Some Assembly Required.
I’ve been something of a Marvel fan since my dad got me into Spider-man when I was a kid. Since then I’ve gone through phases of dipping in and out of interest. I’ve read most of the major comic-book plot points pre-2010 and managed to catch up on some new characters like Miles Morales’ Spider-man and Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel, but I’ve pretty much fallen out of sync with the Marvel Universe, other than the films and shows, and have missed out on exciting story arcs like the Inhumans saga (except how that touches on Kamala’s story).
So, naturally, I was excited for the launch of an Avengers game and was whole-heartedly intending on picking it up at launch. However, as launch grew nearer and I started to hear more about the type of game it would be, I started to lose interest. I didn’t want another always-online destiny clone, I was done with games like that.
When the game finally launched it wasn’t too long until we discovered a bug was preventing users from earning the platinum, which was the nail in the coffin for me, no way I was going to play it.
Cut to another month or so down the line, and someone with the plat pops up on r/trophies. I incessantly questioned them about the game and their advice was that it’s a good game and could be played entirely solo, but it needs fixing a lot before he would advise I play it. So, I waited another while and saw that Avengers had finally received a huge patch which “Fixes literally hundreds of problems”.
Well, I’d put it off long enough, I bought the game and dove right in…
Marvel’s Avengers Review
The campaign is by far the game’s best quality, compared to the repetitive post-game and the grind for the last few trophies, the campaign’s action and drive really hit home on what an Avengers game should be.
We enter the story to meet Kamala Khan, one of the newest best-selling heroes from the comics, a lovable and childishly excited Superhero fan who hopes to win a fanfiction contest at the Avengers Day (or A-Day) celebrations. After adorably nerding out for a while, things don’t quite go to plan with the celebrations.
Cue Terragen, the power-source responsible for the newest wave of heroes in the comics; the Inhumans. Kamala falls prey to the Terragen, becoming the new Ms. Marvel!
Cut ahead a few years, the Avengers are disbanded, a new and recognisable group “A.I.M” has taken over Stark Industries and is using the tech to drive Inhumans underground. Unwilling to give up thanks to her superhero influencers, Kamala sets out to reunite the Avengers in a touching and action-packed story campaign.
You’ll follow along through some pretty recognisable beats from comic book storylines with a few extra flakes of originality thrown in. There’s a familiar villain at the helm who, despite being one of the goofiest Marvel villains, is portrayed exceptionally well here.
The main characters are all incredibly well voice-acted by an all-star cast, we have everything from ex-Deadpool Nolan North’s fantastically apt portrayal of Iron man to the industry’s go-to Thor Travis Willingham wielding Mjolnir once again. With industry stars such as Laura Bailey and Troy Baker also making the cut, it really is the video-game equivalent of the MCU’s all-star cast, and enough to make my inner fanboy jump for joy.
The story finds itself broken up by an RPG-style gameplay system in which you take control of each Avenger, levelling them and their gear up, acquiring new skills and completing missions and optional objectives in order to acquire better gear and become more formidable.
Sadly there are more than a few glitches peppered throughout the game which can end up ruining great moments. In my first fight with Abomination he just T-posed in the middle of the room letting me wail on him. And then one of the biggest moments where I had the whole team back together was completely ruined by a goofy graphical glitch.
The first mission of the game is perfect. There’s a sequence on a bridge which introduces each character and allows you to play as them one-by-one which is really what an avengers game should be. Action-packed and story-driven. If the whole game would have been like that one mission, somewhat linear but truly narrative-led then I think it would have been far better than what we ended up with.
From that mission onwards, slowly but surely, the game transitions away from that into the repetitive loot-and-shoot (or punch, depending) type of gameplay and honestly, by the time I was done with the story my motivation to keep going had been shot with a few pym particles and reduced to ant-size.
The gameplay is very similar to that of Destiny or Anthem (don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as bad as Anthem) and while I found the gameplay fun and using some heroes was exciting, there seemed to be some weird balancing issues. Levels seemed to get dis-proportionally difficult at random and when using Black Widow or Captain America I’d bomb hard at something I’d breeze through if I had control over Thor or Iron Man.
Often a mission will follow the same pattern; Find some enemies, kill the enemies, look for loot, find the enemies, kill the enemies, so on and so forth until the boss or final objective. Sometimes they’d throw in other additional objectives so that you would have to capture 3 bases or protect 3 allies while you kill enemies, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference.
Luckily, the combat is actually really fun. There are many combos to use against the various enemy types, with some combos being more effective than others depending on the enemy. On top of that, each character has three heroic skills with varying degrees of usefulness, from support to outright offense, there’s plenty of quick on-the-fly strategising to be done.
