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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

One for the Marvel fans

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Disney-owned Marvel franchise ended the Phase 3 of its film universe called Marcel Cinematic Universe (MCU) . The Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home releases created a void in the franchise due to the pandemic. Disney is trying to fill up this void with different kinds of content. One of these mediums is the new Marvel’s Avengers game from Crystal Dynamics which released on August 14. The game is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and Microsoft Windows. The regular version of the is priced at Rs. 2,999 while the Deluxe Edition bundle costs Rs 3,998.

If you are living under a rock for the past few years, then you surely have heard about the MCU. The trailer of the game first landed last year. After the release, the trailer drew a lot of flak for the differences between the MCU and in-game characters. But upon release, the game is definitely much more polished than the trailer. The game follows its own timeline and has nothing to do with the events of the MCU. Here is our review for the Marvel’s Avengers.

An engaging campaign mode

The Avengers game follows the Inhuman storyline where the Helicarrier running on the Terrigen Crystal explodes. This results in the death of Captain America and spread of the Terrigen gas that creates the Inhumans. The Avengers are brandished criminals and hunted while a company called Advanced Idea Mechanics or AIM takes over.

The campaign storyline follows the Inhuman Kamala Khan who was present in San Francisco during the A-Day celebrations. The storyline follows her and her endeavors in reuniting the Avengers to combat the growing menace that is AIM. Players can team up with up to three other members of the Avengers to take on enemies in different missions.

To avoid any spoilers, I will not go in-depth with the plot of the game. But I will say that the game storyline does progress logically and sees your team growing in a steady manner. It is engaging and would want you to keep playing the story until the end. But with so many protagonists the scope for the growth of the characters is rather limited throughout the game. The only exception to this is Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel who is portrayed as having difficulty grasping her new identity and life.

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Gameplay is a mixed bag

When it comes to a superhero game, what is probably the biggest challenge is how to handle the gameplay. And it is pretty evident with Marvel’s Avengers that the developers sweat through this. Obviously you can’t give Iron Man or Thor as many as they can possibly do and just fly off where they want to, hence limiting them to unlocking combos and three special moves per character. But even besides that the combat system is mostly unimaginative.

And when I say unimaginative, I mean it’s like doing the same things with the characters over and over again. This is because some character combos are better than others and there are limited options. Since players can team up with other Avengers, it would really have been fun to do combos with other heroes in the team.

Loot, level up, and items: Old wine in new bottle

While there is nothing wrong with this set of rules for progression, it is kind of becoming stale. I mean while I can appreciate getting an Epic level spine improvement for The Hulk from a chest as well as the next gamer, it is getting a little too used as a mechanic.

Though on the other hand this mechanic works well to level players in terms of the missions and the difficulty and matching them with other players online when doing missions. Another missed opportunity seems to be the multiplayer mode which is limited to just PVE and could have been a lot more fun with a PVP element. While we can’t rule this out yet, and the developers could just ship an update with this feature.

Multiplayer and the repetitive nature of the missions

One can play several Marvel’s Avengers campaign mode missions (after the few initial ones) with the online matchmaking. Here the game match the player with other players online. It essentially gives the whole game a multiplayer element, but I have to mention that the missions tend to get repetitive.

At times, the game felt the same as grinding levels on an online MMORPG. Even with the multiplayer element the missions are just kicking and punching and more of the same. There are none to few puzzles and the game just fails to tease your thinking faculties.

Is Marvel’s Avengers worth your time and dime?

Marvel’s Avengers feels like a game that is for the Marvel fans out there. The game does pose a thoughtful take on the Inhumans story arc, and comes with a lot of Easter eggs from not just the MCU but the comics and other places as well. But besides the storyline of the campaign, only some of the heroes are fun to play with. I personally felt Black Widow and Kamala Khan are the two best characters to play with.

But for others I feel that the game would not present as much value as they would want it to. Sure if Crystal Dynamics added some new modes and features to make it a little more lucrative it might just turn out into a fair package.

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