‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Journal: Barebones Endgame, or a True Initative?
Anyone who follows me on Twitter might have noticed that I’ve been rather vocal about Square-Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers. In general, the game has some major flaws. There is no way to deny that. Games as a Service tend to have rough starts. There are different levels of issues, but it has been there since even before Destiny. Some of these games needed a year or even longer before they hit their true stride. So, I tried to spend some time after finishing the campaign to see what more is there to this game. You can check out my thoughts on the campaign by clicking here. It’s a heartfelt story that offers a unique perspective on our favorite heroes. I probably played around 14 hours to finish it. It’s the same campaign length I had with Batman: Arkham Origins back in the day. Now, it was time for the endgame content. Here we can see if the game truly holds up for the long-time commitment.
An Enjoyable Aftermath
One thing the game handled well is that the story continues. While cutscenes are now more sparse than before, I was surprised to get small moments throughout the hero-specific missions. Thor’s mission with a fake was quite the highlight as A.I.M. soldiers were defecting. Sadly, they didn’t have any unique designs but that could still come once we return to the Woken storyline. I was a bit surprised that Kamala and Iron Man didn’t have any unique mission types. Still, my main focus was to fulfill the various fraction missions to get my hands on the Darkhold. Yes, the evil book that was featured in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a big reward once you finish a major mission chain focused on A.I.M.s cloning technology teased at the end of the campaign.
I think this part is done well. You have missions that grant you additional gear which lets you level up accordingly. I was having fun as I unlocked a variety of new missions that weren’t available before. After some time you do start to notice a trend. These missions start to reuse assets frequently. Plus, the Hive mission becomes the main focus. The 1.3 patch just added a new mission type that I will get to later. The issue is that with their strong focus on A.I.M. there aren’t any surprises after you finish the story. There’s no bonus villain here. You’ll revisit a lot of the same places as you try to grind for gear.
A Questionable Grind
The grind is a selling point of looter games. You receive gear with unique perks. At first, you’ll focus mainly on the power level. It isn’t until you hit 130 that you start caring about stats. This aspect is a lot of fun. It made me think about my character customization. Yes, gears don’t change anything visually but they can have their perks. So, why not grind for gear that lets Thor freeze his enemies as he hits them. You can even add a Jotunheim ability to his heroics, so you can create your custom version of Thor. I am still building up the character but am excited to play around with his abilities and gear. There is a sense of accomplishment that makes the character your version. Some have even started giving their builds unique names.
The issue is that the best gear is not easy to get. It does make sense. You don’t want players to finish the game too fast. The problem is that most of the perks aren’t that unique. The new Mega Hive adds a single-player experience to grind for them. It’s a “Last Man Standing” mission. Originally, it was just going to be one ongoing level. They split it up so you can spread it out throughout the week. Now, you aren’t forced to finish it in one sitting. The only issue is, it doesn’t change anything. It’s the same assets as before. Crystal Dynamics focused on the challenge of it. That is fine but the reward doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best gear. Of course, this created more friction with players. There is a lack of reward. It also doesn’t include the multiplayer aspect that many play it for. The game has to walk this tightrope. As such, it should’ve at least offered a multiplayer variation. We are going to receive A.I.M. Secret Base missions that will be multiplayer-focused. I like that they are adding single-player options in the endgame. Just think they should’ve focused on multiplayer first.
A Barebones Endgame
Does this break the game? No, not at all. It just hampers the experience as you wait for the next real content drop. I think a general issue is the bugs that the developers are actively working on. Yes, they shouldn’t have been around when it launched. In reality, this is the GaaS standard that sadly perpetuates throughout this industry. No one is defending it but we also can’t change it now. I do believe that Crystal Dynamics has been hard at work. They have moments of more active conversation but they do show that they care. People mocked their reveal of 1,000 bugs being fixed but I appreciate the honesty. Most games have bugs that are hidden and get patched out throughout their life cycle. World of Warcraft, Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV Online, and many more repeat these issues. It wasn’t until the A Realm Reborn update that FF XIV was truly playable and got where it is now. It’s due to their dependence on having an active online connection that creates unique bugs that sadly pop up after launch. I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of these developers.
I still firmly believe in the game’s potential. Yes, it’s a rough start but it sadly is kind of the norm with GaaS. The gameplay is a lot of fun. Each character offers something unique. I love that the game is also offering alternatives for single-player. It was the gear aspect that was handled wrong and should be fixed. I’ve probably put in well over 100 hours so I got my money’s worth from the base game. I would still recommend it to anyone interested. If you’re not in a rush to play it just wait until more content is added and bugs are fixed. Right now, it is just very minimal once you reach a certain threshold. It is okay to play it and take breaks between sessions. The reason I started this as a journal is that more is on the way. It keeps evolving and that is an exciting prospect. Now, I just cannot wait to try out the new Secret Base and Kate Bishop once she arrives next month.