PAX West 2019: Marvel’s Avengers is More than a Franchise Tie-in

Over the past ten years, Marvel has managed to make a huge resurgence with old and new fans with their film series. During this time we’ve seen an even greater number of Marvel superhero video games also tap into the market and give players the chance to be their favorite heroes. Fans were surprised and invested when it was announced that Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix were also throwing their hat into the ring for the Avengers, and upon reveal it was so much more than anyone could have ever anticipated.

Marvel’s Avengers isn’t a story that requires any film or comic book knowledge and is instead its own tight-knit tale. It begins during A-Day, wherein the Avengers are being celebrated for their work. Things can’t always go their way, unfortunately, and an attack on the city causes them to leap into action and help protect innocent people. After smashing, bashing and crashing through every enemy they can find they unfortunately lose Captain America and leave the city in shambles. In a knee-jerk reaction to the catastrophic event, superheroes are outlawed and the Avengers split up or go deep into hiding to protect themselves.

This Avengers title is a fast-paced action title with an emphasis on variety. At the start every hero has basic light and heavy attacks in addition to some special moves that they can pull off. Each character’s moveset is unique, including the gear they can equip. There are two main types of quests players can take on, with story quests being exclusively solo and all others allowing up to four players go at it together. Each hero has their own individual level, so wanting to enjoy all of them will mean working with every character. Gear picked up will also be character exclusive, with each one having their own equipment to better help them. Playing missions on harder difficulties rewards better gear, making it well worth replaying to get the good stuff. Skills and new attacks can be unlocked as the characters level up, making for an entirely customizable move set. There are also cosmetic costumes that each character can wear, some of which that are unlockable and others that are only available through the marketplace.

The main cast of playable characters includes Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Captain America. Iron Man has a priority on projectile weapons and spends much of his time in the air at a distance. Hulk is all smack down all the time with heavy, slow attacks causing havoc wherever he goes. Thor uses lightning and his hammer to break enemy defenses or fly above to shock them to their knees. Black Widow is mostly close-ranged hand-to-hand combat with a gun to help from a distance. Captain America is king of the shield with physical and ranged attacks at his disposal, the ability to throw his shield being a huge assistance. Although these are all the basic run downs of characters, there is so much variety in how they can be changed that it allows players to choose the type of combat they like most. If they prefer Thor stay mostly in the sky, he can fly above it all and rain lightning down to crush his foes. On the other hand they can make Thor a grounded character who goes in with his hammer to demolish his foes. The options are all there to make each character feel more unique from every other player’s in order to craft the perfect Avenger team.

Marvel’s Avengers is shaping up to be a special kind of action adventure. Although based on the franchise, it doesn’t feel anything like a quick easy adaption to bank on the overwhelming popularity that follows behind. There’s depth to it that makes it shine by itself and it’s a title that would be fun for any fan of action adventures. One of the biggest pluses is that there’s planned additional content such as new characters and missions that will be added down the line for no extra cost. It’s also nice to see more video game adaptions not simply being a retelling of a story that people have seen time and time again and for many people this will be an entirely new story for players.