Marvel’s Avengers: Ew, No Thanks

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 11, 2020

Filed under: Column 114 comments

I complained about this game when it was first showcased at E3 last year. At the time I didn’t like it because it looked like a lazy copy of the cinematic Avengers with all of the charisma and wit drained out of it. The action looked stilted and scripted. It had a bad case of too many quicktime events, not enough player expression.

But hey, this was just a first impression, right? This is an E3 showcase, so of course they’re going to lean into the more cinematic sections of the game. Star Wars™ Jedi: Fallen Order™ EA™ looked pretty uninspired at E3, and that game turned out great.

But then as the previews began I saw that my initial concerns were just small potatoes compared to the real problems:

  1. Sony is proud of making Spider-Man a platform exclusive, even though doing so is a straight-up dick move. Hey, if the graphics and multiplayer are better on PlayStation because you built the best platform, then those benefits are a natural and emergent reward of your hard work and investment. Good for you. But if your platform is “best” because you used money / licensing shenanigans to deny content to the rival platforms then you’re not making your platform better, you’re making the other platforms worse. I’m not going to celebrate or reward this sort of product sabotage.
  2. The game is built around a gross liiiive service If you follow Jim Sterling, then you know what voice to use here. model where you can buy various skins to bling out your Avengers. Check out Alanah Pearce’s preview video and all the sales pitch splash screens that she has to push through when she launches the game.
  3. The focus is on “cinematic” gameplay in a supposedly multiplayer experience seems deeply misguided. It’s like the worst of both worlds.
  4. The character designs look just enough like the MCU versions to be a distraction and a disappointment. They didn’t want to pay to use the likenesses of the MCU actors. Fair enough, that would be expensive. But then they also didn’t want to put in the work to make their own versions of these characters.
  5. You can get branded outfits as promotional tie-in, allowing you to turn these supposed superheroes into unironic pitchmen for real-world corporations.

I Don’t Play Games That Are More Cynical Than I Am.


Link (YouTube)

I see people faulting the “graphics” of the game, but I think it’s more accurate to say the problem is the lack of a coherent art style. It’s not photo-realistic enough to be technically impressive and it’s not stylized enough to match the exaggerated vibrancy of a comic book. It exists in this artistic no man’s land between the two. The world looks boring, which is a pretty big shortcoming in a game where the focus is on selling you outfits for your superheroes. Maybe the intent is to have you pay extra to make the game look interesting, but we need to care about a world before we’ll want to invest in it. If my girlfriendIn case my wife of 23 years reads this: This is a hypothetical girlfriend for the purpose of illustration.  drags me to a boring party I don’t care about, I’m not going to run out and spend a bunch of money on a new outfit to wear.

I’m obviously not going to buy Marvel’s Avengers, not even to join in the inevitable dog-pile of disdain and ridicule that this thing is going to get. I’m not above playing deeply flawed games for the purpose of analysis, but this thing is so lacking in creative ambition that there’s nothing to criticize. This doesn’t even feel like a real video game.  This feels like the video game equivalent of How do you do, fellow kids?

Hi fellow kids. Is everyone else going to pre-order Marvel's Avengers on Playstationn 4 for exclusive access to Spider-Man™? I sure am!
Hi fellow kids. Is everyone else going to pre-order Marvel's Avengers on Playstationn 4 for exclusive access to Spider-Man™? I sure am!

On top of all of this, it seems like the entire game is built around a massive and obvious missed opportunity. In the game, you get to play as a brand new hero. This seems like a great way to sell people costume bits and super-powers. You give the audience a character creator and let them choose between Jennifer Hale or Nolan NorthActually, North is already voicing Iron Man in this game. But you know what I mean. for their voice. You can sell it with some lame predictable catchphrase like, “Become your own hero!” or “Join the Avengers!”. Imagine the fun people could have making a character to either embrace or subvert the world around them. This would feed into streaming culture and give you the ability to sell the players even more crap that should have been part of the base game. If you’re going to be grasping and artistically bankrupt, the least you can do is be good at being grasping and artistically bankrupt.