Growing in strength through hard work and effort is quite satisfying, and seeing that effort come to fruition is a great feeling, however a lot of the game scales up in difficulty the stronger you become, making progression feel a little bit pointless, like you’d have just as hard of a time at level 1 as you do at level 10. However, having the better skills and gear perks you’re able to afford from putting in the effort definitely pays off as anyone who’s struggled with HARM Room Challenge V will be able to attest.
There are currently 6 characters available to play as in Marvel’s Avengers, with 3 more confirmed upcoming members including; Spider-man (PlayStation Exclusive), Hawkeye (Female), and Hawkeye (male). Why you would want more than one Hawkeye is completely beyond me but that’s the way it goes I suppose.
So let’s take a look at who we have at the time of writing…
Kamala Khan/ Ms. Marvel
Kamala is a sweet young girl, a huge fan of the Avengers with a heart of gold, she is living her dream and isn’t afraid to let it be known. Constantly fangirling around the other Avengers, her attitude is met with compassion and a parent-like pride from the others as they witness her grow – Literally and Figuratively – and act as a driving force for the reassembly of earth’s mightiest heroes.
Her ability is mainly that of a “Polymorph” similar to Mr. Fantastic and Mrs. Incredible, meaning she is able to grow and shrink any part of her body at will, allowing for massive fists at the end of long whip-like arms, or a giant-man style dramatic growth in size. Coupled with some lesser-explained cosmic powers like that of her name-sake, the original Ms. Marvel, she’s a fantastic and relatable addition to the franchise for younger Marvel fans.
Bruce Banner/ The Hulk
Bruce Banner is a very intelligent scientist whose ventures into Gamma Radiation science earlier in his life led to the birth of his jeckyl-and-hyde-esque counterpart; The Hulk.
Outside of missions you control him as Bruce, which is more convenient given his smaller size and more learned way with words. During missions, however, he’s going full Hulk. Using brute force and “Rage” abilities, you can truly smash as Hulk, ripping concrete out of the ground for ranged attacks, or just grabbing people by their ankles and whipping them around like a pool noodle in homeage to the famous Hulk vs Loki scene in the Avengers movie.
Tony Stark/ Iron Man
Genius Billionaire Philanthropist Tony Stark is a character who just oozes smarminess and confidence. His many different renditions throughout the years have all given off the exact same vibe but Nolan North takes that character to whole other level, perfectly donning the personality of this sarcasm-wielding dealer of quips.
Obviously, you can’t have Tony Stark without his famous Iron Man suit, and there are a few different versions you’ll get to use just as part of the story. Including the gorgeous Mark 36 armour which sports an incredible white and gold colour scheme which really got my nerdy side giddy.
Fly around, fire repulsors, slice at enemies with a flurry of lasers… Iron Man is one of the most fun characters to play as during combat, equipped with a full array of instantly-recognisable sound effects from the dull clunk of his iron fist putting a dent in a bad guy’s skull to the charging-up sound of his repulsor cannons.
Natasha Romanov/ Black Widow
Black Widow is one of Shield’s top agents, who often has her own agenda and there’s typically money involved. Trained as a Russian infiltrator with a backstory similar to the movie Red Sparrow, this deadly force tends to use the way her bodysuit fits her as a distraction before she breaks her foes’ necks with her thighs.
Widow is, unfortunately, one of the least fun characters to play as. Using standard guns and a series of flips as her entire repertoire of attacks, she’s sadly quite vulnerable in combat. However, whip out the grappling hook, invisibility grenade and some well-timed counters and she’s just as deadly as the rest when the right pair of hands has the PlayStation controller.
Not my pair of hands though, I am not very good as Widow and will typically just keep my distance and pick enemies off with her handguns.
Thor Odinson… The literal son of Odin, god of Thunder himself, Thursday’s namesake. This guy is arguably the strongest Avenger, depending on where you would personally put him versus Hulk. Despite a medieval way of speaking and a holier-than-thou attitude, Thor is actually a genuinely caring person and spends his spare time helping out as a volunteer in homeless shelters.
This guy is the most fun character to play as in my opinion, and ended up being my main. Equipped with lightning abilities, brute strength and his faithful hammer, Mjolnir, there are myriad ways to bring the beat down on your foes with Thor’s repertoire of attacks.
Mjolnir can be used as a ranged weapon, pinning enemies down to the ground while you bring the thunder down on them and let your whole crew get a few good kicks in. Or you can swing that bad boy around like the nuclear force it is, shattering jaws left, right and centre.
