Marvel’s Avengers joins a frustratingly long list of broken Triple-A ‘live-service’ videogames, pushed out by developers with promises to fix bugs and add more playable content in the years to come. We’ve seen this before with Fallout 76, and it happened again with Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
Don’t get me wrong - I really wanted to like this game. It’s packed full of easter eggs and translates hero abilities to gameplay in pretty spectacular form - but that’s when the game is actually functioning.
Marvel’s Avengers is a live-service game where the story campaign really serves as an introduction to the game’s core gameplay loop. You learn about character abilities, mission design, upgrading resources and loot - and then you take all that knowledge into the endgame. The idea here is that you take all your levelled-up Avengers into endgame missions and spend the next few weeks maxing their Power Levels, which is determined by loot.
Grinding for loot feels boring, because it simply doesn’t matter until loot starts dropping at Power Level 130 and up, when stat buﬀs actually start to make a diﬀerence, but it’ll take you far too long to get there. Instead of tying loot and impactful abilities together like other games do, Marvel’s Avengers separates them. Now, all the abilities you need to make character builds go in each Avenger’s skill tree - and to be fair, they’re pretty amazing. Early on, I despised using characters like Thor and Iron Man, right until I unlocked powerful abilities that opened-up their potential in combat.
Getting frozen in the midst of battle is just one of the many ways in which this game’s enemies will annoy you.
I have no doubt in my mind that an Anthem 3.0-like overhaul is coming for this game’s loot system in the far-ﬂung future. Currently however, it just feels like an excuse for Crystal Dynamics to keep people playing for years on end. Player matchmaking might be completely broken right now, but you can hop on and buy character skins with no problem. Priorities!
Look, I actually did like some parts of this game. Taking control of Iron Man and fring lasers and rockets before jetting oﬀ into the sky feels fantastic. Tossing out a shield as Captain America and kicking it back when it returns to you is so good. Pulling out twin machine guns as Black Widow and going ham on a couple robots feels satisfying.
But doing all this in tandem with your fellow Avengers as they bring the pain to A.I.M.’s forces is almost priceless. But, while each character’s kit feels well-tuned, combat scenarios and mission design are not. The enemies you fight against are just so…uninspired. This is a universe full of memorable heroes and villains - and Crystal Dynamics chose robots? I can’t help but lament what a missed opportunity that was after 30 whole hours of fighting these things. How do you make an Avengers game with just Abomination, MODOK and Taskmaster as villains? Even Marvel’s Spider-Man had more villains than that, come on now.
You can buy loot, but why would you? Loot drops at such a rapid pace and each new piece feels just as useless as the last.
Mission and level design gets incredibly dull the longer you play the game. There are only a few open-world environments (called ‘drop zones’), and you’ll have seen most of them by the time the campaign ends. I’ve been in so many bland deserts and A.I.M. labs that I simply don’t want to return until there’s something actually new to see.
Finally, in my time with Marvel’s Avengers, I have encountered truly horrendous amounts of bugs and glitches. I’ve suﬀered multiple crashes, fallen through the game map, and getting stuck at infinite loading screens.
During cutscenes, framerates drop to 2 to 3fps sometimes. Conversation options for characters would disappear when I got close to them. A vendor would say, “Seriously? You’re the best,” on repeat after talking to her, even if I was in a diﬀerent room. Mission objectives would not trigger leaving me stuck till I’m forced to reload a checkpoint.
You get the idea. This game is broken, and it feels like Square Enix has managed to dupe millions of players around the world into becoming Quality Assurance testers. Just two weeks after launch, the game received a patch that fixed over 1,000 issues. Why did it launch with these issues in the first place?
Maybe down the line, it’ll turn into a great game with ﬂawless multiplayer and tons of fun content to play through. Who knows? Right now though, it’s just a mess.
THIS GAME SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RELEASED IN THIS STATE.
AT A GLANCE
DEVELOPER Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal
PUBLISHER Square Enix
GENRE Action, Adventure
PLATFORM PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, PS5, Xbox Series X
PLAYERS Single, multi
PICTURES MARVEL, SQUARE ENIX