But no. The story is built around a new hero, but she’s apparently a fixed character with a fixed design and fixed powers. This is the equivalent of a theater that over-salts the popcorn to make patrons extra-thirsty, but then they don’t bother selling any drinks to capitalize on it. Are you trying to make money, or are you just trying to make things horrible for no reason? Because if it’s the former then you’re doing it wrong.

Ah well. The end of this year is already overflowing with an excess of titles. It’s nice to be able to shorten the list.

 

EDIT: I was wrong. The new character isn’t a new character. It’s a new version of an existing character that I’ve never heard of before. Still, the point stands that it would have been smarter to let the player create their own character.

 

Footnotes:

[1] If you follow Jim Sterling, then you know what voice to use here.

[2] In case my wife of 23 years reads this: This is a hypothetical girlfriend for the purpose of illustration.

[3] Actually, North is already voicing Iron Man in this game. But you know what I mean.



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114 thoughts on “Marvel’s Avengers: Ew, No Thanks

  1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    This whole game is a masterclass on how to avoid hype. The only thing I’m looking forward about it is Angry Joe’s review and Revengers parodies.

  2. Xeorm says:

    I’m still surprised at how badly some companies can screw things up. You have an excuse to almost print money and it’s all wasted due to incompetence.

  3. Asdasd says:

    I dunno Shamus, I think illustrating your hypothetical girlfriend is only going to get you into more trouble.

    Letting the player make a fantasy self-insert character is a trick that licensed games almost constantly seem to miss out on. The only ones I think have bothered are Dragonball Z and South Park. It’s wild! Given how the internet is – basically a quivering, glomping human centipede of fandom – it amounts to a bunch of companies decided they really hate money.

    1. Thomas says:

      Code Vein showed how cool it is to have a character creator adjusted to a particular art / design style too.

      1. Hector says:

        Oh yes, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m embarrassed to say I spent far too long designing the character.

        As far as Marvel , I wasn’t wow’ed by the initial or later reveal trailers. They’re not terrible, but also don’t sell me on the game. However, if there was a way to make my own hero, give them a powerset, and fight Villains alongside the Avengers?!) Hell yeah I’d buy that. It could have quite a bit of jank and play rough around the edges in terms of balance and would still be a fantastic experience.

        For the record, I’m still waiting on something like a Superhero version of the Open-World game that doesn’t involve Batman. Batman’s great, and he brings so much character to the… character. But it’s also Batman and you can’t really flex the story or puzzle elements very much. It has to fit Batman. Marvel is also a much better fit for this kind of game because you can have heroes with a wider array of violence options. It’s not that characters’ powersets would be that different between the big publishers, but that it’s far easier to adapt a new character into Marvel where you usually don’t need to worry about so many God-Tier characters. Much easier to have Iron Man show up without making the story about him than, say, Superman.

    2. Chad Miller says:

      South Park

      My first thought when I heard about the new hero player character. “The Fractured but Whole, but unironically? That could be awesome!”

    3. Steve C says:

      Yeah Shamus, I’m with Asdasd. Bad idea.

    4. Decius says:

      Illustrate your hypothetical girlfriend like one of your French girlfriends.

    5. Theo says:

      The second Attack on Titan game also did the create-a-character bit. Your customized character could meet and befriend all the show’s characters, even unlocking special little missions where you team up.

      And then most of them would die or betray you, because it’s still Attack on Titan.

  4. Thomas says:

    I really wanted a game where I could play as Miss Marvel. But every single other thing about this game seems designed to put me-off playing. If this was some generic game it wouldn’t really matter if it sucked. Such a waste.

  5. ccesarano says:

    I pre-ordered the game since PlayStation Store outlines you can cancel a pre-order at any time (though it looks like it might require a phone call to do so, natch, because why make customer service easily accessible). After the PS4 pre-order exclusive Beta this weekend I decided I’m going to cancel.

    My friends and I occasionally dabble in live service games to see if we can get something other than Destiny to play, and as Steve loves super heroes and has children that love super heroes, this was an obvious contender. But for a bunch of reasons I think I’m going to try and jot down for my own blog, I just… don’t wanna do it. It’s not an awful game mechanically speaking, but once I hit the first “multiplayer” mission (which, fortunately, you can do with AI companions) I asked myself “Would I repeat this mission at least once a week for the sake of the live game service model?”