Steve Rogers/ Captain America
Steve Rogers is the embodiment of the ideal american man. He loves his country, and his country loves him. For most of us people outside of the US, Captain America is an obnoxious beacon of American pride and is nothing but a goody-two-shoes with big muscles and a frisbee, but people seem to like him.
He’s my least favourite avenger outside of the game, and I like him even less when I have to play as him. His moveset doesn’t really seem to be up to the task of taking out most of the enemies, and his shield doesn’t really even come in handy all that much. It’s kind of disappointing because he’s supposed to be the best Avenger. I’m sure there are some people out there who are pretty good with him regardless.
Fighting as Cap is mostly just up-close hand-to-hand with a few shield throws thrown into the mix. He has some useful Heroic Abilities such as Brooklyn Brawler (isn’t that a wrestler?), which makes his whole move-set pack more of a punch and the shield comes into play on every other punch. Frankly, his whole move-set should have been like the Brooklyn Brawler move-set but I genuinely think the developers just didn’t know what to do with him.
Honestly, though, despite how much I bigged up the combat when describing each character just then… Once you get to the end-game, due to the completely inconsistent difficulty, often your super-powered punches will end up feeling more like my punches irl… Which, let’s be honest, is not a good thing.
You’d imagine that grabbing a guy by the ankles as Hulk and smashing him into the ground or skulling some guy with Mjolnir – which is literally made with the mass of a Star – would do some serious damage regardless of the circumstances, but I guess it depends on whether AIM’s forces remembered to put on their Axe™ Superhero Repellent Body Spray that day.
So, after the great time I had playing the campaign, I was so ready to get stuck into the post-game. I hadn’t read too much about it but had seen the occasional disappointed headline so I thought maybe there’d be a few grievances to be found…
It’s so much worse. There’s nothing to do! Honestly, the developers just threw in 3 or 4 different mission types and put the Power Level cap at 150 and said “There, that’ll keep them busy for 30 hours or so”.
Which is all well and good, but what’s my incentive to reach Power Level 150? Sure, I’ll put myself through it because I have a filthy Platinum Trophy addiction and I’ll do almost anything for that next fix, but this was really pushing on the boundaries of how far I’m willing to go.
Essentially, the mission types available are; Missions with one objective, Missions with multiple objectives and a boss, Missions with multiple objectives and no boss, Missions with a metric F-tonne of objectives, Missions with a metric F-tonne of objectives and a boss. And that’s it. Even when there’s a boss it’s just one of five enemies spongy with a huge health bar.
Okay, that’s a lie, two of the bosses are quite big enemies with weak-points you can target and that’s actually quite fun… But the other three? Trash. Get ’em out of here. Boring.
But yeah, that’s all there is, and you’re probably thinking “Okay, well that’s pretty standard isn’t it? There’s a couple of formulas the game will diversify that formula by mixing up the objectives and keeping the environments ever-changing”. Well, I’m sorry but you’re absolutely wrong. Each mission will start off outside with a little free-roam section which is quite cool, but there’s only about 4 or 5 variations on that and the optional stuff is the same every time.
Then you’ll get in an elevator in an AIM facility and you’ll go to Floor A version 1. Then you’ll finish the objective there and go to Floor B Version 3 or whatever and it’s basically just the same stuff over and over again. Each “Mission” is just the developers grabbing a deck of “AIM facility room Cards” and then shuffling them before handing them over to you.
It’s madness. There’s no creative structure, there’s no diversity. I swear, I played the last 20-30 hours of my playthrough without looking. I just had my laptop out in front of me, watching H3 Podcast and Bad Friends Podcast, and just glanced at my TV every now and then to make sure my attacks were actually hitting something.
It was mind-meltingly dull, horrendously repetitive, and the worst part was that the trophy list wanted me to do insane shit like playing Hive missions 50 times in a row so I sat there like an idiot playing the same mission for around 20 hours. Over and over again.
My Marvel’s Avengers Platinum Trophy Experience
I genuinely loved this game’s campaign, I thought the story was fantastic and it was all very well acted. It really makes you wonder why in the Helheim they would bother to make it this big dumb always-online multiplayer experience when the campaign they laid down was so good.
I would jump out of bed on a morning, excited to play it before work, and I’d finish work excited to come back to it. Getting through the story wasn’t much of a challenge. I’d struggle here and there with the odd mission where I’d usually have to play as Widow or Cap, but then when I got used to their specific playstyle, I’d do a little better and make it through.
