games / Previews

E3 2019: Marvel’s Avengers Gameplay Preview

June 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Avengers Square-Enix

During this year’s E3 2019, 411mania had the chance to check out the hands-off, behind-closed-doors presentation for the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game. This game was first announced way back in January 2017. However, it was almost radio silence on the title until around the time E3 rolled around, and Square Enix finally offered up a reveal trailer showcasing in-game cutscenes and some actual gameplay.

The E3 behind-closed-doors, hands-off demo offered a up more in-depth look at the gameplay and prologue for the new Marvel game. It all starts on A-Day. However, what starts as a day to celebrate Earth’s Mightiest Heroes soon turns into a catastrophic nightmare. An explosion goes off in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Avengers go into action.

Thor, voiced once again by Travis Willingham, takes point. Basically, the gameplay preview showed off switching the action between several of the Avengers in battle. First, Thor is in action to clear a pathway to the bridge. He’s fighting some heavily armed and masked terrorists, who appear to be mercenaries in the service of Taskmaster. Thor can use his trademark hammer Mjolnir for what look to be some fun and creative attacks, as well as summoning the power of lightning and thunder. It looks like enemies can be tossed off the map in exciting ways. All the gameplay footage for Thor and the other Avengers appeared to be in the third-person perspective.

Eventually, the gameplay switches off to Iron Man, who can use a lot of his repulsor blasts, smart missiles, and aerial-based attacks. Black Widow is piloting the Quinjet and then advises Bruce Banner to fall into battle, and he transforms into Hulk. The Hulk combat looked a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed that his gameplay attacks include his Thunderclap shockwave attack, which he can use in battle. One ironic aspect is that Thor was there to help keep the bridge from totally collapsing, but it mainly looked like he was causing more damage. Hulk’s main objective is to take out some heavy tanks that are being brought out by Taskmaster’s minions.

Later on, the perspective and gameplay shifts to Captain America, who is trying to oversee the evacuation on the Avengers’ helicarrier. Some of the armed terrorists attack Captain America, who they refer to as “shepherd,” and keep him busy on the helicarrier bridge.

The demo preview climaxes with a boss fight featuring Black Widow vs. Taskmaster over the Golden Gate Bridge. It appears Taskmaster’s minions have gotten ahold of some sonic weaponry, which is very destructive and apparently illegal. The Taskmaster and Black Widow fight does look like it has a few cinematic event sequences mixed in. Eventually, the helicarrier goes down with Captain America inside, hence his memorial statue that’s seen in the trailer. The destruction has caused the Avengers to break up. In many ways, it seems similar to the start of Overwatch.

Based on the footage that was shown, the new Avengers game isn’t using some type of free-flow combat system. However, it does look like a combat system that will have attacks that are unique to each hero.

While the preview footage all appeared to be single-player, story-driven gameplay, it’s still not clear what type of game Crystal Dynamics is developing here. The developer statements at the preview suggested players would be taking the role of their own hero and would be playing alongside each other in the actual campaign. So, it’s still not clear if this is some type of multiplayer online game like Destiny, or simply a story-driven superhero action game with some online co-operative elements mixed in. Also, the boss fight between Taskmaster and Black Widow in the presentation seemed to go on for quite a long time and eventually grew quite tedious. It’s also not clear if players will primarily play as existing heroes of the Marvel Universe who are joining the Avengers or creating their own original, customized hero for the main game. Also, the developers on hand didn’t seem eager to answer these questions.

There has been some criticism online for the character faces and designs. Personally, the most jarring new design was Captain America’s new costume. It makes him look like an overly patriotic riot police officer or SWAT team guy. It would’ve been fine if they wanted to go more in the direction of the films, but none of Cap’s movie costumes make him look like a SWAT or riot patrol officer. Hopefully, there will be other skins and looks players can select for the iconic heroes.

Hopefully, the questions and main issues and concerns for the game will be addressed in the coming months.
Marvel’s Avengers arrives on May 15, 2020. The game will receive a simultaneous release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox One, Stadia, and Windows PC.