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**Trying to make this as spoiler free as possible but there may still be some in there.**
We are often busy these days and have to be more selective with the games we make time for and we are certainly glad we made time for the new Avengers game. We found it to have a strong narrative similar to a cinematic experience. Square-Enix did an excellent job of taking familiar narratives from the comics and movies and lending that depth of reference to the worlds and characters in the game. Everything felt very familiar, especially if you are a fan of the movies, but not an exact replica. The ability to create a game that is so familiar yet leave the player feeling like this is their first foray into this world is the real charm of this game.
This narrative device is achieved through the campaign perspective from newcomer Kamala Khan. An Avengers fan girl who grew up with the comics and other media and the perfect parallel to the players who have the same experience with these iconic heroes. As she develops as a hero and becomes part of the team, the player becomes part of the journey as well and is just as vested.
The devil is in the details, and this game certainly has a lot of it. The game itself has familiar locations, characters, devices, and other little easter eggs but there are some other subtle elements. One thing we noticed is it uses real modern pop songs to fill out the environment, especially in those moments with Kamala exploring her surroundings. We found little touches like that making the experience more tangible for us and crossing over from the silver screen.
The campaign is certainly worthy of the Marvel name. There is real character growth, action, adventure, and of course a narrative that you become vested in seeing to its conclusion. We didn't want it to end. Fortunately, the game has a sort of sequel built in, as there is another story focusing on our heroes day to day struggle against the villain in a series of story driven missions that slowly advance the narrative a little. We are still making our way through these missions and sense that it is designed to keep the users engaged for quite some time after beating the main quest.
The game starts with access to just Kamala, after a brief introduction to all the Avengers in an opening sequence. Over time you will get access to other Avengers and have the ability to change between characters. As you expect you can build out skills trees as you gain experience and customize certain abilities. There is also a rich upgrading system for gear and other enhancements powered by resources you collect in loot boxes in the various stages or by defeating enemies or completing missions. The multiplayer mode allows your friends or any other players to join you on your deployments and take on challenging foes in lieu of AI support teammates. This way you and your squad can pick you favorite Avenger and smash away.
Each character has their own special moves and unique power abilities. The variety and uniqueness of each character is what really stands out here. Even how the basic moves (light and heavy attacks) vary from character to character such as a repulsor from Iron Man or a hammer hand from Hulk. There is a mix of ranged characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow and melee-focused characters like Thor and Hulk leaving Kamala as a mixture of both with her reach. We really enjoyed how much time was spent into crafting move sets and the freedom to focus on playing with our favorite characters in our own play style.
Side Quests and Leveling
One issue we took with the game was the lack of variety in side quests. While story side quests or "Iconic" hero missions focused on story centric plot, the other side quests were repetitive smash and grabs. You are either destroying something, protecting someone, or fighting someone. Not only were the missions of the same nature but they recycled the same three or four level layouts just with a slight rearrangement of enemies and item placement. More annoying is that some levels require a certain power level to play, meaning you will spend a lot of time in these side quests to level your character and find better gear, just to continue with some story parts.
While this is annoying and can slow down the flow of the game, it does not detract from the amazing campaign, which itself is worth the price of admission for this experience. Players who choose missions strategically can find better gear sooner and build out their characters while honing their abilities and play style.
As we started playing a new update became available, creating a new faction base and mission set for players to explore along with new costumes and gear to earn. This is a strong indication to us of Square-Enix's dedication to player support in this evolving project. We fully expect more updates to keep players enticed beyond the campaign and keep us engaged until the next sequel. In the meantime, Playstation owners can look forward to the addition of the exclusive Spider-Man playable character, while the addition of Hawkeye is also on the horizon, as hinted from some aspects in game.
In our first year without any Marvel movies, we found this to be a solid way to fill the Marvel-less void. The game has all the fun, adventure, and heart we have come to expect from MCU projects and is the perfect game for both longtime fans of the comics or newer fans of the film. As we head into the colder season, we think it is the perfect time to cozy up with your favorite heroes. The Avengers game is available at all major retailers and digitally on Playstation, Xbox, and PC.
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