    The answer was no. Destiny may have its issues, but it has some of the best shooting mechanics you could ask for in today’s industry. Even if you’re as exhausted as looting lost sectors as my friends and I are, the actual act of combat is enjoyable still. Even if you don’t want to be in the treadmill, the combat is enough to bring you back and provide a good time.

    Marvel’s Avengers does not have some of the best action combat of the industry. It is far, far behind the likes of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101. Heck, it could stand to take some notes from the Yakuza franchise, which is pretty darn jank.

    But the mechanics are not good enough to be satisfying to return to every week. It’s the kind of combat you play for a linear action game that’s soaking up some time between the bigger releases you know are better. And that’s just not good enough for a live service game.

    So, yeah, even without the desperate attempts to get me to purchase cosmetics, or the awkward way Thor sounds like a fan-dub of the movies rather than an actual voice actor hired to play the character, or any of the other issues with it, I’m just… not interested. I’ll be spending that money on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim in September instead.

    Post Script: I’m also convinced this game was originally conceived as an X-Men game given its plot. Whether you would have created your own mutant or not I don’t know, but for people insisting on a custom character creator, I think part of the fun is “Now you, too, can play as your favorite Marvel heroes!” Which, conveniently for Sony, also allows for platform exclusive characters like Spider-Man to be a selling point.

    1. GloatingSwine says:

      AFAIK this game has been in development since before Marvel got the full X-Men rights back, and they were being really salty about that and not promoting them, or other teams they didn’t have the rights to, in anything.

      When the now defunct Diablo-em-up Marvel Heroes still lived they got in trouble with Marvel for doing a Fantastic Four event around the time the terrible movie came out, even if it wasn’t an official tie-in just a promo for the content in the game already.

    2. Vinsomer says:

      I thinik the issue with ‘create your own Avenger!’ is what the Avengers can do is so broad. They’re literally a collection of different heroes from their own distinct stories with unique powers. You have a magic user like Dr Strange, a literal God from a different dimension in Thor, a very smart man who made a mech suit in Iron Man, and a super soldier in Captain America. As a developer, how do you include every option possible when the powers of the existing Avengers are so broad? Isn’t there a risk of never feeling like a true Avenger but instead feeling like a player character created in a character creator if the game can’t give you the options to make your character feel as distinct as the rest of the team? It’s a common problem for character creator games, or at least it was once upon a time when character models weren’t as impressive as they are now.

      Both Naruto and Dragonball have recently had games where you could create your own character but the powers of the characters in those worlds are much more defined.

      1. Decius says:

        You don’t try to make a whole hero. You just functionally copy ability trees from e.g. Mass Effect and then reskin them all to be no more dissonant in the current setting than in the setting they were cribbed from.

        1. Vinsomer says:

          But doesn’t that dilute how special your character feels if they’re mostly a copy of other characters?

    3. Spludge says:

      I apologise for the nitpickiest of nitpicks, but the voice actor for Thor in the game (Travis Willingham) has been the animated voice of Thor since 2013. It could be argued that by the measure of volume of lines spoken, Chris Hemsworth’s voice is the wrong one (I wouldn’t make that argument because the number of people watching the performance is probably the better metric). It feeling weird is more a case of a lack of exposure to Avengers Assemble than anything else…

      …or maybe just how many games he’s voiced for. Which is pretty common among voice actors, as far as I can tell. In the last 3 years, counting only”major” game releases (arbitrarily defined as stuff that has probably been talked about here), Travis is Jaro Tapel in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Wilson Fisk in Spider-Man, High Exarch Turalyon in WoW: Battle for Azeroth, and Castamir in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Add a whole mess of games where his role is best summed up as “additional voices” and he’s bound to sound kinda generic. (source: IMDB)

      1. ccesarano says:

        In some ways it makes sense they’d get a guy already known for being Thor to do the character, but for me, and for the presentation of this game with its realistic graphics, it sounds like someone voice acting. Or, more accurately, it sounds like someone imitating voice styles before they’re caught playing with their dolls again.

