So, some brand new footage of the Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics Avengers game came out the other day. With only 3 months left until its release, the footage was eyebrow-raising, to say the least. I’ve always been mixed with how the game looked when they unveiled it for the first time sometime back and yesterday’s footage only reinforced those feelings a hundredfold. Check it out.
This is a constant gripe I’ve had with the game but it’s hard not to ignore how derivative the flat aesthetic and character interpretations are to their MCU counterparts; Thor sounds exactly like Chris Hemsworth, Cap’s suit looks like one of Ryan Meinerding‘s rejected designs for the films, Bruce looks like a skinnier version of Mark Ruffalo, Tony is quip city (it’s annoying how the comics have also riffed on RDJ’s take since 2008). Because the visual development behind the MCU has spoiled us in reinterpreting classic characters for over 10 years to the point where the interpretations are synonymous to its comic counterparts, when a video game like this follows the film’s aesthetics, it feels like a knock-off to cash in with the films. The visuals and overall look of the world seems more inspired by the MCU than the comics.
The Spider-Man game did a fantastic job being its own thing. They completely ignored what was happening in any of the live-action takes (they didn’t base Peter off of Tobey, Andrew, or Tom). They went bold with the costume designs and gave us something we’ve never seen on the characters. It’s mindblowing to me that they managed to reinvent the classic red and blue suit by adding a white motif. That suit is probably the best Spider-Man costume variation in years, games and comics considered. For Avengers, I would have preferred if they just fully stylized the game’s aesthetic to make it stand-out.
Lastly, it’s just so odd to see footage so late in the development process have blatant frame issues. Nearly every sequence showcased in the game has this jittery laggy effect especially once the action starts coming in. Fortunately, this is a very fixable tech problem unlike the aesthetics and visual direction, which are both locked into the game.
But it’s all not whining for me. There’s a lot that makes me super excited to play this game.
Marvel IP has always been poorly represented in this generation of gaming. Back in my heyday of gaming 15 years ago, Marvel was on fire with X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Hulk: Incredible Destruction, and of course, Spider-Man 2. But once the next generation consoles started coming in, the great games just fizzled out. Just as the MCU was gaining steam, the films were ironically supplemented with the blandest videogame tie-ins. So the mere fact that we’re getting a AAA game of this scale is already a win in my book.
The Thor footage they showed this week looks super fun. I know a lot of people find these kinds of gameplay mechanics super grindy but I love the grind and wouldn’t mind spending hours playing Thor and wrecking shit. The Mjolnir targeting system is just *chef’s kiss*. The combo system seems easier to grasp compared to the surprisingly complex mechanics of the Spider-Man game. I am super curious how smooth the AI system is going to be. The combat looks similar to that of Final Fantasy 15 where you’re in control of one character and have 3 AI teammates assisting you. Because you weren’t in full control of the other characters, the Final Fantasy 15 combat became so messy at times that it was more frustrating than fun.
The customization looks immersive as hell. I can already imagine spending hours just figuring out which skill to build, what mods and perks to pick, and what costumes to use. The idea that some classic skins are tied to classic missions sounds exciting. Even though I dislike the game’s flat realistic aesthetic so much, I do respect the fact that they’re incorporating some comic designs into the game. The game introducing the Helicarrier as a base you can fully explore and meet all kinds of characters in sounds super fun. Of course, props to them for giving the spotlight to Kamala Khan.
Lastly, as a sucker for worldbuilding, the story they’ve got so far has me piqued. Plus points to them for giving props to AIM as the organizational big bad and for beating the MCU to M.O.D.O.K.