The Marvel’s Avengers Beta happened this past weekend. I played the hell out of it, loved it, and am here to tell you about it so you can decide if you want that sweet, sweet pre-order. The graphics are fantastic. Cap and Thor still look pretty damn stupid, but I have zero doubts that they’ll be more than a few alternate outfits to remedy that.
When the game was first revealed, Black Widow looked like a porn actress starring in The Revengers, wearing a deluxe Party City costume. Now she looks kinda like Milla Jovovich and has some of the coolest alternate costumes in the game. Iron Man, of course, has a slew of different cosmetic suits and the Hulkbuster is his “Ultimate” move. Hulk doesn’t look MCU-level impressive, but he’s honestly not that far off. The way his neck muscles flex when screaming is amazing…
Sound design is something I feel the beta hasn’t received enough praise for. Little details like the way Stark’s repulsors charge and hum before blasting sound straight out of the movies; Mjolnir and Cap’s shield sound extremely satisfying clanging as they bounce off of foes and surfaces, and the voice acting is superb. I know when it was unveiled mostly everyone was disappointed that they weren’t using the MCU’s likenesses or voices, but once Kamala starts narrating and everything gets going, you quickly forget about all that.
I love the gameplay. It was fast, fun, and there’s plenty to keep you busy. There are some things that need work, not we’ll get to that later. First the good.
The way the Avengers play and feel is vastly different. Ms. Marvel mostly fails around and throws haymakers, like a rookie would. Widow is basically Batman and incredibly fast (she is really fun to use). Tony uses his thrusters mid combo along with those trusty repulsors and can launch you up to juggle you, and Hulk.. is a wrecking ball. He can literally have two opponents in each hand and use them to swipe at other baddies (once that skill is unlocked).
The combat is fluid, has great animations, and can get hectic. I appreciate that you can’t just spam the dodge or counter buttons; be precise or you can end up frozen and getting pummeled by robots while turrets keep shooting at you.
Each skill tree has interesting structures. For example, with Black Widow and Iron Man, they start with handguns and repulsors, respectively. But you can unlock other ammo/weapon types that come with their own skill trees. Natalya can acquire impact rounds (slow and powerful) and rapid fire. Stark gets lasers and micro-missiles. Kamala’s skill tree is, well, more stretchy attacks! And Hulk’s expands on how to be more devastating and make your rage meter last longer.
Now let’s jump into things that could use some work. There’s no lock on. It’s not as big of a problem as it sounds like, but it’s such a weird oversight. Once a mission ends? There’s no short time window to pick up any gear left by powerful enemies. So I hope you picked up that purple gear. Gear doesn’t change your look. This will always bother me. Fuck. Have an option to make gear invisible (I don’t want to see Hulk with dorky gauntlets), but have it, dammit.
There are no squad commands. While this is more of a personal gripe, a few basic commands on the D-pad would’ve been cool. I’m concerned if there are more skill trees in the full game and how long skills will take to unlock. I say this because at power level 21, I had already unlocked most of Stark’s and Hulk’s skills.
I kind of want to address what streamers/YouTubers have been bitching about (and kinda don’t), so I’ll try to be quick:
- “The maps aren’t massive, it’s not open world, and there’s a lot of indoor missions”. Not every damn game has to be open world. I like the medium maps and mission structure. As far as the indoor complaining… have they read comics involving AIM? Labs and bunkers are kind of their thing.
- “There’s not enough combat variety or different combos, so I stopped playing after 3 or 4 missions”. Soooooo.. you didn’t unlock more moves and skills for your character, you fucking bell-end.
- “It’s no Spider Man PS4”. And if tried to be, you’d rip on it for that. JFC.
- “The girl.. Ms. Marvel! The way she swings around, it’s like a low rent Spider Man”. Comic books. Read them or admit you’re an MCU fan (it’s fine, most people that love the MCU aren’t comic readers).
OK, this is long enough as it is for a beta review thing. Going to boot up Ultimate Alliance 3 and wait until Friday. 3.75-4/5 ISO Crystals.