Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Reviewed on: PS4
Also available on: Xbox One, PC - Coming soon to PS5 and XSX
Release Date: 4th September 2020
Price: $78 Harvey Norman
Superheroes have been swarming our consoles for the last few years with some incredible stories exploring our favourite heroes (and anti-heroes!) From dark and gritty brawlers like Batman Arkham to the all our fighting Injustice series and the open world beauty of Insomniac’s Spider-Man. DC heroes always fare well when translated to the gaming world and while Spider-Man was a huge hit, other Marvel characters don’t seem to land well (see all the Avengers tie-in games I still have nightmares!) When Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics confirmed they were working on a huge open world Avengers game, I was excited. It was going to be amazing to see these heroes that we have loved on the big screen come to a studio that has brought us the incredible Tomb Raider trilogy of this generation. After a shaky introduction video with concerns over the quality of the graphics, to the Beta only coming out just a few weeks ago, plagued with online matchmaking issues and constant bugs and crashes, things were not looking too good for Earth’s mightiest heroes. Fortunately after pre-empting the quality of this game, I pre-ordered the Mightiest edition and after squeaming over the statues and look (watch here) I booted up the game and was immediately drawn into an incredibly emotional opening scene that sucked me right in and maintained my attention for the duration of the single player campaign. While the online is not fully functional yet (launching tomorrow!) the 15 hour single player campaign is richly layered showcasing just why we love these characters so much.
Focusing on the single player campaign, the story centres around Kamala Kahn (Ms. Marvel) a complete comic book financiado who wins a ticket for her and her father to Avengers Day. A celebration of all things Avengers, a chance to meet the team (and you do in the most GLORIOUS fashion!) and the unveiling of Heroes Park, a picturesque thank you from the city of New York to the heroes. The event is interrupted by an attack from Taskmaster and the video of the Golden gate attack that we have all seen a million times and played in the Beta. After this sequence we take control of Kamala Kahn, playing as the ultimate Marvel and Avengers fan who must go on her own heroes journey while reuniting the Avengers to take down AIM, a government body intent on eliminating anyone who inherited powers on the Avengers day blast, including of course Kamala Kahn.
Kamala’s role in the game is to act as a conduit for all of us who are playing the game. The constant fangirling out over the different Avengers as you find them and re-awaken their hero abilities is really what fuels you through the campaign. This goes hand in with hand with the heroes journey she embarks on discovering her different abilities and gaining the confidence to finally become an Avenger by the time you reach the end of the campaign. It is probably really important to note this going in, as I was under the impression that the other Avengers would be the main focus of the campaign. It was a delightful surprise that the game was intent on making this the focus of the central plot. It was also surprising to note that any hero who had gained abilities during the ADay event was labelled as an “Inhuman”.
Visually the game is leaps and bounds above anything we have seen in previous videos and even from the Beta. The attention to detail in each character and the complicated animations during gameplay and cut scenes blew my expectations out of the water. Comparing the way that Thors cape and Ms.Marvel’s scarves flap in the breeze, particularly when you look at “next gen” Gotham Knights and the lack of movement in Batgirl’s cape gives an indication of where this game is at. The environment variations allowed for variation in the different areas you travel to, helping the game not to feel stale. Collecting items and gear for your characters are an integral part of the game and I would recommend spending some time exploring this before jumping in. It can be a little confusing as when you apply gear to a character it doesn’t show in their in-game appearance. The confirmation of each piece of gear is also a little confusing using audio cues rather than visual, it can be a little tough to navigate if you jump in without exploring first.
Each character can be upgraded using a level system and picking up different types of gear. You can also purchase abilities for your characters that make getting through the game a lot easier. Once you get past the main campaign this game is a live service designed to release content and keep gamers playing online for many months/years ahead. I couldn’t play too much of this before the game’s official release so this review will be updated when I have more of that to experience and share. That being said I played a couple of the campaign missions with other players online and had no issues with connectivity or communicating using voice chat.
There were times when the game feels button mashy and some of the missions that I had already spent hours with in the Beta were frustrating to get through. It is also worth noting that if you have the Beta save file on your console, nothing and I mean NOTHING carries over to the full game so any of your levels and gear will not carry across. As you play through the campaign and unlock all of the Avengers, things will really get started when you have done this. The replayability of each different missions, being able to connect to online and collect all the gear and collectibles will encourage the replayability of the single player campaign.
The voice acting is hit and miss with Sandra Saad as Kamala Kahn the clear stand out of the group. Voice acting greats Troy Baker and Laura Bailey voice Bruce Banner and Black Widow respectively fitting the bill of what we know about these characters from the MCU. Where things f