Square Enix’s Avengers Game Is Not Worth Buying
Hey folks, welcome back to another one of our gaming posts at the Fantasy Hive! Today, on September 4, we’ve got Before I break down the issues of Square Enix’s Avengers game, I should offer a caveat – in the video I’ve linked below, I made a factual mistake concerning one of the points discussed. I said that the Avengers game would charge an undisclosed amount of money ($10-15-20) for each of its characters — which is false. Last year, Crystal Dynamics’ Creative Director, Noah Hughes, announced that no post-launch character would be charged for. While I personally doubt that will remain the case half a year in, I hope it is indeed true – it would go a ways into improving the “Live Service” package this kind of game embraces as a business model. Still, my bad – I should have looked into Square’s announced post-launch monetization plans, murky as they are.
The new Avengers game, developed by Crystal Dynamics, makers of the latest Tomb Raider trilogy, is not a good game. Its technical problems go beyond mediocre, into the downright unplayable – so serious are the fps drops, I experienced one moment in the opening bridge level in which I simply couldn’t progress until I did horrible things to my graphics settings. And I wasn’t the only one suffering this issue—far from it. After an opening few minutes which initially left me off with a pleasant experience, I got into the first Captain America section in the game; surprise, surprise, suddenly the FPS dropped twice over the consistent fifty-five, and into the low twenties. Annoying, as in those short few seconds when I got to play Captain America at 30 FPS, controlling him provided a satisfactory power fantasy.
My computer’s graphics processor is no joke, either – an Nvidia RTX 2060 is as high-mid end as it gets! Or is it mid-high end? Never could keep the two straight. I even overclocked my GPU—at which time, the beta refused to run, crashing time and again whenever I attempted to boot it up.
This game is severely undercooked, to the point that I couldn’t pass through a part of the prologue because of how bad the FPS (frames per second) drop was during a short introductory fight between Black Widow and the game’s prologue boss, Taskmaster. Don’t trust me? You need but look at the video.
And the loot system? The gear you gain is beyond boring, its only function to exchange one Power number for another, with the addition of some minor bonuses. If you thought they might do something interesting, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. (In the video, I’ve left a conversation between me and my friend, in which he digs into the depth of the gear system’s issues, at 02:28.)
It’s a pity, too. Whenever the game was playable, I found myself having an enjoyable time – especially playing with Black Widow, with Miss Marvel, what little time I got with Thor, whose strikes with Mjolnir had proper weight behind them. There are good gameplay systems at the core of this, an enjoyable gameplay loop with an IP that I have loved since I was twelve – over half my life, now. But it’s butchered – and for an obvious reason, and one you should take offense over. At the end of the day, this game is a live service, which is to say, a video game designed to suck dry the credit cards of its players, to sell you on costumes and all manner of season pass nonsense, to propagate a business model which has failed time and again. For proof on this failure, you need only look at last year’s BioWare “masterpiece,” Anthem.
You’re not buying a finished product when you pay those sixty dollars or euro or pounds for the September 4th. You’re buying into a buggy mess that performs in a way best described as nightmarish. This game needs another year of development, six months at the very least, just for polish. So many of the missions available to try out in the beta were spent doing different objectives in a scenario map that was mercilessly reused to the point that I kept thinking I’d chosen the same mission over and over and over again. And while this might have an in-world explanation in bland terms such as *corporate synergy,* it makes for lazy development, and left in me the impression of extreme laziness on the part of the level designers. And so does the much-battered character design, which…well, there’s no way to get past the movie comparison, and the “cheap Chinese knock-off” look is strong indeed.
I haven’t even touched on the controversy around Sony holding a playable Spider-Man as a hostage, accessible only to PlayStation players. I haven’t touched on all the characters datamined, such signature characters such as Mar-vell, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man (…who?), and many others. And while the characters themselves will indeed be free, customizing them will be heavily monetized.
I’m pissed. Bloody angry. You can tell, the foundation of this game is solid. The writing isn’t half-bad, the banter is entertaining, and I suspect that when you unlock the myriad skills every character has, you might well end up with a very good third-person action game. At its best, you get what’s on the cover, the promise of that Marvel power fantasy, all yours to play with. It’s impressive, and it shows that plenty of the folks behind this Avengers game put effort worth admiring.
It’s a shame that what we get on release is a broken game. I wish I could say, “But I only played the beta, what do I know, surely they’ve fixed it by now!” But to believe that a game so broken can be fixed in two short weeks is naïveté of the highest order.
This might very well dig the final inch in Crystal Dynamics’ Square Enix can be a phenomenal developer—but this is not the first or even the third dreadful release they have on their belt as publisher. Maybe it’s worthwhile to take a step back and consider if someone is eyeing short-term profits at the cost of the long-term stability of Square and its daughter studios.
This title is likely to be a runaway success – especially now, with folks desperate for a superhero experience. But I want to reiterate the core message of this video: Do not buy Square Enix’s Avengers game. Not until all its myriad technical issues are improved upon to the point that this title is playable, at the very least.
I know I won’t.
Thanks for reading!