Square Enix’s big-budget super-hero title is nearly upon us.
Even with its average first showing, Marvel’s Avengers has built up quite the head of steam over the past year. Here’s everything you need to know before buying the game.
Like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Iron Man VR, the story draws on the comic books but is completely standalone. The Avengers are disbanded following a tragic incident that resulted in major devastation to San Francisco (along with Captain America’s death but we all know he’s fine). Several years later, A.I.M is on the rise, having rebuilt the city but Kamala Khan, who awakens her own Inhuman powers, knows that bad things are afoot. Thus she sets out on a quest to reunite the Avengers. In terms of voice talent, Laura Bailey, Troy Baker and Nolan North are on board, lending their voices to Black Widow, Bruce Banner/Hulk and Iron Man respectively.
Six Playable Heroes
The diversity in play-styles is one of the key appeals here. Thor uses Mjolnir and lightning to decimate foes; Iron Man relies on Repulsor blasts, smart rockets and the Hulk Buster; Hulk uses his brute force and rage; Black Widow relies on melee combos, stealth and dual-wielding firearms; and Captain America is all about acrobatics, shield throws and fisticuffs. Even Kamala Khan has quite a lot going on with the ability to increase in size, Mr. Fantastic-like attacks and other nifty tricks. Throughout combat, players can use team-up attacks to efficiently finish off foes.
Primary, Specialty and Mastery Skills
As you level up a hero, different skills can be unlocked across three trees – Primary, Specialty and Mastery. Primary skills encompass a range of skills – for example, Iron Man can end a Light Attack combo with a Heavy Repulsor blast that stuns enemies and breaks their guard. Black Widow, on the other hand, can throw an Impact Grenade that launches enemies into the air, perfect for air combos and heavy baton slams. We haven’t seen much of the Mastery and Specialty trees but the latter will be used for upgrading one’s Ultimate. Iron Man’s Ultimate is the Hulk Buster and it can be upgraded to fire a short laser blast, unleash seeking rockets on up to five enemies and much more depending on which Specialty skills are chosen.
Though Kamala is the protagonist, different Hero Missions will let you play as each Avenger and take advantage of their skill set. So far, we’ve seen “Once An Avenger” which has Thor beating up A.I.M robots on a SHIELD Helicarrier with the help of Iron Man and Hulk. Other Hero Missions include Kamala Khan and Hulk tracking down Jarvis and then investigating a SHIELD bunker in Russia. As you play through the game, it’s possible to complete different Mission Chains which offer Faction XP, patterns and nameplates.
Along with customizing different abilities, you’ll also gather a plethora of loot for different heroes. There are several tiers, from Uncommon and Rare to Epic and Legendary. Each gear piece comes with a Power rating and perks, like a percentage chance to increase a stat after a finisher. Boosting gear will raise its Power rating and unlock other perks like, say, unleashing Pym Particles or shock bursts on light combo finishers. The higher the rarity, the more perks you can unlock on gear but you’ll also need to invest more resources. Each hero can also equip different Artifacts, though more details are yet to be revealed about them.
War Zones are the co-operative component of Marvel’s Avengers and see four players teaming up across large zones teeming with enemies. Along with battling foes, you’ll take on different objectives and solve environmental puzzles to gain additional loot and collectible comics. If you’re not interested in playing online, then the companion AI can be used to fight alongside you. A nice touch is that the AI characters joining you on War Zone missions are your own customized heroes, allowing you to use specific skills and tactics.
Described as “smaller, focused War Zones,” Drop Zones are quicker skirmishes that usually have one objective. This makes them good for leveling up heroes or getting some easy gear. Those who don’t want to spend a long time on War Zones, whether solo or with friends, are advised to try out Drop Zones for some instant action.
HARM Challenge Rooms
Holographic Augmented Reality Machine or HARM Challenge Rooms, as the name indicates, are optional challenges that players can take on. They’re filled with enemies that become more difficult over time and can be tackled in co-op with up to four players or with the companion AI. Each HARM Room comes with a guaranteed reward (like a random comic) but they’re also good for testing out any builds beforehand.
So how long will it take to play through all of this content? According to Rich Briggs while speaking to Comicbook.com, it should take 10 to 12 hours to finish the core story. Of course, if you want to “see everything there is,” there’s about 30 hours of gameplay in total. Not too shabby but honestly, it’s the loot grind that’s going to have you coming back.
Post-Launch Content and Heroes
Following launch, new missions and heroes will be added to the game for free. We already know that Hank Pym aka Antman is coming but the first post-launch DLC hero will actually be Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. Revealed in the second War Table stream, Hawkeye will have his own story and Hero Missions which can be played solo or in co-op. When he’ll release is unknown but he’s coming.
We’ve seen a number of different alternate costumes for each Avenger like Iron Man’s Starboost armor, Thor’s classic armor with the winged helmet, Kamala’s Ms. Marvel outfit and much more. These are some of costumes that can be earned in-game through missions. However, there’s also the in-game store.
As a live service game, Marvel’s Avengers will be earning its revenue through an in-game store. You can spend real money to purchase skins, with some being exclusive to the store. While specific pricing for skins has yet to be revealed, one upside is that are no RNG loot boxes involved. You’ll know exactly what you’re paying for.
Beta Schedule and Content
Remember the cumbersome flow chart that outlined Anthem’s demo, early access, trial and full game release schedule? Thankfully, the upcoming schedule for the Marvel’s Avengers beta is easier to parse. It starts on August 7th for PS4 pre-orders and runs till the 9th. All PS4 players, along with Xbox One and PC pre-orders, can access it on August 14th to 16th. Finally, players on all platforms can access the beta on August 21st to 23rd. With the A-Day Prologue, two Hero Missions with Kamala and Hulk, five Drop Zones, War Zones and HARM Rooms to play through, there should be enough to keep players busy.
Free PS5 and Xbox Series X Upgrade
Though PS5 and Xbox Series X will get the game in Q4 2020, PS4 and Xbox One players can also take advantage of a free upgrade. Progress will transfer over and cross-gen platform play between PS4 and PS5 along with Xbox One and Xbox Series X is also possible. Though Xbox Series X features haven’t been announced, the PS5 version is confirmed to have ray-tracing, improved graphics and resolution, DualSense support and spatial audio. There are even two modes to choose from – Enhanced Graphics Mode for better visuals or High Framerate Mode for playing at 60 fps.
Standard, Deluxe and Earth’s Mightiest Editions
The Standard Edition costs $59.99 and provides the base game, a Marvel Legacy nameplate, online beta access before non-preorders, and a Marvel Legacy Outfit Pack with six classic skins for the Avengers. The Deluxe Edition includes all of this, plus the Obsidian Outfit Pack for even more skins, an Obsidian Nameplate Pack, and 72 hour early access for $79.99. Finally, the Earth’s Mightiest Edition, which costs $199.99, has all of the above along with a Steelbook case, a 12 inch Captain America statue and physical keepsakes for several heroes.