Marvel's Avengers game will undoubtedly be one of the biggest releases in 2020. It's a collaboration between two powerhouses in Marvel, the de facto juggernaut of the superhero genre, and Square Enix, a publisher with a pedigree that extends beyond just the iconic Final Fantasy series and into the annals of foundational gaming history. That's before factoring in the studios that have been hard at work on the project in Crystal Dynamics, the team behind the Tomb Raider reboot, and Eidos Montreal, most famously the developer of Deus Ex. To say that the game will launch with an Avengers-like combination of top tier talent in the industry would be less hyperbole and more a simple observation of fact: its really that big.
With the Avengers as important as they've ever been in multimedia, it's also the perfect time for a superhero game to make waves both critically and financially. Fans want more of Iron-Man and Thor, even if it's on a different platform. The question, however, is whether or not Marvel's Avengers game will be able to capitalize on that after the developer chose to create its own Marvel universe and interpretation of the characters. They're different from their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts in noticeable ways, and that fact might put some fans who are only familiar through the films off Square Enix's take on their favorites.
Luckily, however, it appears that Marvel's Avengers game will be an exellent superhero title regardless of context, and it's a brilliant manifestation of the Avengers license on top of that. In a recent gameplay showcase at E3 2019, Screen Rant was able to view an extended representative of the game's earliest moments that take place on A-Day, the fictional holiday that begins the traumatic events that lead to the team disbanding. Without having gone hands-on, it's impossible to say this conclusively, but by appearances only, Marvel's Avengers game looks like the perfect blend of the best elements of past superhero titles with the panache only an electrifying representation of the Avengers team can bring.
Marvel's Avengers Game Has Spider-Man PS4 Cinematic Prowess
The first thing that stood out during the demo is the same thing that has been a major part of the game's PR marketing machine: a focus on cinematic storytelling. There's a reason for that, though. As far as over-the-top action titles go, this has to be one of the very best at creating a big movie feel from word one, and the game felt like watching a movie almost entirely throughout. Though visual cues exist for combat and there are quick-time events that keep players on their toes, the smoothness with which the game transitions between combat and cinematics is, at times, borderline unbelievable.
During the demo, we watched the Hulk transition from falling out of an airplane and transforming into some rowdy combat in seconds, never really disrupting the flow of the game. Black Widow was the real star of this example, however, engaging Taskmaster in a lengthy aerial battle that saw punches exchanged by the player all while careening around a rapidly decaying bridge. Spider-Man on PS4 was such a success in large part due to its ability to blend combat in with its breath-taking aesthetic that paid close attention to the things that made people fans of the webslinger. In Marvel's Avengers, that decision is taken to its next logical and technological step, and if the rest of the game looks like the demo, it will never stop feeling like a motion picture on top of a game. While there were some visual elements that needed work, they were most texture-based, and the game is likely in a very early build. The important stuff shone, and that's what mattered.
Marvel's Avengers Punches Like An Arkham Knight
The other most noticeable element present in the demo was the way combat appeared to feel in Marvel's Avengers. That's not something we say lightly—it's a slippery slope to begin describing gameplay elements' feel based on what's seen visually rather than experienced through play. There's another game series that has the same kind of feel, though: the Batman: Arkham series. In that game, one of the most satisfying gameplay designs is simply how Batman's punches feel when they connect with enemies, a mixture of sensations that feels visceral.
In Marvel's Avengers, that same sense is present, even when you're not playing yourself. Watching Black Widow's fistfight or Thor attempting to clear a bridge of baddies wielding his mighty Mjolnir is satisfying in a way that's tough to describe without experiencing while watching the game. It's the way enemies register hits, the sound effects of the thumping of a fist or the clang of a hammer on metal, that really center the player in what's being presented within the game.
Of course, the game also chains attacks together in a way that's similar to Batman: Arkham, too, with a bit less emphasis on dramatic poses and pauses in between strikes. Each character has their own way of dealing with a situation, but the unifying factor in those differences is that they all appear to feel weighty.
Overall, what we've seen from Marvel's Avengers game make it one of the most exciting superhero titles ever—not to mention one of the most exciting games that releases in the next twelve months. It's not the only title that's impressed, however. Be sure to check out our E3 2019 hub for more information on what's happening on the show floor at the biggest gaming event of the year.