Avengers: Damage Control is an MCU fan's dream come true, but fighting alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes isn't all it's cracked-up to be when the suits you're using feel more like tests.
Avengers: Damage Control is the latest adventure from Marvel's Earth Mightiest Heroes, and it sees the superhero team take on Ultron once again. Following Loki's invasion of Earth with the Chitauri in the Battle of New York, the Avengers reassembled to defeat Ultron - artificial intelligence designed as a peacekeeping program by Tony Stark when he used the Mind Stone from Loki's scepter as a technological foundation - in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.
At the time, they thought they defeated Ultron for good, but Doctor Strange knew differently. And so, the Avengers have reassembled once again in Avengers: Damage Control to bring down the android once and for all. Avengers: Damage Control is a brand-new virtual reality experience developed in partnership between Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm's ILMxLAB - and it'll be available for a limited time at select Void VR locations. Given the fact that the game comes from - and was approved by - Marvel Studios, it's absolutely canon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Taking place after the events of Avengers: Endgame - after Hulk brought back everyone that disintegrated in the snap during Avengers: Infinity War and Iron Man subsequently erased Thanos and his army from existence - Avengers: Damage Control unites the remaining Avengers team members to take down Ultron after the android hacks into and attacks a Damage Control facility in Los Angeles. (Damage Control was fully introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming; it was a joint venture between Stark Industries and the U.S. government to clean up and maintain battle sites.)
The Avengers: Damage Control VR experience begins with players at a Wakandan outreach center being introduced by Shuri (with Letitia Wright reprising her Black Panther role) to Wakanda's new Emergency Response Suits; these are suits that have been created by Shuri by blending Wakandan and Stark technology. So players can use the same shields that Wakandans use when they are attacked by Thanos in Infinity War while also emitting blasts similar to Iron Man's armor, among other things. Of course, since this is a game, players can also utilize an ultimate ability, but that's something that's used only sparingly and towards the end.
At one point during the introduction, Ultron attempts to hack into the Wakandan outreach center. Players are then put into the Emergency Response Suits to defend the facility before Doctor Strange swoops in and defeats the rest of Ultron's legion. He then takes you to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York via a portal and gets you caught up on the major events that have transpired in the MCU recently, like Thanos' snap. After that, players are sent to the Damage Control facility to protect it and defeat Ultron for good.
It's clear that the highlight of Avengers: Damage Control is that MCU fans can experience what it's like to be a part of the franchise and fight alongside the Avengers. Of course, the best way to do that is by having your own heavily armored suit similar to Black Panther and Iron Man. Whether the ERS are more Wakandan or more Stark is unclear, but the suit - and the experience, for that matter - gets the job done. It's an engaging, intuitive, and boundary-pushing experience, one that falls in line with other VR experiences around the world. But the crux of it all is its ties to the MCU.
From a pure gameplay standpoint, Avengers: Damage Control is rather rudimentary and straight-forward, but that can be attributed to the fact that it's an experience designed to move players through a linear narrative, not provide too much freedom to justify the ERS' use. If people are promised a brand-new armored suit that combines Wakandan and Stark technology, it should feel like the most powerful suit on the planet, but instead, the inclusion of just the two basic abilities - the shield and blasts (with the only real advancement being using two shields or two blasts) - is disappointing. It's more of a test suit, which is precisely what Shuri sees this mission as.
Story-wise, Avengers: Damage Control presents a unique look into the MCU after Avengers: Endgame, and how the previously disconnected corners of the franchise - Ant-Man and Wasp fighting their own battles, Wakanda being removed from the world, and Doctor Strange protecting the world from mystical adversaries alongside only the Masters of the Mystic Arts - come together in a truly cohesive way for the first time, naturally. With Spider-Man and other superheroes in the mix, Avengers: Damage Control is the first real look at the new team post-Endgame.
Overall, Avengers: Damage Control is a fun experience and a fan's dream come true. You can essentially fight like Iron Man alongside the rest of the Avengers, but choosing Ultron as the villain, especially when other villains were certainly on the table, feels like a safe decision. It's more about familiarity than being daring. And whether or not the VR experience has consequences for the rest of the MCU remains to be seen, but it is supposed to be canon. So while it has its disappointments, Avengers: Damage Control does exactly what it needs to do to make you feel like an Avenger - but perhaps not much more.
Screen Rant had the opportunity to try out Avengers: Damage Control at the Disney Accelerator building in Los Angeles on October 10.