I want to first note that I do not approve of Spider-Man being locked to Playstation, and with that out of the way time to dive into the review. This is definitely a premiere take on the Avengers, featuring the group in the prime of their existence.
Things do take a rather dark turn however, with the events of A-Day providing a bit of a jump in the timeline from where things start off. It’s very much a story about getting the band back together, and doing so over a series of missions.
This story can be played entirely in single player, with the option to engage in some campaign levels with other players. The experience grows afterwards within the Avengers Initiative which is entirely multiplayer focused. While this is an Avengers story, the heart of this narrative is really centered around Kamala Khan, better known as Ms Marvel.
She’s our gateway into this world of heroes as you discover things from her perspective initially. You get to see her going to a really awesome Avengers event as a younger kid. She’s playing the games, collecting the comics and running into her heroes. This also happens to be the day where A-Day takes place that eventually leads into the creation of the Inhumans.
Khan happens to become one of these, and as she discovers herself you also get to find out what happened to Earth’s mightiest heroes. Keeping in mind that a five year jump in time takes place. Khan provides an interesting perspective, one that does inject a much needed bit of heart and sincerity to the overall story. They did a good job of introductions, and building up this story. It’s a lengthy one, and of course something that grows in content after those credits roll which I’ll discuss further later on in this review.
The campaign has a great selection of missions within it, and some surprising ones too. They’re largely linear, with minor multiplayer incorporated sections that are meant to introduce you to the concept of end game online action. You can of course turn this matchmaking off if you so choose to do so. There was one awkward goal of collecting materials that was right before the last mission. Sort of a silly thing to have there, it doesn’t take long but was just stupid to include. I hate when games give you that sort of objective, especially right before the ending. That aside, this really was a great time.
It humanized the various heroes, added a sense of responsibility due to the clear issues the Avengers were indirectly associated with and created a solid opponent within the forces of AIM. I would have liked to see some of the secondary villains more directly used, but I have a feeling we’ll see more of them later on. That’s particularly clear through the Shield operations that follow the story where you’re battling against one of the initial foes you meet. I won’t spoil that however as its fun to see you match up against one that always knows your moves. I will make a note that it is disappointing that you cannot replay missions at this current point, I hope that gets added in afterwards.
The Marvel’s Avengers end game content really does deliver a wealth of activities and things to do. You get everything from brief AIM based bunker locations to full on missions that extend the story further. You get more missions as you work through them and as level up your heroes. There are also special icon missions present for the various Avengers.
There’s just a lot of content here that’s spread over a wide range of locations that are based mostly within the United States. You do get a few locations on other parts of the world, but it really does feel localized. I was generally impressed that there always seemed to be new things to take part in, and with that many options for playing past where the initial single player content had halted.
In general, I found the moments of group based combat to be the most exciting despite the single payer missions being very engaging. It was just fun to play with others, and to unleash mayhem as a squad. The multiplayer content is mostly about completing the extra missions, collecting better gear and preparing to take on higher tier challenges as they have some high level content available there as well.
This won’t necessarily be at the quality of the core campaign, but they have some really stunning slightly open world environments to stroll through. With that, the story focused multiplayer missions were excellent. There’s a good amount of variety within your goals too. Sometimes you’re aiming to control points, other times eliminating foes or even perhaps trying to destroy certain targets.
This is spread over a good range of locations, and that helps to keep it fresher. Even the slightly more repetitive strike type missions in AIM facilities felt varied enough. I am very curious as to what’s to come, and I think that aspect will be the real testing point of this package. That is, whether or not the extra content expands the scope of this to keep players engaged for years which is their goal with this being a games as a service type of experience.
This really was a visually and technically impressive game. Marvel’s Avengers is Xbox One X enhanced with a native 4k target on the platform while using a dynamic resolution scaling system. It supports HDR and runs at 30fps. For the most part it runs well, and all of the time it looks visually stunning. I did notice some areas where performance is impacted, during heavy multiple player tight battles.
It’s not too often, but something noticeable and worth mentioning. Still, the scope and visual style of this game is incredible considering the age of the hardware it has to target. The vistas are gorgeous, as are all of the smaller details right at the forefront. The cinematics are beautiful, smooth and help to direct the story in a meaningful way. When you’re in combat, the environments are very lively. They’re destructible to a degree, and full of depth being filled with so many little objects.
You can really smash things, which is fantastic if you’re playing as any hero causing potential collateral damage. While Hulk is a tank, the other heroes can cause their fair share of destruction too. The screen is often filled with particle effects, smooth animations and mayhem. The various heroes have such a unique selection of animations to them, it’s stunning to see over the course of your campaign and multiplayer experience. You’re constantly getting access to new skills and this in turn changes the style of your combat.
It’s very neat, and done quite well. As mentioned, the display in general here is excellent. I’m surprised they were able to achieve so much, while also having so many moments where the action is just flying by at a blistering pace. It’s quite interesting how smoothly that all works, a true testament to the tech here. There are some obviously hidden loading screens, such as boring elevator rides. Somewhat good spots for changing your gear though. Now; with that, this does play a lot like a Tomb Raider game which is why I might like it even more.
It’s got some moments where they’ve basically subbed out Lara Croft for another hero. These includes swinging, running along insanely detailed rock formats or even climbing. They have that super hero touch on it, but it should feel very familiar if you’ve played the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy. I don’t consider this a negative, but you will definitely get the just of what I mean while playing this. I thought in general the controls were well done here for each of the characters.