There were plenty of trophies that I completed throughout this part of the journey that really just had me getting quite cocky. “Oh, this plat is going to be easy”, “They must have improved the game with the fixes because this is dope”, etc. etc.
Then I finished the campaign…
Iconic Missions, Chest Farming, and
I was dropped into this “Avengers Initiative” mode, which is the Destiny-like always-online game mode, but you can play it completely solo which I obviously did. Not only because I really dislike multiplayer gaming when strangers are involved, but because nobody is actually playing the damn thing anymore.
At this point I was still thinking this would be pretty easy, my main objectives were the side-mission chains; “Iconic” mission chains for each character, the “Reigning Supreme” mission chains and so on…
These were quite good, the individual character-specific mission chains were short, you’d basically just complete a story mission and then complete a few feats such as getting a few headshots with Iron Man, then there’d be a last mission to cap it off and then you’d move on to the next character and do it again.
The problem was that these missions were really just more of the same sh*t, but there’d be a boring briefing cutscene at the start of the level and you’d get a few bits of intermittent dialogue from the characters.
Once I started to run out of things like that to do, though, and my trophy list started to get smaller… I realised I had some real awful grinds ahead of me, but even then I had no idea just how awful those grinds would be.
The Grind Kicks in.
There were about 4 main grinds I had to go through for this game’s platinum. The first I did was 50 cache strongboxes. I found a good farming route which had two hidden vaults in one mission, which would let me get two cache strongboxes per run and a run would take 3-4 minutes if you include having to select the mission again every time and wait for it to load.
So already, that was me having to do the same mission 25 times over about an hour and a half. So, obviously, the sound went down on the TV and with my laptop in front of me I started watching podcast shows that I enjoy on YouTube. This ended up being the way that I would play Avengers for the next 30-40 hours of gameplay. Just watching podcasts while I mindlessly repeat the same objectives in the background.
Once I was done with the cache strongboxes, I took on the 50 Hive missions trophy. The shortest hive would take 15-20 minutes to complete, but could be up to 30 minutes depending on how much I was messing around and which character I was using. Again, I was doing the same repetitive shit for about 20 hours but the upside here was that I managed to catch up on about 4 months worth of H3 Podcasts that I had missed and I was able to get the trophy for earning 250 cumulative Hero Levels across all characters.
The downside was that I didn’t keep count. I had no idea how close or far I was from completing all 50 and it was driving me insane. By about the 40th one I was just praying after each hive that it was finally over and I was done torturing myself but that day never came… Well, until it did but… I was honestly doing this across 4 days. And two of those days were on the weekend so you know I put a lot of time into it.
Two grinds down, two to go. The next was to do 30 missions on “Challenge III” difficulty, which was essentially just “Hard” difficulty. This one, thankfully, only took a couple of hours because Thor had an almost-maxed-out power level and I was farming the quickest possible mission I could find.
With all that done, I cleaned up a few leftover trophies and just had one last grind left. Thor was Power Level 147 and I had to get him to 150 for a trophy. This would mean getting a lot of Upgrade Modules to max out his gear and get more Polychoron resources from completing Faction assignments so I could max out his Major Artifact gear item too (which would also get me another trophy).
These were the last two trophies I needed and I was completing assignments and running the same farming route I used for the Cache Strongboxes over and over again for 4-5 hours, just to reach that last level. It would have taken much longer if I had to wait for new assignments to appear but I cheated a bit by changing the date on my system so that the game would load more daily tasks for me to do.
At the end of all that, just before I had to start work for the day, I finally had enough resources to max out Thor’s power level and that Platinum Trophy was finally mine. After spending several days grinding out the same repetitive tasks over and over and over again I am so genuinely glad to be done with this.
So, even though I had a horrible time playing this game… It has such great potential. All the key elements are there; an awesome cast, a great combat system, it just needs fun content to enjoy. They actually just launched update 1.3.3 which adds new rifts which you can enjoy which I think are like raids or something, but I didn’t care enough to check it out anymore.
I want to come back to this in the future. If they add DLC with extra trophies for levelling up the new characters or something, that would be cool and I’d be happy to check them out and write another review and trophy guide for the site, but at the moments it’s just no good. And that’s sad, you guys, it’s super sad.
I really hope they’re able to make the game fun because I want more from the game and it’s not giving it.
Level grinding and Loot Farming
Villain Sectors and Polychoron farming
Marvel’s Avengers Trophy Guide
Well, want to join the Avengers Initiative for some readon? I’ve put together a full trophy guide which will see you all the way through to the platinum trophy so you, too, can add it to your collection.
That concludes my Avengers Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!
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