Hands-on: Marvel’s Avengers (Gamescom)

It is undeniable that the Russo Brothers produced one of the most special movie franchises of all time. So if you are experiencing some withdrawal symptoms after Endgame, don’t fret. Marvel’s Avengers is coming to the PS4 in May 2020. I just had the opportunity to play as my favourite superheroes and I must say that Marvel has got me wrapped around their fingers, yet again.

“I am the Mighty Thor”

The game begins at A-Day, a celebration of the Avengers where they are busy unveiling their brand new headquarters in San Francisco. However as with any Marvel movie, things quickly turn sour with a mysterious force attacking the event. This is where my playthrough/tutorial starts. Throughout my tutorial I got to play as all five characters and I will touch one each of them briefly below. It does seem like the creators drew quite some inspiration from the Avengers movies with Thor sounding a lot like the British Chris Hemsworth and even making the same obnoxious jokes about being “mighty”.

Each character has a basic set of moves. They each have light melee attacks, heavy melee attacks and a ranged attack that is used by aiming with L2 and exceuted with R2. Everyone also has a “Heroic Attack” activated with R1 (Offensive) or L1 (Defensive) which deals a significant amount of glorius cinematic damage. After an enemy has suffered a certain amount of damage we can also press Light and Heavy attack together to activate a small cinematic finishing move.

A worry for me was that the characters were going to be boring. However each one really does feel quite different. Thor’s Hammer feels heavy and the each hit feels impactful with a strong vibration of the controller. The throwing mechanic pins your enemies down while calling it back hits the enemies in its way (ala God of War). When’s Thor’s hammer is not with him he can also use his bare fists to beat down the baddies. Captain America felt quite similar except that he was lighter and faster with his shield boomeranging instead of sticking to an enemy. 

Ironman felt satisfyingly complex as I had to balance flying (managed by X and O) with shooting beams at my enemies. Just like Thor however Mr. Stark isn’t afraid of getting into a fist fight when he is on the ground. It did however feel like this was not his preferred style of fighting and that he would be more useful in a ranged battle.

Hulk did what he does best. Smash. Everything. You can almost use anything when playing as Hulk to trash your enemies. Including your enemies. By holding down light attack you can pick them up and swing them around like a ragdoll. Hulk has the ability to jump over large gaps and apparently wall-run short distances. It felt like Hulk would be a great crowd controller with most of his attacks dealing area of effect damage.

Last but unfortunately least, I was cast as Black Widow to take down the final boss. Unfortunately Black Widow’s weak pistols and repetitive melee attacks didn’t feel quite as satisfying as any of the other characters. However during one of the screenshots they showed it looked like she might be able to equip some sort of bo-staff which could make playing her way more interesting.

So after fighting my way through the QTE heavy demo I entered the presentation room. Below are some more details for what you can expect to see in Marvel’s Avengers.

Pull yourself together

Just a quick disclaimer, the following section may contain some spoilers on the main story so if you don’t want to know any more I would suggest you skip to the “Avengers Assemble” section.

So after some events transpire at A-Day, the Avengers disband with each of them dealing with their own sort of emotional trauma from that day. So not only will you have to get the ol’ gang back together, you also have to restore each one’s emotional state, which in turn will restore their powers. After five years the world has been taken over by a company called AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), a company that believes that through science (robots and drones in their instance) they can protect the world from danger. Only problem is, they consider the Avengers one of those dangers.

Avengers Assemble (again)

Operating from a reclaimed heli-carrier, the Avengers set out to remedy the world they left behind. We are given a world map (yes the whole world we are told) from which we can choose two types of missions, Hero Missions and War Zone missions. Something that everyone was worried about was whether the missions were going to be fun with all characters. To prevent this issue, Square Enix has designed the Hero missions so that they will be playable only by a specific character. This enables them to tailor the environment of the mission for each character. For example, if the mission is played with Hulk, it will have a lot of destructibles to ensure you play to his strengths. These missions progress the story and help us learn more about our heroes.

War Zone missions can be played either alone or in a four player online co-op. The purpose of this missions is to unlock more gear for your character, however it was promised that they will also provide more back story to the main story of the game. Levels will have different difficulty levels so the more difficult the mission, the better loot you get. The designer also confirmed to us that there will be different types of War Zones , however they didn’t want to say much more about this. Before the War Zone mission starts, you will know exactly what loot you will get and for which character. The mode can be played with any character and we also confirmed that these will be replayable, as your characters level up with better loot becoming available.

Customisation galore

Each Hero will have a different set of skills to unlock with each of them having what seemed like four skill tress (We got a glimpse of Ironman’s skill trees which consisted of Repulsor, Laser, Rocket and Melee). Each character also has gear they can equip with each having different perks. The four stats on which the character is measured are melee, ranged, defense and heroic, which is in line with the methods of attack mentioned above. You can of course customise your character however you like to “embrace your powers” (a phrase we heard probaly four to five times). 

But this is not all. The game has a wide array of cosmetic customization options. It was confirmed that these will have no effect on your player’s skills or abilities but will merely be “so that you can look however you want to look”. These will be unlocked either through the game or through the in game marketplace. 

Multiple year support, at no additional cost!

The developers alluded to the fact that the story will end in such a way that there will still be work for the Avengers and their Marvel companions to do. The narrative will unfold over multiple years with new Super Heroes and regions being added over a period of time at no additional cost. 

Like I said, they got me again…

Just after watching Endgame I told my wife: “No we will not watch another Marvel movie. I am tired of giving my money to these people.” However after playing through the demo and watching the presentation I cannot help to feel my fingers itching to press that pre-order button. If you would like to check out the gameplay demo, it is available to watch here. Marvel’s Avengers will be available on the 15th of May on PS4, Xbox One, Stadia and PC.

A South African trying to be a Dutchie. An accountant trying to be a gamer.

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