The wait is over and those of us who have pre-ordered Marvel’s Avengers have finally gotten a small glimpse of what the game has to offer. While there have been some shining moments of glory to satisfy our superhero power fantasy, they don’t come without their pitfalls. After 15 hours with this past weekend’s play session, there are some distinct highs and lows to point out for those interested in the upcoming open Beta.
So Many Flavors, But Just a Taste
The Avengers Beta starts you off in the game’s first mission that replays the events of A-Day. In this mission, you get to sample five of the Avengers launch day heroes: Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Captain America. Even though each hero’s playable section is super short and somewhat restricted, it does give a general idea as to how that hero will play in the full game. The whole mission is basically a tutorial for traversal, attacks, and abilities capped off with a boss fight that happens to be another tutorial of the game’s evasion system. This all said, I didn’t find anything to be out of place and it left me wanting to play more of the other heroes I wouldn’t have an opportunity to play later on.
The beta then leads you on to a couple of missions where Kamala Khan and Bruce Banner/Hulk are searching for the former Avengers so they can reassemble them. Throughout the missions, you will learn about the game’s puzzles and ways the game builds its universe through points of interest and lore. While these couple of missions are focused on Ms. Marvel and Hulk, once completed, Iron Man and Black Widow will be available to use in a handful of missions showcasing a few different game modes Avengers has to offer.
Avengers does do a very good job of making each hero feel unique and diverse. Much to my surprise, I was thoroughly impressed with each character’s design. Each hero has a light and heavy melee as well as ranged attacks to group with their assault, support, and ultimate abilities. Initially, I thought the more melee-focused heroes, like Ms. Marvel and The Hulk, would play a bit too “spammy” like a retro beat-em-up game, but the intricacies of adding ranged attacks and abilities into your combos made it quite the enjoyable experience.
Every Hero Has Their Weakness
I logged a lot of time into Marvel’s Avengers this weekend and it left me wanting more. That said, I can not overlook some of the things that didn’t shine so brightly. First, grouping up was very difficult. After last weekend’s exclusive beta on PS4, you’d think there would have been better communication of when you could group with friends. Once you completed the “Beta Campaign” and gained access to Iron Man and Black Widow, you could group with friends more freely. Once this became known we had fewer issues, but this wasn’t before we had multiple instances of dropping from games and/or the game crashing.
Speaking of crashing, I had many instances where the game crashed on PC. I spent 2/3 of my time in the beta while live on Facebook and Twitch so that could likely be a contributing factor, but I also had several crashes on Friday while just checking out the game with some friends. This all said the game in its current state is not well optimized. I was hitting 100% usage on my CPU at times and running much higher memory usage than most games I’ve played before. While my current PC setup exceeds the recommended settings for the beta, usually this spec is often underestimated. Hopefully, optimization has been a priority for launch and will improve dramatically come September.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about performance in general. On the best days for me, I had a pretty fluid 1080p at 60 FPS on PC, but this was not consistent. I also read reports of PS4 Pro users dropping below 60 frames in performance mode. While some of these things can be expected in a beta, I do hope to see this improved as well.
After a good amount of time invested, I personally feel like Marvel’s Avengers has a lot of things needed to be a fan favorite and keep many players engaged for a long time. This doesn’t go without a shortlist of things Crystal Dynamics needs to improve before launch. With those few things aside, I would recommend anyone who’s somewhat interested in checking this game out to do so this coming weekend for their Open Beta on all platforms. There are few games out right now that have given the power fantasy that Avengers can provide with the rich history and lore backed by many years of Marvel’s legacy.