulty would fluctuate randomly. I’d blow straight through a mission with no problem, but then on the next one, I’d lose over half my health from a single hit from one of the lowest class of enemies. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Maybe I didn’t attach the best gear to my characters or maybe I changed the difficulty or maybe I just wasn’t leveled up enough to handle the mission. I can assure you that I not only geared my characters the best I could, but I also checked the difficulty level. The problem was the “mission power” that represented difficulty made no logical sense. The game never explains what the numbers mean, so I have no idea if a mission with a power of 5 can be handled by my level 8 Hulk and his allies. Add into that the difficulties making pluses or minuses to the power makes it even more confusing. Not to mention, that there would be times where, say, difficulty 1, the lowest difficulty would be -3 on all missions and then be +4. Because of these, I just had to jump in and hope for the best.
Marvel’s Avengers was one game I was looking forward to. I wanted to smash my way through bad guys as the Hulk and actually feel like I was the Green Goliath, but gameplay issues and clear focus on multiplayer gameplay ruined it for the most part. The plot and the interactions between the characters certainly added some enjoyment to the game and it’s still decent enough to warrant a try, but those playing single player probably won’t get much out of it. I’d give it 7 sewer lizards out of 10.