Fans’ excitement was high for Marvel’s Avengers, having been promised a full reveal at Square Enix‘s E3 2019 press conference. While we got our first look at the stellar voice cast and the design of the characters, we were left with a lot of questions about the structure of the game and how the gameplay looked.
The reveal trailers seemed to include a few moments of gameplay woven into the cinematics, but it was unclear what was what.
A huge chunk of the appeal of an Avengers game will be how each of the characters play, and we didn’t see a lot of that from the initial reveal.
However, we got the chance to check out the extended demo at E3 2019 that was similar to the reveal trailer, but included the gameplay segments that weren’t initially shown.
All five of the main heroes look fun to play, but Black Widow stood out for multiple reasons.
As the A-Day scene gets going, with the attack on the Golden Gate Bridge in full force, the demo broke away from the action to join each of the heroes in their own smaller fights, starting with Thor.
What was shown was a very linear, cutscene heavy mission in which each character had their moment in the limelight, showcasing their powers.
While standard moves are presumably tied to face buttons, each hero has a move on the right and left bumper buttons, as well as an ‘Ultimate’ move, or whatever it’ll be called, that’ll be activated by pressed both buttons.
Some of the moves seemed to be hidden in the E3 demo, so each Avenger’s move set may be more substantial than the detail we give below, but we saw a lot of what each character can do.
Thor seems to play like a combination between the Arkham series’ Batman and last year’s Kratos. Mjolnir is at the center of everything he does.
He can swing it around in his hand to hit multiple enemies at once, he can just hit people with it as any character would with a classic baseball bat or plank or wood, he can slam it on the ground to send anyone near him flying, and he can, of course, throw it directly at people.
It didn’t seem to have the same satisfying throw and call back mechanic that Kratos’ Leviathan Axe does, but there seems to be more freedom in where you can throw it and how far.
Long range takedowns are certainly possible, which makes Thor more than an up-close brawler. Iron Man soon joined the action and he has everything you’d expect.
His flying ability is what separates him from the rest of the five core heroes, obviously, but he’s got all the seeker missiles you’d expect and he can shoot energy of different strengths from his hands and chest, the latter being a special move of sorts.
Next came Hulk, and while he’s the clunky beast you’d imagine, his combat options seemed to be more varied than expected. He almost stumbles around combat sections, crushing guys with devastating choke slams as well as just swings of his arms.
What surprised me most, and will likely add some much-needed variety to the henchman focused action in Avengers, is Hulk’s mobility. He can wall-run, sort of.
As he crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in the A-Day scene, he’s able to quickly leap between suspended trucks.
The areas in which he can do so are really obviously signposted, but it seems like Avengers will make Hulk more than a battering ram without any finesse.
It might be unclear how much of a role Captain America will play in the game, especially the single-player story, with his death being hinted at during the trailer, but his action is similar to Thor’s.
It’s a little quicker but focuses on his shield, like Thor’s does with Mjolnir.
He’s able to send it rebounding off enemies and walls, taking out everything in its path, as well as throw and kick enemies around the place. He can slam bad guys with his shield and just chuck it around again and again.
They all seemed to be pretty fun to play as, but Black Widow’s combat was the most intriguing in the demo. She’s far more agile than the rest of the Avengers crew, just as she is in the movies.
She has two pistols in place of any hammer or shield, but the action isn’t focused around them in the same way. She can slow time down to dodge attacks with a bit of flair, use a grapple rope to take guys down, electrocute them with punches, and even go invisible for a while to sneak up to enemies and take them out while they’re confused.
More of Black Widow’s abilities may have been shown due to her section of the demo being a mini-boss fight against Taskmaster, but just the sheer variety of combat options have me more excited to play as her than as any other of the heroes revealed so far.
She has the brute force to take out guys with punches and powerful weapons, just as the likes of Cap and Thor do. However, the invisibility and grapple rope powers could make playing as Black Widow more tactical than the rest.
It would allow you to approach different enemy types in different ways, having to think about which ability is the best for each situation, and that’s exciting.
With more heroes being added to the game following release, hopefully many more will have the combat variety that Black Widow seems to because that could see Marvel’s Avengers’ appeal continuing long after the core story mode is over.