Marvel’s Avengers has seen plenty of improvements since our initial day one review. Despite offering a chunky pre-release beta, many stepped away from the game feeling blindsided, failing to connect with its comic book dungeon crawling having expected something more in line with an MCU-inspired thrill ride.
That’s not to say Marvel’s Avengers doesn’t have its fans. Admittedly, I’ve warmed more and more towards the brawl-heavy action RPG, especially after Black Panther and the War for Wakanda DLC. However, Square Enix’s ambitious live service title still has a way to go.
Lead developer Crystal Dynamics recently shared their Avengers roadmap which takes us to the end of 2021. However, for this article we’re looking beyond the end of this year, listing five improvements we want to see as the game heads into its second full year.
With so many multiplayer games featuring online cross-play at launch, this has always felt like something Marvel’s Avengers missed out on. Finding a party isn’t as quick as it should be, so having a wider pool of players to match with would be a massive boon. Sadly, Crystal Dynamics has no plans to update the game with cross-play any time soon. Right now, you’re limited to a particular ecosystem, so PS4 and PS5 superheroes can brawl together, the same going for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S players.
With Marvel’s Avengers being such a loot heavy action RPG, it was disappointing to realise that equipping new gear doesn’t change your hero’s appearance. Unless you unlock or purchase skins from the marketplace, you’ll be stuck in the same costume for hours on end. There was a fantastic opportunity here to let players mix and match a multitude of comic-inspired cosmetics, similar to what NetEase has done with Marvel Future Revolution. It may be too late to change things now but would add some much needed appeal to the loot in Avengers.
More Iconic Villains
While Modok was an interesting choice to have as the main antagonist, Marvel’s Avengers lacks a compelling cast of villains. Even after the War for Wakanda expansion, there’s nothing particularly iconic about this rogue’s gallery, despite Crystal having such a rich well of inspiration to draw from. Designing fun yet challenging boss battles is no doubt one of the developer’s biggest challenges with Marvel’s Avengers, but we still need to see more of them. Hopefully, with Spider-Man on the way, we can expect one or two familiar faces for us to pummel.
This one’s a longshot. As we’ve already established, it can sometimes be hard to find a full lobby when playing online. Instead of waiting for the party to fill, players will often run solo missions, aided by three capable AI companions. You can still have plenty of fun battling alongside your computer-controlled cohorts though it’s hard to shake the feeling that isn’t how Marvel’s Avengers is meant to be played. To help bridge the gap, a hero-switching feature could be implemented. One minute you could be shooting down turrets as Hawkeye, then swinging enemies around like rag dolls as The Hulk, switching to Iron Man when you’re in need of an aerial view. This would essentially turn the single player game into an alternate Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
The in-game Marvel’s Avengers marketplace is simply too expensive. Despite being a full price game, Square Enix are charging players over a tenner for the game’s more exotic hero costumes. Naturally, Marvel fans have been itching for MCU skins, but dressing your entire squad up will cost you an eye-watering sum.
What’s perhaps even worse are the takedowns. These are basically finisher-style moves that Avengers can perform on stunned foes. Having only one of these equipped means watching the same takedown animation on repeat, sometimes more than a dozen times during a mission. Paying 600 or so credits (around five £/$) for just one takedown to mix things up even a tiny bit is ridiculous. It’s easy to see where Square got the idea from, looking at Call of Duty and its lavish kickass finishers. However, charging players for these in a co-op game doesn’t wash. Drop those prices, and drop them fast.
The “Assemble” campaign definitely had some highlights, but one year later and I’m struggling to remember what happened and the roles each Avenger played. As a live service game that hinges on progression hooks and replayable content, that initial focus on story only gets more and more diluted. You’ll occasionally catch a snippet of contextual dialogue between two characters yet this rarely feels like it’s coming from a tight-knit team of heroes. We’d love to post-campaign content that brings the whole cast together in a meaningful way, instead of having them quietly blend into the scenery of hub areas.
Whatever Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix have in the works, we’re excited to see what comes next. We’re hoping to see the playable cast of characters expand in 2022 but until then we’ve got the first Marvel’s Avengers raid coming as well as the PlayStation exclusive Spider-Man DLC.