Why I haven’t given up on Square Enix’ Marvel Avengers game just yet

I admit it, I’m a comic book nerd. So when Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics created the Marvel Avengers game last year, I eagerly bought it expecting to smash like the Hulk and yell “Avengers Assemble” at the top of my lungs. Granted, I was a little underwhelmed by the clunky movement and the strictness of multiplayer matchmaking. So why haven’t I branded Marvel’s Avengers a disappointment? I have thought long and hard about it and the truth is… I see its potential.

Square Enix & Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game isn’t bad, in fact I would say it nailed the atmosphere of what a Marvel game should include. The narrative alone was great, and the characters all felt believable. After a disaster destroys San Francisco on A-Day, the Avengers disband and, in their wake, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) vows to protect the world. Soon, the Avengers are needed, once again, to protect the world against AIM. However, doing so will mean they will need to forgive themselves for the A-Day incident; a task easier said than done for Earth’s mightiest heroes. Marvel Avengers also adds Kamala Kahn aka Ms. Marvel to the roster; a decision I believe to be inspired. With the game focusing heavily on the young Muslim Inhuman throughout the campaign, we get to see a view into a culture that is rarely given a spotlight in video games, let alone as the protagonist. Soon though, players will have unlocked multiple members of the Avengers team and can then determine the hero that they have grown an affinity for and can choose to continue to play as for the rest of the game.

The Marvel Avengers campaign had me hooked until the very end. However, the game began to lose its hold on me once the campaign was over. The multiplayer needed work. As the only person in my friend group with a copy of the game, my only options were either to play with AI or with random people online. I opted for AI. Unfortunately, this became rather dull after a few weeks of random mission selecting and I regrettably decided to pick up a new game to play. Therein lies the game’s problem – a lack of drive. The multiplayer mission felt hollow and lacked the story-driven narrative of the campaign. Instead, I felt like I was grinding characters for no reason. Additionally, Marvel Avengers did itself no favours by refusing to allow duplicate heroes in multiplayer. Players that had upgraded one specific hero now found themselves limited when matchmaking. There could only be one Black Widow and one Hulk, if you wanted to play as them, you had to make sure no one else was playing them first; one extra hurdle that turned me and others off.

However, like Hydra, the Marvel game refuses to die. The developers are continuing to fix bugs and glitches, create new costumes, and adding new updates to the game. Most recently they allowed for the duplication of heroes allowing for multiplayer to be much less restrictive for a limited time. However, the introduction of new playable characters continues to be my reason for returning to the game. Since its release, Marvel Avengers has added Kate Bishop as well as Hawkeye to the team roster; both with their own mini campaigns to be completed to unlock them and new villains to defeat. With Black Panther announced to join the team later this year and the promise of Spider-Man to PS4 players as well, there is certainly a lot of content that will continue to draw comic book nerds, like myself, back into playing Square Enix’ game. For this reason, I like to think that like an Avenger, I haven’t given up on the game yet. After all, a hero never quits!