Unveiled during the 2016 Game Awards, it wasn’t until E3 2019 that we actually got a real glimpse at what Crystal Dynamics’ take on The Avengers would look like, and even after Square Enix’s conference, save for a behind-closed-doors demo that we weren’t invited in, not many people knew how it played. Now we do.
We were invited to the Marvel Games panel at Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con, and Marvel’s The Avengers took front and center. We already knew that Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, Thor, Bruce Banner, and Steve Rogers would all play huge parts, but aside from what looked like a simplistic story and some promised multiplayer component, nobody knew anything else.
During the Hall H panel, the developers showed an updated version of their behind-closed-doors demo showcasing gameplay with Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Captain America. The gameplay styles of Thor and Iron Man were what had most of my attention, simply because you could get an idea of how the game plays depending on these two the most.
Thor is a bit of a challenge, especially after the crazy amount of success that God of War had. One of the best feelings in that game was calling back the Leviathan Axe with the Triangle button. It felt like the way it would feel when Thor called upon Mjolnir. Now I can’t say for certain because I wasn’t part of the E3 demonstration, but nothing was talked about amongst our peers regarding that, so when we saw that Thor can fight both with and without Mjolnir it definitely had my attention. Now that we know that Mjolnir can be used in such a way, there isn’t much of a concern about Thor’s gameplay.
Next up was Iron Man. Obviously, thanks to his suit, he has to be as close to indestructible as possible, but the main feature that had everyone’s attention was the flying. The gameplay showed what was pretty much an on-rails Star Fox experience complete with some barrel rolls, so that in addition with his projectiles left a lot to be excited about.
Banner played the way you think he would play. It was mostly about the Hulk-smash. Much like in the first Avengers movie, Hulk has the ability to use humans as weapons and doing things like causing earthquakes only made him more gruesome. He also seemed to have quite a knack for parkour, running along the walls of buses and concrete causing oblivion.
Black Widow was about as video game-y as anybody can be. Obviously she has no powers, so it’s really all up to her absolutely insane athleticism. In addition to the parkour she did in her gameplay segment, she seemed more apt to hand-to-hand combat than anybody we saw in the demo. During a what looked like a boss fight against Taskmaster, she even had stealth camouflage and quite the gunslinging ability with a pistol in each hand. Black Widow looked like a lot of fun.
And last but certainly not least, we had Captain America who excels in hand-to-hand combat, defense, and an uncanny ability to use his vibranium shield to wreak havoc on enemies.
As a fan of these heroes in addition to playing last year’s masterpieces in Spider-Man and God of War, to say expectations are high for Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers is an understatement. At the very least, I was looking forward to each of these heroes playing completely differently, and that’s exactly what I saw in this demo. The developers even promised that the game can be played via multiplayer with the ability to customize your heroes however way you want using their skill trees, and while it still looked like a work in progress, this is definitely a game to look out for.
My interest in this game after E3 was rather low, but after what we saw at San Diego Comic-Con, there’s reason to be excited again.