Last weekend, we at BunnyGaming were lucky enough to be were invited by Bandai Namco Entertainment Asia to try out the Marvel’s Avengers Beta. This early preview was meant to give us our first taste of what to expect in the upcoming series of Beta’s rolling out to fans around the world and towards the final release of the game on September 4th.
The beta itself features everything outlined in the Beta Walkthrough video that was released at the second War Table event with the exception for one level (the city level which will be available starting from the Beta on the 7th). So how did the Beta turn out? Of course, there is still definitely a lot of polish to come but I had a lot more fun with it than I thought I would and that is really something.
The beta started me off on the Golden Gate bridge sequence and serves as a tutorial for players to get familiar with the controls and how each Avenger plays differently than the rest. The story sequences were truncated probably to avoid spoilers for the full release, but it did a good enough job thrusting the player directly into the action.
Starting off with Thor, players are required to work their way towards the middle of the Golden Gate bridge to disable a Stasis Bomb before it detonates. Whether it is bashing foes with Mjolnir, smashing them with Hulks fists, shooting them out of the sky with Iron Man’s pulsar blasts, or subduing them with Black Widow’s twin baton’s the whole sequence feels fluid and exhilarating. If anything, I probably feel that some parts of the sequence feel too busy which might lend to it being sensory overload and not in a good way but it is still an impressive sequence in its own right.
The next two missions focus on Kamala Khan and Hulk teaming up to find Jarvis and the Chimera Heli carrier. I really enjoyed how Kamala is quite a chatty character and her admiration for the Avengers really shows not forgetting some funny moments with the Hulk. It is in these missions as well players will get a first look at the equipment menu and skill tree to improve Kamala.
The Chimera itself is quite expansive and looks to be the main hub for launching missions, housing vendors, and socializing with other characters which sadly was not fully revealed in the Beta but it only made me more curious and excited to see how it looks in the full release. It is after completing the Missing Links mission that the War Table unlocks, and players will be able to choose whether to go on HARM challenges, Warzone or Drop zone missions.
HARM missions are done in the training room with ten waves to overcome in increasing difficulty with three of these HARM missions available in the beta. Warzone missions bring the players to an open-world area with the main objective to complete but if players are diligent enough, they can also complete side objectives to get equipment or resources to level up their power level. Lastly, the Drop zone missions are quick and usually have just one main objective to complete before it ends. Usually, Warzone missions can last up to an hour or more due to how much players explore, and Drop zone missions are between 10-15 minutes. There are six Warzone missions and two Drop zone missions for players to try out in the beta.
I had a lot of fun with the beta but before I get into what I really enjoyed I do need to talk about a couple of things that are not so great. I do understand that this might be an earlier build for players to just have a taste but there are some things that still bothered me, nonetheless.
The reveals have shown that the graphics are good, but I personally felt that for the beta at least, further polishing on the graphical department is necessary. The image quality although impressive in 4K mode still felt a little rough but I do hope that improves. The next thing that immediately bothered me was the impact of hits landing or feedback for the player when attacking enemies is just not strong enough. This is especially a problem as when taking hits from enemies also does not provide a strong sense of danger as sometimes, I do not realize that my life bar is low and get downed far too easily.
Another thing that also needs polishing is the synching animations as sometimes they do not line up properly resulting in hilarious janky moments. This is especially apparent when performing takedown moves (basically filling out a stun bar, then having a prompt to execute them) as your hero might be bashing on an enemy that not where they are supposed to be. There are even weird situations where defeated enemies bodies float in the air.
The A.I also is quite hit and miss. This is due to how they are competent enough to assist you when you are down or when attacking enemies but when it comes to objectives, they mostly just leave it to you. An example of this is wherein one mission the player is tasked with defending a highlighted area but all the time, I found only myself standing there and if I do move away the progress bar will stop.
I am glad to share that I found everything else to be quite an enjoyable experience. Starting with the heroes themselves, I was initially afraid that they would probably just play out almost similar, but Crystal Dynamics really put a lot of effort into making each hero unique. Even though it feels like they do not have traditional roles such as Tank, Support, or Damage dealer, each hero feels like they have a hybrid build that is able to fulfill these roles naturally. Of course, I could be wrong when the final game rolls out with the complete skill tree as well as higher-tier equipment being available that the heroes do grow into a more dominant role.
Each hero has three skills to activate with two normal skills and one ultimate which really can turn the tide of battles like the Hulk’s Thunderclap that can clear waves of enemies or Iron man calling down the Hulk buster. I personally feel there might be more skills and ultimates to unlock and if so it really is going to be incredibly awesome if it’s true. Each hero also has a sub-skill that is toggled with the R2 button like in the case of the Hulk holding down the R2 button will drain his rage meter which will boost his damage and heal him at the same time.
I also really like how when it comes to the equipment there were some interesting perks and bonuses to enhance the playstyle for characters with modifiers akin to elemental damage. For example, utilizing equipment with Pym Particles can shrink enemies, they can be frozen, burned, and etc. Although during the demo I rarely experienced this due to how on the normal difficulty enemies die quite fast with the exception for tougher ones these elemental modifiers affected me more than the enemies. It would be interesting to see how it all works in the full game.
Speaking of enemies, I also was incredibly surprised how much variety was introduced in the demo itself with both human and robotic enemies having multiple versions to battle. At first, I wasn’t really feeling it because in early instances the enemies were easy to defeat and the variety was little but the more I leveled up and played the game the more variety opened up to me and even provided a challenge on higher power levels. If this was intentional, I do think that it is a brilliant move and really encourages the player to keep raising their power levels to bring on harder enemy types to battle.
I quite liked how different Warzone and Drop zone missions are as well. Warzone missions gives players the option to complete side activities to get more loot and exploration will reward the curious. Just a tip, explore everything and you might even get a chance to unlock a secret mission that gives players an even bigger Warzone map with more activities and better equipment. Unlocking that secret mission just sealed the deal on how much I am looking forward to the full game. I also really appreciated how Drop zone missions can be completed fast ranging from 10-15-minute missions that are great for quick sessions.
I was also impressed with how even playing with other players there were very minimal latency issues that is was barely noticeable. Of course, the game will be put to the test with more players and I am going to be along the ride to see how much gets improved until the final game.
To be completely honest even though this game was on my radar I was not really expecting too much from it. But after getting the opportunity to dive in and really experience the beta even with the rough edges I really cannot wait to get my hands on the full release. The game is incredibly fun to play solo and even more fun to play with friends. I absolutely loved how unique each hero was and I truly cannot wait to just see more and more of this game and to get my hands on the full experience. We still have more missions and even raids to learn about so the thought of battling the amazing villains in Marvel’s history is just going to be epic! I really do feel that Marvel’s Avengers has the potential to be a surprise hit of the year.