Marvel’s Avengers (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 29.03.2021

Review for Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox One

Square Enix may has forsaken Adam Jensen for a piece of the Marvel pie, and it savagely backfired. Unfortunately for the publisher, gamers at large were just not keen on their take on the 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes.' When Marvel's Avengers came out, it was when the movies had hit a peak with Endgame, and fans were ready to move on. Going to an off-brand version of the characters that they have grown attached to for a decade was a tone-deaf manoeuvre on Square Enix's part. Now that the dust has settled, was Marvel's Avengers as bad as everyone thought it was?

Square Enix put many of their western studio divisions to work on Marvel's Avengers. Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and several others combined their efforts like the heroes of the comics in an attempt to make something that could please everyone. It is too bad that that end product is so agonizingly bland and soulless that it pleases nobody. Where did it all go wrong? For starters, this is a blur of bad choices. At its core, it's a third-person action title, with some light, character-building, RPG elements. This would be fine on its own, but a genius in a high position mandated that there must be a loot system and a grind gameplay cycle that can keep player retention high.

This model of design wipes all enjoyment from any game, since it turns a fun diversion into a tedious job. The things that can be done stop having meaning, and the only objectives that matter is to endlessly grind for more currencies, because the balance is stacked against the player. Marvel's Avengers's tacked-on looting is tied to the endless gear that each Avenger can equip. Everyone gets their own unique accoutrements, so nothing can be shared. Finding a new piece of equipment instils a sense of dread of having to stop everything to open up the menu to examine the stats. Most of the time it is a piece of junk, or something that requires a lot of components to upgrade it to be useful. Components can be found throughout the game, but, as is usually the case with these kinds of looters, the balance is always stacked against the user. This is designed this way to nudge poor saps into spending real hard earned currency into buying some from Square Enix.

Screenshot for Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox One

There are about ten currencies to keep track of in here. Each of these has a purpose, and can only be used for certain things. This becomes exhausting and tiresome real fast - especially since there is no way to trade some Units for some much needed Fragments. Some currencies are used for buying cosmetics like alternate super moves or costumes, and would be useful if there was an option to sell it for something that is more practical. It gets very confusing to have to deal with all the different values, and the game even has the audacity to have in-game NPCs try to sales pitch these shenanigans.

Ignoring the constant barrage of vendor trash flowing into the cumbersome inventory screens will show that Marvel's Avengers is a very mediocre action game. The gameplay might have been impressive as a PlayStation 3 launch title, but this is a late 8th Gen console release. The action is like a mobile game played with buttons. There is so little effort required by the player, since so much of the nuances of the action are automated, and designed to make one feel skilled, as opposed to requiring from players to be so. There is no need for precision or timing whatsoever.

Screenshot for Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox One

Square Enix clearly poured huge amounts of money into this as seen with the visually arresting scripted sequences, and high quality assets seen in every shot possible. Marvel's Avengers has issues, but its visuals and presentation are not among them. This was a last gen product that really pushed a lot of effects in vast, high density environments, and featured playable characters that were very mobile. Two of the heroes were capable of flying at high speeds, and the game's engine does an admirable job at streaming the many detailed assets when playing on an Xbox Series S. The ninth generation consoles work wonders on the frame rate too. This admirably tried to aim for 60FPS on 8th gen consoles, but was unable to hit that mark consistently. The specs of a the Xbox Series S budget console is enough to keep the frame rate locked at a clean 60, and also keep load times very fast.

This is a pretty demanding title, with destructible elements festooned all over the environments, and things that explode with lots of sparks, smoke, and particles billowing over into the battlefields. It is no wonder why 8th gen consoles failed to run this smoothly. At launch, this was in a rough state - prone to all kinds of bugs and glitches that would occur in menus or during missions; sometimes rendering some objectives impossible. Thankfully, in the time since launch, the developers issued updates to ensure a much smoother experience. It is too bad that the balance for the ridiculous currencies is still outrageous. The multiplayer modes post-launch have not seen much action as of late. The community was anaemic at its peak, and months later it has become a wasteland. The only souls giving it any attention are the developers themselves who are obligated to continue the support with new playable characters and missions that nobody will ever play.

Screenshot for Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox One

If there was any reason to pick up Marvel's Avengers, it would be for its mildly entertaining story mode. As mentioned earlier, the entire experience is packed with legitimate impressive spectacle. The story is as standard Marvel fare as can be with Joss Whedon-esque flippant dialogue that makes the skin crawl. The villain is a borderline parody of the stereotypical Marvel bad guy, who is ultimately undermined by a much weaker written, last-minute antagonist. What makes any of the story work is the effort put into having a newcomer join the Avengers, by trying to get them to re-join after breaking up.

Kamala Khan is supposed to be an endearing and likeable protagonist. She is like a Dr. Fantastic knock-off, but without the genius intellect. Instead of doing cool stretchy stuff, the best she can come up with is to make her hands comically bigger. While her voice actress is very good, and does the best she can with the material given to her, Khan is mind-bogglingly sloppily written. There are many scenes of her talking to herself with really embarrassing, expository dialogue. She will almost always say the most obvious things, spelling it out for the dunce cap-wearing players who are unable to understand simple context. Her powers are also played for drama, but the silliness of seeing her abilities in action are unintentionally hilarious.

Screenshot for Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Now that Marvel's Avengers is dirt cheap, it might be worth a play for the impressive action sequences and impressive visuals. Maybe with enough people picking it up at a much more agreeable price, it might inject the tedious co-op modes. It certainly did not deserve the utter disdain it received, and was at best just a corporate, tone-deaf project that nobody wanted. It is rotten with executive sleaze for sure, and the game can feel like work a lot of the time due to the grind, but there is an ok experience in this somewhere. It is buried beneath all the obnoxious writing, grinding, and generic design.

Developer

Crystal Dynamics

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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