Photo Credit: Screenshot of Marvel’s Avengers War Table Trailer, Square Enix
From the moment the Marvel Avenger’s Game was first announced years ago with just a title screen, I was excited. With an iconic publisher like Square Enix (Final Fantasy Series, Dragon Quest Series) behind it. And a Developer like Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider Series) it had a lot going for it. Then several years passed with not much mention. During E3 2019 we got our first look at the game-play for Marvel’s Avengers and it was…underwhelming.
There’s no denying that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics can make a beautiful game. What we saw as far as the game-play though, seemed very scripted. It looked more like a interactive movie where you pressed buttons at scripted times. It was not the action game we were promised with each hero playing differently. As 2019 went on we got a few more details here and there. Such as armor customization and equipment drops from missions. The picture started to look like a cash-grab looter game where you grind out missions over and over hoping for the best. With the best stuff locked behind a pay wall.
After the Marvel’s Avenger War Table stream this week though…all those bad vibes have been put to rest. Instead of active disinterest in the game, I’m feeling some cautious optimism. Here are the reason’s why…
Tried and True Game-Play
The first trailer we ever got of the Marvel’s Avengers game wasn’t great. The game-play had way too much ‘scripted combat’ in it. It focused mostly on Black Widow and because it was the opening mission of the game she doesn’t have a lot of powers or abilities unlocked. So all we saw was Widow running around, stunning stuff and pressing buttons to dodge attacks or move onto the next set of sequences. It’s what we call a ‘set piece’ in gaming. Everyone who plays it, plays it the exact same way.
But the new game-play we saw from the Marvel’s Avenger’s War Table shows way more. It focuses on Thor protecting the deck of a Helicarrier from robots. We see all kinds of abilities and powers and they explain that heroes can attack from range, up-close and even support other heroes. We also get to see other heroes like Iron Man, Ms Marvel, the Hulk and Black Widow joining on the action along side us. The multi-player mode called ‘War Zones’ also promises team-up attacks and power synergies between heroes.
There’s nothing new or ground-breaking about the game-play we saw. It’s based on hack-and-slash with a focus on combos. So if you’ve played something like God of War 4 or Spider-Man, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. The reason this is good is because this format has worked well for games in the past and is easily adapted for just about any game. It might not be new, but it’s fun and you don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.
Free DLC Upgrades
This is something that was mentioned before, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. After you buy the base-game you won’t need to pay another cent to continue enjoying further updates. The game promises a brand new, original story line that will update and evolve over time.
That story seems to revolve around the infamous “A-Day” where something happened that turned San Francisco into a quarantined war zone. The Avengers are responsible and following the death of Captain America, broke up. Thor set his hammer down at the monument to cap, Stark and Banner vanished. AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) has replaced super heroes and convinced the world that people with power only bring ruin. Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) finds evidence that AIM is up to no good and goes on a quest to bring the Avenger’s back together to combat this new threat.
This is where the game has a chance to really cement itself as being worthy of the Avenger’s legacy. Disney and Marvel have created something truly unique in the world of Cinema with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel’s Avengers has the chance to do the same for the Marvel Video Game Universe.
Only Cosmetics are Paid For
The game is betting on the ‘games as a service’ model, meaning they keep coming out with content. That said, they’re willing to let people have it for free after the initial purchase, so they still need a way to make money. Cosmetics such as special costumes for heroes is the way to go. Entire competitive games like League of Legends and Overwatch base their monetization model around the same thing. Skins don’t affect game-play, so if you don’t want to buy them you’re not put at any kind of disadvantage. The game also gives you ways to earn these skins over a longer period if you want them but don’t want to pay.
The only pit-fall with a design like this, is some companies have put too much effort into the ‘shop’ and not enough effort into the game itself. It’s a tricky practice to master and if done poorly can drive players away.
The Story is Avengers Level
This is the biggest reason I’m starting to feel hyped for Marvel’s Avengers game. It’s always been about the story for me when it comes to games. And when it comes to comics, it’s always been about the stories. The Marvel Cinematic Universe shows us our heroes at their best. The Avenger’s game wants to set itself apart from the movies. Which is one of the reasons the hero designs are purposefully different from the cinematic designs.
Instead of our heroes being on top of the world, AIM has painted them as terrorists. So, from what we know of the story so far part of getting the Avengers back together will be convincing the world they’re still heroes. The game promises to bring in heroes from all across Marvel Mythos. Giving center stage to a young hero like Ms. Marvel is a big win as well. Video Games have slowly been shifting away from the tiresome lead white male hero. Having a strong, young female lead does a lot for representation and equality in a space that is in dire need of it.
If you’re an Avengers Fan or a Comic Book fan, make sure to check out our comic book podcast The Other Identity!