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Marvel's Avengers

Platform(s): Google Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal (EU), Crystal Dynamics (US)
Release Date: May 15, 2020

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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Marvel's Avengers'

by Redmond Carolipio on June 28, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Featuring a completely original story, Marvel's Avengers is being designed for gamers worldwide and will be packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise.

Pre-order Marvel's Avengers

Every "Avengers" movie features a scene where all of the heroes come together, unleashing the full might of their individual abilities upon on oncoming throng of enemies. It's the definition of superhero ensemble work, with the camera parsing out equal playing time so we can gaze at each of the heroes showing off his or her method of fighting evil. Done well, it can be inspiring viewing.

It was with that energy that Square Enix presented an early look at Marvel's Avengers, which felt shrouded in secrecy in the days leading up to E3 2019. We knew Square Enix was working on something regarding the Avengers, but we weren't sure what form it was going to take. At E3, we got a piece of our answer: third-person, wide-scale ass-kicking in both single-player and co-op.

The story for the game begins with "A-Day," a celebration of the Avengers opening of a new base in San Francisco, which also includes a flying mini-fortress called the Chimera. Of course, the celebration stops when trouble near the Golden Gate Bridge gets the attention of our heroes. Captain America asks Thor and Iron Man, ever the wisecracker, to check it out. Once they get to the bridge, they find a contingent of "small, angry men with guns" in the words of Thor, who then becomes the vessel of our first look at gameplay.

The ensuing battles on the Golden Gate Bridge — which is starting to come apart at this point — feature Black Widow, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. The skirmishes represent a parade of fundamentally sound, intuitive and engaging third-person action mechanics with some heroic twists unique to each hero. If you've played any of the newer Tomb Raider games, then it's easy to spot how Crystal Dynamics has implemented its style here.

Thor is a classic beat-'em-up experience, with the camera featuring him at the center so you can see him waylaying people with Mjolnir, his iconic hammer. Mighty swings and combos abound, along with his ability to wind up the hammer and hurl it at people. Sometimes, I saw Thor hurl the hammer and "pin" someone against the trailer of a wrecked truck, smash up some more enemies, and then recall it like Kratos did with his ax in God of War.

When the action tosses to Iron Man, we got a visual taste of flight as he pursued enemies to another section of breaking bridge. Now we got to see weapons like tracking missiles, the pulse blasters from Tony's hands, and an epic beam from his chest. The Hulk does everything you'd expect him to, like picking up dudes and using them to beat down other dudes. He hurled people clean off the bridge into infinity and cleared out a group of them with a signature sonic clap.

Black Widow got the boss battle against the Taskmaster, and she perhaps showed off the most diverse set of gameplay traits. After a few interactive cinematics where a timed push of the correct button that flashes on the screen is encouraged, she showed off some dual-wielding pistol action along with her deep library of martial arts close-quarters combat, including a lucha-style takedown. We also saw Captain America for a brief time display his fighting ability, skillfully flinging his shield to bounce off several enemies at once when he wasn't punching everyone away.

Unfortunately, none of this proves to be enough as the Chimera explodes, apparently with Captain America still inside. A huge chunk is taken out of the city, and the tragedy gets pinned on the Avengers, who disband shortly after. However, since the game's tagline is "re-assemble," one can assume that a new threat will emerge and the Avengers will be needed again. I look forward to seeing it. Marvel's Avengers will feature four-player online co-op, and it's slated for a May 15, 2020 release.


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