        I honestly have the same problem with nearly every voice Steve Blum is cast to do. Yes, he’s a professional voice actor, and he is cast to star in a lot of stuff. But when he’s, say, cast as the big guy in Vanquish or the protagonist of Bullet Storm, he sounds like he’s playing with action figures pretending to be the big guy with a gravely voice he clearly doesn’t have. I’ll tell you right now this Travis Willingham sounds more natural as Wilson Fisk or Tapal than he does as Thor, where it sounds like he’s putting on some sort of artificial voice to sound Godly. And, if you’re used to the comics or animations, maybe that’s for the better. Maybe it highlights that one of the best aspects of Chris Hemsworth as Thor is that he’s not changing his voice to sound like a God. But to me, nothing about the delivery sounds natural, and it’d probably be easier to swallow in a cartoon because that sort of artificial nature is expected. Here, it just stands out.

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          Vanquish is very strange because the main character is voiced by a man with the same name as the character doing an impression of Steve Blum and his supporting character is voiced by Steve Blum doing an impression of Steve Blum.

  6. GloatingSwine says:

    The story’s built around a new-ish hero. The current Ms. Marvel has been around since 2013 or so. She’s the character who’s taken over the fun and optimistic younger character role that Spider-Man used to have way back when and they kept trying to shove him back into via contrived bollocks despite the fact that he’s been around long enough to be grown up and married for decades.

    1. Thomas says:

      Oh! I thought Shamus was talking about some other new character, not Ms Marvel. Yeah that’s totally different. Ms. Marvel was the first comic book I read (not being a big comic book guy). She’s genuinely the character I was most excited for in the game. Ms Marvel won a Hugo in 2015. She was supposed to be introduced into the films soon.

      EDIT: Sorry, there’s a planned Disney TV series about her, not a film.

      1. Syal says:

        I love that Wikipedia entry.

        “Marvel’s announcement… was met with widespread reaction”

        Not praise, not disdain, not divisiveness, but “widespread reaction”. Love it.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          If everybody just ignored the thing it would be “Marvel’s announcement was not met with resistance from the fanbase”.

  7. Lino says:

    I would love to read a Jason Shreier-style expose about the development of this game. You can see the bones of a good game, buried deep beneath this pile of dross and corporate tie-ins, and it’d be interesting to see where it all went wrong…

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Yeah, me too.

      ‘Movie tie-in’ games are nothing new; usually, you can take some generic ‘whatever’s popular right now’ gameplay, add some visuals from the movie, stick to the movie’s plot, hire some of the actors to come in and voice some NPCs…

      You’re not going to rock the world, or make a bestselling genre-defining game*, but you’ll quickly and efficiently cash in on a passing craze. Simple.

      Finding out how someone managed to mess up something as simple and time-tested as THAT would be interesting.

      *Well, occasionally, like GoldenEye 64. But that’s rare.

  8. Mattias42 says:

    But no. The story is built around a new hero, but she’s apparently a fixed character with a fixed design and fixed powers.

    …Isn’t Ms. Marvel, I think it was that she’s named, a pre-existing character? And she’s meant to be the main character rallying the others in-game, something, something, because plot happened?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Khan

    Honestly, the first time I heard about her I rolled my eyes over the blatant wish fulfillment and how you could all but see the ‘let’s make one of those weird minority people a character!’ corporate check boxes next to her. A superhero fan-girl that gets superpowers, huh? And she’s a black teenage muslim girl?

    I mean, seriously she’s only a wheelchair away from being that character in a 90’s cartoon whose entire personality was basically And Every Other Demographic Combined Now That We’ve Made Four Boys And Mascot. Very cynical and dull character design, IMHO.

    Still, I know she’s got some fans. Good on them, I suppose, that she’s getting some lime light? Just not a favorite of mine, to be milder about it.

    1. Shamus says:

      This is Ms. Marvel? Wow. I know I’ve been out of the loop with comics for over a decade, but I NEVER would have guessed this was an iteration of Ms. Marvel. She’s got stretchy arms, like Sonic in that one awful game where Sonic was also a werewolf? Is that really part of the Ms. Marvel power set these days?

      Weird.

      1. Gndwyn says:

        No, when Ms. Marvel changed her name to Captain Marvel, they gave the Ms. Marvel name and an updated version of the old Ms. Marvel costume to a new hero who is following in her footsteps. Like when Robin became Nightwing and a new character became the new Robin.

