So I’ve been playing Marvel’s Avengers. Which is not something I planned on. I have no major philosophical objections to games launching intentionally as a service. As always, the devil is in the details and for all the complaint of Avenger’s having Real Money Transactions (RMT) in an otherwise full-price AAA game the counterbalance to this was the fact that heroes, story content and DLC more generally would be released free to all owners of the game.
It’s alright if you’re still not a fan of the approach, I’m just saying it isn’t why I had planned on skipping the game.
No, I planned on skipping it because from what I’d seen in the trailers it just… Didn’t look very good. To be fair, I hadn’t done anything approaching a deep dive like I would for a game I think I’m going to love. I hadn’t been watching extending gameplay from YouTuber’s or full mission runs etc.
But from the trailers the combat looked overly simplistic. The voices seemed off-putting (more on this later). And the mission format seemed that it would get very ‘samey’ incredibly quickly.
But here we are now, and I’ve ended up buying and playing. I bought it with the intent to focus on multiplayer with another friend who had picked it up… But you know what?
I ended up enjoying the single-player campaign a heck of a lot more so far.
It isn’t going to win any accolades as the world’s best, least predictable story ever — but hoo boy does it work with what it has with some heart. I was sure going in that the focus on Kamala Khan (aka, Ms. Marvel) was going to drive me batshit crazy before this whole thing was over…
…But she didn’t. In large part I think because her voice actor (Sandra Saad) did so incredibly well in coming across authentic and sincere. There are some pretty big names in the Avengers’ cast from the world of voice actors, i.e., Troy Baker and while they’re big names precisely because they do what they do well — I felt the voice acting here was to a whole new level.
Troy as Bruce Banner nailed it as a somewhat defeated and weary Bruce Banner, no longer sure of their place in the world when first met.
It didn’t end up taking very long at all, as a result, to completely forget the expectations I had of the voices from the media I’d previously been exposed to. In no time at all, each and every one of the character’s voices became that character for me.
In terms of the gameplay though, it isn’t all roses.
There is certainly more depth across the board than I expected. There is quite a substantial talent tree set, although at max level (50) everything will unlock. There is quite an array of stats to chase after on your gear too, so it goes a bit further than just the overall power level like I first thought.
And yet for reasons I’m not quite sure I can 100% put my finger on, it doesn’t always feel quite… right. The animations and models are top notch, but there is the odd moment of odd tracking can quite notably drop the immersion factor. For example, when Cap’s shield will take on a completely implausible new angle of flight between bounces because the enemy it is currently locked onto was knocked back or otherwise moved quite dramatically.
I get it. It’s a concession made for the gameplay. And it is even more of a nitpick than anything else, but it’s surprising how in the context of everything else often looking so good the odd thing like that can shatter the illusion.
Beyond that though, there is certainly quite a grind here. It doesn’t seem to be one driven by monetary greed — I could be wrong, but I don’t think there is any way to buy the materials you need through the RMT setup. Reasonably certain the RMT is for the exclusive domain of cosmetics.
I think it will be the grind that ends my time with the Avengers more than anything else. The story mode kept me going, but post that… Eh.
What might save it though — or at least bring me back for more on a somewhat regular basis — is that the content release schedule seems pretty aggressive! New heroes with their own story arcs coming every two months or so, in addition to new forms of end-game content possibly in as little as a few weeks.
So we’ll see, I guess!
Overall — if you’re looking to a conclusion, I think ultimately I agree with Belghast when he says, “All of these things are why I am saying that if you are looking for the next big MMO, then this probably isn’t going to be it. That does not discount the fact that I think the main story is extremely good and that I am still enjoying myself.”
If you’re here for the story — and have the disposable income to match — you probably won’t be disappointed in picking up Marvel’s Avengers. By the same token, if that’s what you’re after there isn’t too much driving you to pick it up today and you could easily await a time when it goes on sale to experience it.
If you’re after the multiplayer experience, the prospects for a longer term future are uncertain. There has been a large amount of player drop-off already as Bel noted. The content schedule might hold off people dropping off, but it’s hard to be certain. I can tell you though that matchmaking on less than upper-level power characters is difficult already. If you’re not taking in a premade set of friends to play with, then bear this in mind.
Depending on your backlog and propensity to buy situation, that might either lead you toward buying right now before things get worse — or simply passing it by and seeing how it shakes out.
Both valid approaches, I think. ;)
As for myself — I’m going to continue working toward the end game and see how I like it. The mega hive and secret lab stuff coming shortly sounds like it could be some fun. But knowing me — this will only be the plan right up until it isn’t any more. I’m not so enamoured with the experience that I couldn’t see myself being distracted by something else, and soon.
For this style of game (I’m throwing this very broadly into the ‘looter-shooter’ genre, hah) I think the next one I’m actually really looking forward to after seeing some of the recent updates and improvements after a pretty ‘meh’ first showing is Outriders.
I’ll be covering this one extensively, I’m sure.
Yes, yes. The Anthem experience is still firmly rooted in memory. But… I waaant it. xD