Everybody wants to feel powerful in their everyday lives. That’s why some of us yell at each other online. While some people become corrupted under power, others wield their powers for good. As captured over the last decade through a series of docu-dramas, Marvel has shown us their mighty heroes at length. Now – finally, some might say – they’re letting us play as them, too, in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers. The Square-Enix-published, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal-developed game has been in the works for years now, mostly in silence. Not too much was known outside of its basic existence up until this week, when E3 started, and at last, the game seems to be coming along well enough to show off.
Most people have seen the general, non-gameplay cutscene, which is how Square announced the title. However, one of the biggest installments in the main hall of E3 this year happens to be a gigantic showing area for a first-look at how this Avengers game is going to actually play. Encased in a silver dome, complete with streamers and posters for Avengers Day, or “A-Day,” the celebration of the opening of the team’s new headquarters, it almost rivals the even-bigger monument for Final Fantasy VII‘s remake, but I digress. Before the entrance are costume replicas, encased in glass, for all to see. You almost feel safer knowing a 100% functional Iron Man suit is mere feet away.
Yesterday, they shut the line down early due to the massive waits. Today, however, I got in line first thing in the morning. As soon as the doors opened, myself and a few other gentlemen queued right up front and we got to waiting. We apparently weren’t quite early enough though, as they had two showings scheduled before us. You ever wait an hour to watch someone else play a game? Well, I sure did.
We were hustled into a space with multiple televisions, benches and headphones. We all settle in, put on the ‘phones and the gameplay director, Remi Lacoste, starts to talk about Marvel’s Avengers. However, he doesn’t talk for long before we jump into the action. As in the trailer, celebrations are interrupted by explosions on the Golden Gate Bridge, which Thor and Iron Man jet over to investigate. We soon see more nefarious forces are at play, so we wield Mjonlir to put down these puny men.
Yep, we kick things off with the God of Thunder, smacking thugs with a weight reminiscent of God of War. You can also throw the hammer at varying strengths and either pin goons to the wall or send them soaring into the bay. There are also charged special attacks and an ultimate move, which all seem to be AOE clearing attacks. Every hero has one, too.
As we cruise down the bridge, we switch over to Iron Man and take on more of a rail-shooter vibe for a moment, attempting to shoot down fast-flying jetpack goons, before switching into a more mobile beat-em-up arena area, where villains were easily dispatched with pulsar blasts.
Then we kick things into really high gear with Bruce Banner, jumping out of a plane, before landing with a big green thud as Hulk. The gamma monster has insane melee attacks, picking up thugs and smacking them into each other with ease. Hulk moves to meet up with the others, segueing into a short platforming section complete with wall jumps. But then, we cut back to chunky Captain America back on their giant fortress ship. He throws his shield with intensity, even drop kicks it at a thug at one point. His combat seems more like Marvel’s Spider-Man from last year, which is fine with me.
Lastly, we go back to the bridge as Black Widow faces off with the game’s main villain, Taskmaster. Dual wielding either shock sticks or pistols, Natasha isn’t the highest damage dealer of the team, but she’s quick and can easily poke enemies from afar. This boss fight seems very simple, with some dodges here and there, and was probably the weakest part of the showcase. But it was all a distraction, anyway, as the whole city becomes engulfed in a blue flame and the Avengers’ ship, which Cap was on, is pulled into the water.
Wow, huh? The game we’ll be playing apparently takes place five years in the future, with the world back to hating on heroes and stuff. It’s one of service, too, as Square delved into their plans for post-launch content during the initial reveal. Nothing much more was mentioned about it, other than the fact that additional undisclosed heroes will be joining the fight.
That’s my biggest turn-off here, the fact that they’re planning on treating this like they did the first season of Hitman, rolling stuff out slowly to artificially elongate the game’s longevity. I just hope they launch it with enough content (and quality) that it makes it long enough to see those future plans come to fruition.
In any case, I can’t say I am disappointed with what I saw. The character models may look a little off and the voice actors may sound strange, but we gotta remember: these are different Avengers. These ain’t our movie heroes that we’ve grown with for a decade. These are new people, who’ve had much different lives than what we may be used to. But they care about humanity as much as Robert Downey Jr. does, and that’s a fact. And with Marvel’s Avengers due in just under a year, we don’t have to wait long to join the fight.