        It’s pretty common in comics when an established hero makes a significant change, they’ll give the old identity to a new character so they can have both. Or, more often, an established character will temporarily change and the alternate version is made a new character when the main character inevitably reverts back to their classic form (see Spider-Man/Venom, Captain America/Nomad, Iron Man/War Machine, Thor/Thunderstrike, Psylocke/Kwannon, Giant-Man/Goliath, Batgirl/Oracle, Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash, Red Hood/Joker, Jimmy Olsen/Flamebird, Supergirl/Matrix)

      2. GloatingSwine says:

        The current Ms. Marvel’s powers aren’t related to the original’s. She’s an Inhuman, but she was a fan of the original, who is now going by Captain Marvel (she’s like the sixth Captain Marvel at this point).

      3. One-Note-Pony says:

        There isn’t really a Ms. Marvel powerset as such. In-universe the name has been passed around like a Silver Surfer-themed bong (as has “Captain Marvel”) but the various characters, powers, and origins are completely all over the place. The Ms. Marvel old guys like us remember was basically Lady Captain Marvel, which come to think of it is precisely what she is again, only now she’s actually called Captain Marvel.

        This “new” one (read: 8 years old IRL) is young, from Jersey City, an “Inhuman” (think ‘dry run for Jack Kirby’s gods-in-space stuff for DC’), and remarkably popular. Honestly I’m a little surprised you hadn’t heard of her – there was a lot of “first Muslim superhero” coverage (she’s not, but that’s for bar bets) even outside the comic book nerdverse. Much the same way as publicity around Miles Morales. And like Miles, her powers are a bit underwhelming but the character has generally been written with ‘heart’, so she’s a pretty good choice for a game concept that requires a character who has some business being associated with the Avengers but is by no means A-list yet.

        The choice has caused a certain amount of rage among the cohort that…well, that likes to be angry about these things…but there’s really no pleasing them anyway. I strongly suspect she’s a popular choice among the younger and more frequently female gamer community – the ones who helped make Tracer popular – so appealing to them is a smart move. Too bad everything else about the game is so inept and overtly cynical that I can’t imagine who the actual audience will be.

        1. Hector says:

          I see two problems: The first is that her comics are not very popular and have been slowly tending downward since here release (yes, I actually reviewed the sales figures). No comic-book character indefinitely stays on top, but the successful ones have ups and downs, whereas she seems to mostly be on a downslide. That’s concerning from an executive standpoint. (I also don’t see an announced movie for her; did I miss something?)

          The other issue is based more on aesthetic judgement: she’s received a lot of emphasis and development… but is just not that interesting. Her schtick being a young superhero, but that’s been done a *lot* in comics already, and done better. It’s not that anything there is bad, but that’s she’s just so-so as a character. She also doesn’t really have much in the way of good built-in conflicts. She’s sort of comical, her villains are fairly lame by comic-book standards, and might be hard to translate to other media. That’s fine for a second-tier comic book but it’s going to be a real hard sell for a major video-game or film character.

          Maybe they can pull it off and Khan becomes the Icon of a Generation, but well, the smart money is usually the cynical take. And the cynical money is usually the smart take.

          1. Christopher Dwight Wolf says:

            Honestly I think her main issue is lack of memorable villains. I like the character but she doesn’t have any real top tier baddies to go up against.

            1. Hector says:

              This gets into a tricky question, because good villains are usually fantastic because they play well off the heroes. Sure, Darth Vader is intimidating, but he’s so impressive because he acts as a dark mirror for Obi-Wan and Luke. The Joker is so timelessly frightening because he plays so awesomely well off Batman. Lex Luthor is the perfect adversary for Superman. All of them allow for visual, thematic, and narrative contrast that can be used within the medium.

              Many people believe villains make the heroes, but I tend to invert that: Good heroes have excellent conflicts that then allow for a range of excellent villainous foils. Sometimes built into the character or developed by past experiences. So, for example, Captain America has a good conflict setup between the United States and Nazism, but it also allowed for a number of later conflicts to develop between himself and various flavours of tyranny.

              1. Syal says:

                Good heroes have excellent conflicts that then allow for a range of excellent villainous foils.