They’re slightly different, but the core scheme feels similar no matter which hero you choose to mostly play as. You can switch between the heroes after the campaign segments, and I’m sure you’ll pick a main eventually. I personally love playing as Ms Marvel, she looks really neat during combat and can pack a real mega punch. I’ll dive into skills more, but when it comes to technical elements I do have to mention some of the issues present here. I did have a single time where Captain America’s mask didn’t show during a cutscene, so that was funny and not a big deal.
The main issues I had were that a few times enemies wouldn’t spawn in and we’d have to restart a checkpoint. This was during multiplayer Shield missions. It seems there’s slightly less polish there, with the campaign itself honestly running very smoothly throughout my run of it. I ended up with about eight and a half hours as a run time with a few seconds of Cap’s mask missing not being an issue to me at all with that comparison. I do wish this was perfectly polished multiplayer wise though, as that’s where a lot of play time is going to come from going forward.
I really enjoyed the cooperative elements as I’ve briefly mentioned prior. This really is a four player coop game, and it’s best with a squad. If you don’t have friends or can’t find others online to fill a team the AI is surprisingly very helpful. They’re responsive to your needs as a player and actually help out during combat. It’s rare to see that, as they don’t cause problems and actually assist you. That brings me to another point, I wish there were more cooperative abilities in this. The fun of a super hero team up is seeing them play off one another abilities wise and that really isn’t here.
It’s kind of there, healing or invisibility wise though they could have taken that further. The enemies are varied in this one, to a surprising degree. There always seemed to be some sort of new foe, and they like to mix up what you’re going against. Whether that was in smaller robots, infantry or even larger machines. The massive boss fights were also quite engaging, and insane to witness as you battled them. These were mostly attack the weak spots moments, but still really fun to work through. They also use those moments sparingly which was nice, when you see a big boss come in it’s an original foe to tackle.
A large part of this experience is based around loot collection. It’s not anything too wildly unique, but it’s expansive and I always felt like I was getting rewarded for my efforts. Each character has their own unique sets of gear, skills and cosmetics. When it comes to gear, you get a few different options that don’t really impact the visual look of the characters which is disappointing.
It is neat to see how these gear pieces alter your abilities and power rating. You can enhance what gear you have by gaining materials during combat. This will push your armor further, and it’s a nice way to boost up your gear for the next challenge you have to face. You’ll also have slots for artifacts, and these can be boosted in the same way. Moving past the gear portion, the skill trees are very expansive. You get regular new skill based abilities, mastering ones and then specialty options.
It’s really neat as the further you go, the more personal your hero will become. You get to a point where three options are present and you can choose a single one to give a more powerful boost in a particular way. It’s very interesting, that’s for sure. There are many cosmetics present here too, though it’ll take awhile to work towards them. Still, an impressive offering with many costumes capturing some well known designs. That reminds me, the core characters do capture their comic look well while also being reminiscent of their MCU counterparts.
I do like Digital Foundry’s joke about them being the cosplay Avengers. At the same time, I appreciate the comic aesthetic they went with. The personalities and styles of each character are what I imagine them as in a standard modern Marvel sort of way. I was very pleased with that. You’ll also see some surprise characters, and locations too. The outposts are particularly fun, and a good place to get extra gear or items. This includes faction challenges, for an extra layering of things to do. There just is a ton to this game, it’s a big package and really quite hard to break everything down as I’d hate to miss anything that’s essential to it in this review.
Marvel’s Avengers is a generally fantastic and expansive experience that can provide countless hours of gameplay. If you’re into this feedback loop of super hero brawling combat, then it’s great. I’m really just having a blast playing it and it’s the type of Marvel game I’ve always wanted. The story is surprising full of heart and Kamala Khan was the perfect choice to center this around. It’s fun to see her exciting charm come to life when she’s around her favorite heroes.
It’s like something you might feel if you were in the same situation and I think that’s a good gateway into the experience. I really did enjoy the story. It felt varied, action packed while also having some more important emotional beats to it. It’s about getting the crew together, and figuring out what exactly did happen which was interesting. There will definitely be some surprises there. Past the campaign, I’ve had a blast with the multiplayer content.
There’s a lot to work through. Whether that’s with those AIM strike missions, the Shield based story content or even extra missions on top of those. I like the focus of linear play, while also having some segments where you get a taste of the open world. It would actually be quite nice to have some of those open hub areas become freely available to visit with others in the future. That would be neat. I found this to run very well technically considering the scale of it and the content present.
I was impressed, it exceeded my expectations across the board. I didn’t expect to see so much available, and to have so much fun with it all. I just want to keep on playing, and I didn’t anticipate that I’d be so into it all. They really did nail the Avengers whether you want to play as Thor; Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man or Ms Marvel. The roster is solid, and each has their own thing going on.
You’ll notice that even more the further you get within their various skill trees. To conclude, I will make note once again that it’s an absolute shame that Spider-Man is being locked to a single platform. I bet that character will be a blast to play as. It might be annoying to see me mention that, but I do think it’s important to continue the discussion of having content such as that iconic character being locked to a single platform in this situation.
Read our Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Review
View our Marvel Hub
Marvel's Avengers Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by 47