Avengers assemble – as soon as you’re finished queuing for nearly 3 hours. It’s EGX time again, where all the biggest games get queued up for what seems like an eternity. Luckily this year, the XNVR crew was granted full press passes, so waiting that time was all a distant nightmare, which was handy because Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics brought their superhero team up adventure as a first-time playable demo.
The demo plays the pre-rendered footage from E3 – The attack on the city following the A-Day presentation, this is a good place to pick the demo for as the tutorial was quick and easy, there was next to no explaining needed and it gave a great chance to show the graphics and more importantly – the damage physics.
The best way to describe the gameplay is simplistic; consisting of heavy attack, light attack and building up a meter for a special attack. Not that simplistic is a bad thing, it just feels rather safe and nears being added to the group of the mindless beat-em-ups. The demo gave around 5 minutes with each character and gives enough time to see how the characters feel and the Avengers game does a fantastic job of making these transitions feel seamless, making next to no adjustment period needed between the heroes.
Atheistically, the game looks stunning. It’s incredibly detailed from near destruction to far away action. At the start of the demo, you’re tasked with piloting Thor as him and Iron Man fly towards an exploding bridge and the lower ground looks to be incredibly detailed and wonderfully rendered. It’s a small step to making the game feel massive in comparison, as later on in the demo, the bridge is rapidly falling apart and the game environment damage does a fantastic job at portraying the imminent danger by having parts of the bridge fall away and struggle to keep it together.
In order for the Avengers video game to work, you need to forget everything you know about the films – which is tricky because for the majority of fans (including myself) are into the franchise because of the films. The Avengers video game isn’t canon to the films, meaning that Iron Man is back from the dead (oh, spoiler alert for Endgame) and everything is given a nice, convenient reset.
As the game isn’t canon to the movies, it means the actors aren’t portrayed in their roles (and that would mean licencing the actors, not the characters) the game settles on a rather jarring middle ground where the characters look very similar to the movie counterparts but differ ever-so-slightly. This gives the feeling of a rip-off of sorts, like the actors body doubles have been hired instead for their gaming day out. It’s not a complete deal breaker but it’s definitely something that can put people off the title, knowing the story is effectively starting again.
With that, the game does a good job of introducing its own version of the characters, showing how they interact with each other through quips in a light-hearted yet slightly cringy manor, including the line from Tony that says “did Thor just make a joke?” which, although seemed to serve as a nice throwback to the first Avengers film, did seem a little forced.
The short and action packed demo left enough to be desired for more, and any on the fence could now be convinced to drop money for the full title, but I have my doubts. How will the story work? It seems suggest that Avengers will be open world with a series of side quests, but that suggests a terrible grind-a-ton – which we have way too many titles like that currently. This game really will be one to watch to see how it turns out and what it becomes, but when it finally drops, we’ll review it and see if we end up loving it 3000.