                I won’t say this isn’t true, but I will say GlaDoS and Shodan are up against blank-slate player avatars and are extremely memorable that way.

                The best characters require foils, otherwise their strengths will never show. Sometimes you can get away with the foil being normal society. Villains especially can pull that off, like Nolan’s Joker or Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. Some heroes can get away with it too, like Sherlock Holmes or Captain Willard from Apocalypse Now. Batman’s primary foil is ‘human limits’, which he overcomes by being absurdly smart and wealthy; he’s still memorable without the Joker, because he’s defying the nature of the world.

          2. Asdasd says:

            How are sales of comics doing generally? I don’t follow the scene at all, but I’d expect a mirroring of games: a shift to digital, a slow decline of physical, and publishers being coy with their data making it harder to tell what’s really going on.

            1. Hector says:

              They seem to be doing reasonably well in print. A B-tier title like Ms. Marvel can still shift thousands of units monthly. The top sellers do much more.

            2. Joe Informatico says:

              I sincerely doubt Marvel or DC would be remotely sustainable on their own anymore, but they’re basically just subsidized IP farms for their massive multimedia parent companies at this point so it doesn’t really matter. (And DC just had a massive housecleaning so clearly it exists at the whim of Warner Brothers.) Disney and WB could pay a room of union screenwriters six or seven figures each to come up with new superhero ideas, or they can pay comic scribes and artists near-slave wages for the same–guess which they prefer.

              And there can be a big divide between the sales of monthly issues, which mostly reflects the interest of neckbeards in their 30s and 40s who are barely keeping the direct market dedicated comic shops afloat these days, and the sales of collected trade paperback editions and digital versions, which have much broader appeal, but they frequently sell through non-traditional retail for comics (traditional bookstores, school book fairs, digital platforms) so sales figures are harder to find out. (E.g You’ll never know how well a title sold on Comixology unless Amazon wants you to know.)

          3. Gndwyn says:

            To be fair, the mainstream popularity of Carol Danvers, Captain (formerly Ms.) Marvel herself, is not much older than the Kamala Khan character. If the Guardians of the Galaxy can go mainstream, one good movie or TV show could do the same for the new Ms. Marvel.

            The real drawback of the character is that she was a product of the time Marvel became extremely petty about ignoring characters they didn’t have the movie rights for (there’s a T-shirt design based on a classic 80s Secret Wars comic cover where the X-Men and Fantastic Four have been airbrushed out and replaced with MCU characters). Kamala Kahn was rooted in their failed attempt to push aside Mutants in the Marvel Universe and tell those sorts of stories with Inhumans instead. All of which is tossed out the window now that Disney owns the X-Men. So who knows where that will leave Ms. Marvel.

        2. ElementalAlchemist says:

          the younger and more frequently female gamer community – the ones who helped make Tracer popular

          That’s what made Tracer popular? Not the fact that she wears spandex and sticks her ass out a lot?

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            People just love her backstory.

            1. ElementalAlchemist says:

              It’s pretty solid and well-rounded after all.

    2. Have you read any of the actual Ms. Marvel comics? Because if you do you might be surprised at how different that character is from what you think she is.

      1. Mattias42 says:

        Admittedly no.

        In my defence though, Plastic Man (the old TV cartoon in particular) had a bit of a five minutes of fame in my homeland when I was little, and he kinda ruined a lot of other super stretcher style heroes for me irreversibly.

        It’s just… hard to get excited for inflat-o fists that punches, when the dude you grew up with flew by folding himself into a paper airplane AND made you laugh, you know? Nothing I’ve heard of Ms. Marvel the character has made me want to search out any of her comics either, so… Yeah.

        1. Daimbert says:

          It’s even tougher with Marvel since for a more serious stretchy person, you already have Mr. Fantastic. So the powerset is not really new or original and most of the tricks that can be pulled with it have already been done, so you REALLY need the personality of the character to carry it.

          1. Asdasd says:

            Even for non-comic book fans in the mainstream your stretchy character has to compete with Mrs Incredible.

