I’ve been giving Avengers a fair shake lately. A lot of the parts work well, some things a bit less.
The thing with looter/shooters is that the leveling process is simply an excuse to tell a story. Once you’ve seen that story, the next playthrough is essentially a waiting game until you reach the end game. Some games make that process interesting and varied. Others make it so quick it doesn’t really matter. Avengers does the former, allowing you to do nearly any activity from level 10 to level 50. Some are much better for leveling than others, but the choice is there all the same. A pure grind, you’d likely knock 1-50 in less than 2 hours. Doing it in a more random fashion, double that. I think that’s reasonable.
The gearing portion, that part is a bit off kilter. Your power level (gear score) goes to 150, though for practical purposes, things stop dropping at 130. By the time you do hit 50, your power level is likely to be ~70. I was kinda hoping for that bridge to be smaller, given that you are then faced with the prospects of a pure grind to get those drops. And meaningless ones I should add. All you care about is that the power level is higher, doesn’t matter if it’s half the hit points. When you do reach 130, then gearing has meaning.
I’ll put it plainly, there are simply too many modifiers and combinations. You roll for base stats (melee, range, HP, super powers), then you roll for perks. There are crazy amounts of perks; faster super powers, damage types, power attacks, dodge bonuses, air juggles, gravity attacks, it’s the damn kitchen sink here. Add in item rarity and I’m really finding it too much. I will say that not a single one of the perks is bad, which is a major departure from Anthem. But it could really do with some serious pruning, or the ability to modify rolls from other pieces of gear.
I will say that in the general sense, power level is more important than actual rolls. I’ve got a level 50 Kate Bishop, and she’s at 137 power and rocking a 75/25 mix of ranged damage and HP. Her special powers are fairly meaningless for damage, moreso for control. Her scattershot (multi-arrow) attack does shock damage and that’s really all that matters in that build. She can clear anything, without much of a sweat. Chain stuns will take her down, but they’d take down anyone. Any optimization here would be cool, but of no real purpose. Maybe if they have some sort of timed Harm room runs it would matter?
I’ll have another post regarding the mechanics of the game, but suffice to say that what you see in the campaign is pretty much what you see all the way through. Half the combat is in the wide open, the other half in what are effectively chained dungeons. It works but favors some characters more than others.
Which I guess is the sort of irony here. I have never played a game that so faithfully recreates the superhero fantasy. Sure, there are bullet sponges, and dodging… but the Hulk plays like you’d think the Hulk would play! Thor swings the hammer just like you’d think he would. Ironman is all sarcasm and laser beams. That gives so much more wiggle room for this game to latch on! Any other IP and I’d be irritated by the small things. It is not getting old to have Cap throw his shield against 8 enemies and back to him.
Kamala deserves some mention. On the plus side, her character is extremely well written and acted. Fangirl + scared + wants to help people. Her quips are really great to hear. Mechanically, she’s the elongated man and the best team healer. Her movement feels like a comic book character, and it just works. Her support ability (the only real healer) means that she’s in the team no matter what too.
I’ve got a Tachyon Rift down (a mission with a timer and you lose health over time) and there’s a Mega Hive I have left later, once I have 3 more people at 50 and at 130 gear levels. This will be worthy of it’s own topic.
I do have some concern on the financial model here. It’s entirely cosmetic and the bar set with the Kate Bishop stuff is exceedingly high. The character kit is well thought out, and there’s voice work for every character. And it’s all free. The only way they make money is on cosmetics, and cosmetics are primarily entire player skins. Compare that to pretty much any other game where you customize bits (dyes, parts, etc.) there are limits here.
At some point I’ll do some multiplayer. I’m enjoying the ability to pause a bit too much right now, and the content doesn’t even remotely require it. Maybe the eventual Aim Labs will do that – a real raid would be neat. I’ve more than gotten my $30 out of this game so far, way better value than I had expected.