Posted August 5, 2020 by David Latham in Feature

Marvel’s Avengers Beta Hands-On Impressions

The Marvel’s Avengers beta is about to begin on PlayStation 4, but we’ve been lucky enough to jump into a private beta over the past few days to find out what exactly is involved in Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ new superhero game.

Jumping straight into the action, the Marvel’s Avengers beta starts with the A-Day mission that we all remember from the E3 2019 gameplay presentation. You play as four different Avengers as you work your way across the Golden Gate Bridge defeating bad guys and saving civilians. This mission was pretty much as we expected, with a large part of it spent on introducing the various gameplay mechanics such as the basic attacks and movement. Following the A-Day mission, we were thrown in to a couple of other story missions that we won’t spoil, but we will say they were very entertaining and typical of the Avengers style that we’ve come to enjoy over the past decade from Hollywood.

Marvel's Avengers Beta

It seems Marvel’s Avengers will focus around Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel character development as she transitions from expo fan to superhero while maintaining a crush on literally every Avenger. Upon completing the story content in the Marvel’s Avengers beta, you unlock Ms. Marvel and The Hulk as playable characters which can then be used for various missions via the war table. Yep, that’s right, you’re on the Avengers Helicarrier. You’re even given your own room and get to chat with Nick Fury.

The main menu currently has three options: Play, News and Marketplace. The news option will presumably provide you with the latest information about new content, missions and how to get exclusive rewards, while the marketplace is where you spend some of your virtual currency on things like outfits, emotes and nameplates. These items vary in rarity and are only available for a limited time. Some more information will probably come out regarding whether these vanity items are on a rotation or if some will disappear forever, but we expect most items will appear regularly.

The Play option is obviously where you’ll spend most of your time however, and if you’ve completed the story missions available in the beta then it will launch you straight into the Helicarrier where you can choose missions via the war table as mentioned. There are a handful of missions that you can complete and repeat in the beta, all based around North America but you can also rotate the map around the entire globe which we thought was pretty cool as we hoped for some missions to appear down under!

Marvel's Avengers Beta Hands-On 07

Getting into the gameplay though, each character has light and heavy attacks by mashing square or triangle, while X was jump and circle was dodge. Marvel’s Avengers has very typical combat and controls making it accessible for all types of gamers. Defeating enemies will raise your combat meter allowing you to use your special abilities by pushing the trigger buttons. These special abilities vary depending on which superhero you use, and can also be upgrade when you level up.

Character progression is limited to level 15 in the beta, but this was enough for us to fully upgrade some abilities (assuming there won’t be further upgrades in the full retail version). We ended up spending a lot of time playing as The Hulk, upgrading and mastering his different moves, and even then we found some of the harder parts of the missions required some co-ordination. Marvel’s Avengers will of course be a game focused on co-ordinating with other members of your strike team, which is so much easier if they’re actual players as opposed to bots or as the game calls them, ‘companions’.

The enemies in the game vary in difficulty and it also depends on how hard the mission is. Some enemies only required you to keep attacking them until they were defeated while others had different kinds of shields which needed to be worked around. If you happen to lose all your health, a companion can bring you back up again unless you’re in a no-respawn area (Destiny, anyone?) which usually occurs at the end of each mission. While the story missions took anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete, we found some of the missions selected from the war table could be completed in just 5-10.

Marvel's Avengers Beta Hands-On 07

While progressing through the game, you’ll find chests containing higher level gear to wear which increases your power rating. This will probably lead to end-game content being locked behind a certain power rating. Also, each character earns points which work towards hero challenge cards which unlock items, virtual currency, and vanity items. This seems to be a great way to get you to be diverse with your character selection to ensure you’re maximising your rewards each day and week, but we worry that it will lead to some people spending more money on the game than they otherwise would. While spending money isn’t an option in the Marvel’s Avengers beta, we see it becoming a very easy way to quickly boost your superhero to make them stronger than other players.

We’re reaching a point in gaming where we’re starting to refer to games as ‘platforms’. Whether this was started by Destiny or Minecraft or even World of Warcraft is up for debate, but with games like Halo Infinite showing signs of being just that, we’re wondering what gaming will look like in 2023 or 2024. Will we still be playing Marvel’s Avengers, Halo Infinite, WoW and Destiny 2 in 2024? Maybe. If you’re going to sink extra money into a game though, then you should definitely have the right to be able to keep playing it with new content.

Marvels Avengers Beta

Visually, the game is looking a bit hit and miss. Some areas look fantastic, and if you time things right you can take great photos of your favourite superheroes using the various custom filters such as an ‘I Am Iron Man’ filter, but some of the finer details are still a bit muddy, especially any objects that had text which often we thought would render to a higher quality when getting closer but in fact didn’t. Yes, they’re minor graphical details but they do affect the overall experience of the game, especially if you’re snap happy!

While the Marvel’s Avengers beta provided a great look at what we can expect when the game launches in a month, there are still plenty of questions we have as to how much content will be available on its release, how easy it will be to find (and stick with) a full strike team, and how easy it will be to progress without dropping extra cash. We’ll be judging Marvel’s Avengers’ success on the extent to which its use of monetisation is minimised.

Marvel's Avengers Beta

Marvel’s Avengers launches on September 4 on Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and will also launch on the next-generation Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles before the end of the year. For more information about the Marvel’s Avengers beta starting August 7, check out our beta info article here and to check out all the latest information on Marvel’s Avengers, head to the official website.

Marvel's Avengers Beta

David Latham

David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Go8 university but only uses his unique set of skills writing for passion. By day he's a stay-at-home father of two, by night he responds to the Bat-Signal. Where does he find the time?