      2. Steve C says:

        The problem is Ms. Marvel is lame. I haven’t read it either because every version seems lame. My favorite version of Ms. Marvel is a coma patient that does nothing but slowly die while being psychically trapped in a corner of Rogue’s mind by Professor X. For the only reason I can tell is because Professor X though Ms. Marvel was lame.

        1. Boobah says:

          Well, Danvers was trapped in Rogue’s mind because Rogue kind of went overboard on using her power on Carol. Permanently got Ms. Marvel’s powers (which is why Rogue is a flying tank these days; her only mutant power is the drain) but also cut-and-pasted Carol’s psyche into her own. She flipped from Magneto’s Brotherhood to the X-Men because she wanted Xavier’s help in dealing with her unwelcome mental passenger.

    3. sheer_falacy says:

      “Weird minority people”? Really? Wow.

  9. BlueHorus says:

    An Avengers game. Where you don’t play as the Avengers.

    That kind of says it all, really. A big old bag of missed opportunities.
    It seems to me similar to those completely forgettable tie-in games that gets rushed out to be released alongside a new movie. You know, where you follow the plot of the film and it’s got generic ‘whatever’s popular at the moment’ gameplay and cameos by film characters…

    …except somehow they got THAT wrong, because the art style seems similar enough to evoke the films, yet different enough to be…wrong.

    1. Gndwyn says:

      But you do play as the Avengers like Thor and Iron Man and Hulk and Black Widow. You just start playing as one of the more obscure and recent Avengers from the comics. There have been literally hundreds of characters who have been Avengers at some point in the comics. I think they have a bigger roster than any team except the X-Men (bigger than the Legion or the Justice League, I think – Edit: the internet seems to think Justice League is about equal to X-Men and Avengers, unless you count the Grant Morrison story where everyone on Earth was temporarily a member of the Justice League).

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Oh okay. Did seem like a no-brainer, if you called the game Avengers…

  10. Grimwear says:

    Honestly I’m perplexed by the Ms. Marvel focus. I’ll be honest I don’t follow the comic book scene but when it was announced there was a lot of hate going around and I wanted to do some research myself. What I found was that while Ms. Marvel has sold 500k copies most of that were volume sales and most of that was from volume 1 back in 2014 so her popularity has gone down over time. Also, according to the places I checked it seems that individual comic sales are more important and based on the monthly issue numbers from February and going back 5 months she sits at around #160 in popularity with 13k units sold. For comparison in 2018 Gwenpool was selling 13k when it got cancelled. Iceman 10k and Luke Cage 8.5k. Ms. Marvel is sitting very close to that cutoff point which makes me wonder was Ms. Marvel added as a central character in order to try and boost her popularity? If so, it doesn’t seem to be working too well for the devs. Do they personally just really love the character or did Marvel push it? I’m assuming the latter since a quick google shows that in February there were articles being written about filming for a Ms. Marvel tv show. Which then loops to the original question of why make a tv show for an unpopular character to begin with? For diversity sake? I legitimately don’t know.

    1. Thomas says:

      Ms. Marvel has pretty strong digital sales compared to print sales. My guess is Marvel believe she’s a good onboard point for some new people to get into the fandom.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      My money is on “How do you do, fellow minorities.”

    3. Redrock says:

      Weeell, without getting too political, Ms. Marvel is probably the most successful of the new wave of superheroes Marvel has introduced in recent years to bolster their roster in terms of diversity. Certainly the most well-received by critics and fans alike, compared to some others, like Ironheart/Riri Williams. And even if you put the ethnic/religious/gender aspect aside, Kamala Khan is probably the most well-liked among the relatively new and young superheroes, apart from maybe our Oscar-winning boy Miles Morales. And she really works as the customary clueless protagonist that people shout exposition at. However you slice it, focusing on Kamala makes a lot of sense.

