Developer Crystal Dynamics has made it clear that Marvel's Avengers must become a living universe. With a cooperative multiplayer mode that is constantly updated with new content, Marvel’s Avengers should last for years. The story mode intended as an introduction and the cooperative multiplayer are qualitatively far apart. It's surprising that the "single player mode" is the signed winner.

The narrative part of Marvel’s Avengers knows how to perfectly respond to the inner Marvel fan by not putting someone like Captain America or Iron Man at the center, but rather the young superhero-in-the-cap Kamala Khan. The fantasy trip for Marvel fans kicks off right when Kamala enters Avengers Day, sort of an open-air Marvel convention. The biggest difference is that the visitors do not marvel at cosplayers, but at the real superheroes in the flesh. If the future Ms. Marvel suddenly bumps into Thor, she’s not the only one who squeaks with enthusiasm.

However, that euphoria is short-lived. The Avengers giant airship goes up in flames after an attack. The nasty stuff that is released during this process turns Kamala into the very flexible Ms. Marvel. Then a classic origins story unfolds, in which Kamala not only discovers her own super powers, but also brings the fallen Avengers back together.

Although the story does not really surprise, it is a succession of fan material. In addition to Kamala, you regularly get the other Avengers under your control. They all have roughly the same type of attacks, such as a light and a heavy attack and a remote attack. But where Iron Man, for example, shoots with his repulsors, Captain America throws his shield , Thor with his hammer and The Hulk just pulls a fresh piece of debris from the ground towards the ill-fated enemy.

The unambiguous controls allow you to switch effortlessly between the different heroes, but you can also take the time to master a specific superhero. The story mode is not nearly enough to unlock all skills for the different heroes. This game is made to last much longer. The multiplayer DNA is deeply rooted in Marvel’s Avengers and the narrative part cannot be separated from the cooperative battles.

For example, during the “single player” you will be presented with missions several times that you can play with multiple players. If no partners are found through matchmaking, computer-controlled heroes fill in the blanks. These missions are immediately out of tune, the environments stand out against the locations you play through on your own, objectives are generic and the interaction between the Avengers lacks the credible touch that Kamala and Bruce Banner put on the stage in the beginning.

It is a shame that it has been decided to put so much emphasis on multiplayer, because at the moment there is a lot of fun to be had in Marvel’s Avengers, especially as a single player game.
That line continues unabated once you launch Avengers Initiative: the real multiplayer part of the game. This is set after the campaign, when the world is still plagued by various threats and the Avengers are needed everywhere to quell conflict. Some missions are done in minutes, others take considerably longer, but none of the online activities really surpass the single player.

Interiors are eagerly reused and usually have the ambiance of a dental practice. Usually the ultimate goal is to smash a few generators, defend a few checkpoints, or protect a few S.H.I.E.L.D agents. In addition, you should of course punch everyone you meet in the face, because that is what Marvel’s Avengers is all about: fight and fight, preferably as spectacular as possible.

Sometimes that results in unadulterated superhero fun, sometimes the chaos simply becomes too much. When vibranium shields, divine hammers, green fists, bullets, lasers, debris, robot parts and outstretched limbs fill the screen, it’s not just your eyes that struggle to keep up with the chaos.

Nevertheless, there is enough in the barrel for any superhero. In addition to the missions and routine gear upgrades, there are also daily and weekly challenges that earn you points as part of the Hero Challenge Cards. You can complete those challenges anywhere. In a story mission, online, on your own: everything counts. This way you can unlock new costumes, emotes and name tags per character. The game only gets a bit of an appearance because you can also unlock everything in the Challenge Cards with real money.

If the online activities were really cool and you enjoyed playing them over and over again, that was until then. But now that the missions are also repeated after a short while, you have to grind a lot to complete the Challenge Card and thus unlock all costumes.

Marvel’s Avengers really does need some work to break through online. In addition to the fact that the missions get boring relatively quickly, the game is not entirely perfect technically. Sometimes you fall through the ground, enemies end up in closed environments and there are quite a few graphical oddities in the game. Crystal Dynamics will add new characters in the coming period, including Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, Black Panther and, exclusively on the PlayStation, Spider-Man. That will only make Marvel’s Avengers attractive to more people, as playing as your favorite Marvel hero is the game’s biggest draw.

The fighting system is right, the powers are right, the balance is right: every superhero is fun to play with. The heroes’ designs are debatable, but the unlockable costumes solve that problem for most people. It is a shame that it has been decided to put so much emphasis on multiplayer, because at the moment there is a lot of fun to be had in Marvel’s Avengers, especially as a single player game. The multiplayer is now on level The Incredible Hulk (2008). Let’s hope it doesn’t take Crystal Dynamics eleven years to reach level of Endgame.



+ the “single player” turns out to be surprisingly good
+ Great sound and special effects
+ Every superhero is well put together with their own moves and custom costumes.

– Overly cluttered War Table
– Multiplayer recycles content
– Various technical issues