      1. Grimwear says:

        That may be true but at the same time is she actually successful? Thomas above mentioned digital sales and I looked but can’t find any numbers there. I figure that it’s like games where they don’t publish digital numbers unless they’re amazing so we’re stuck with physical. Also I know Shamus mentioned ages ago he was reading comics online through a subscription service. Do they show the amount of times a comic has been read on there? I’m not sure. I did find an article from October, 2019 which shows that physical sales for comics makes up 90% of the market.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/robsalkowitz/2019/10/08/surprising-new-data-shows-comic-readers-are-leaving-superheroes-behind/#4dfe76664d68

        So I’m left wondering…how successful is she really? I’m sure that each branch within comics have different goals for big vs small comics but as I said Ms. Marvel was on par with Gwenpool when Gwenpool got cancelled. And from here:

        https://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2020/2020-02.html

        We can see that Ms. Marvel was ranked 139 with 12.8k copies sold in February. What is interesting is that for March 2020 Ms. Marvel jumped to #108 with 16.3k units sold which I’d wager was due to the Avengers game coming out and her increased profile. But is 16k good and worth a spot on the poster? I don’t know. I’m not trying to say that you’re wrong and she isn’t successful but from the numbers I found I personally don’t see it. Also good thing Miles wasn’t the face of the game otherwise you’d only be able to play him on playstation….thanks Sony.

        1. Hector says:

          For reference, I would find it *hilarious* to introduce Gwenpool into the Deadpool movie series. She makes no sense and is a one-note joke, but she’s a funny one-note joke that would work very well in film. Also you could parody *Into the Spider Verse* or whatever.

        2. Dreadjaws says:

          May be cynical from my part but I think her “popularity” stems from a) her being a minority and as such much more likely to be promoted by today’s media and b) Marvel simply pushing her in comics to the detriment of other characters. It’s the same with Miles Morales, who was an entirely bland character until he was made interesting for the first time in “Into the Spiderverse”, yet he kept being shoved in into so many titles that to any outside viewer he would look much more popular than he really was (I hope the comic writers take some cues from Spiderverse, though, so the character can finally get some honest fame).

          There’s a common marketing tactic called “Wolverine Publicity”, where they take a popular character and shove him into other series as a guest (or sometimes they don’t, but they imply their appearance anyway) to boost the sales of series with low interest. You can see the MCU pulling this stunt with Iron Man, shoving him everywhere, even after his death. At some point, some guy in marketing severely misunderstood how this worked and started doing the opposite: shoving a character everywhere in hopes that it raises the popularity of that very same character. This absolutely does not work and often, in fact, results in the exact opposite (remember Poochie?). But, again, to an outsider…

          It’s kind of a shame, because just like Miles, Khamala has a lot of potential as a character, but it’s the victim of the classic “They’ll show up if we put a character that looks like them, so we don’t need to put any effort in the writing” tactic.

          It’s already pretty annoying when a writer does this kind of thing to boost their preferred characters (like how Garth Ennis turns any superhero who faces the Punisher into a complete imbecile in order to make the latter look better in comparison), but when a company does it tends to be a sales killer. Comic companies tend to sidestep this issue by soft rebooting low-selling series every few months. They don’t really make any changes to the content, but they start the series from #1 again, which always generates a boost in sales. It’s a tactic that works, but with diminishing returns. Saying that the comics industry is in trouble is an understatement. Well, DC just fired a bunch of people and frankly they have no one to blame but themselves.

        3. Moridin says:

          Comparatively speaking? As someone who pays virtually no attention to superhero comics, I’ve heard of her quite a lot. Miles I mostly know about because, he was/is the Spider-man. Ironheart? Never heard of him. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that she’s the most popular among “new” superheroes from Marvel.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            Among my non-comic-following peer group, everyone’s heard of Miles while “Ms. Marvel” evokes only the MCU’s Captain and Kamala Khan gets “who?”. Going to Google as a shoddy attempt to numerically quantify fame, Miles has over ten times the search results for Kamala (either as a name, or name + hero title).

      2. Ciennas says:

        I never read her books because money, but I loved the idea of Riri.

        Honestly, if the comic characters weren’t immortal, it would be a logical stepping off point, handing the legacy off to a prodigy.

        Perfectly good ground to hand off to a new hand and compare and contrast.

        Legend of Korra handled it pretty well.

        1. Daimbert says:

          While I didn’t read it — I wasn’t happy about her taking on an identity rather than simply stepping into the role — what you mention here was done fairly well with Wolverine->X-23 (who became Wolverine after his “death”). The reason is that she was well-established and they had had a lot of interaction before she stepped in to take over the mantle, so it made sense and was the culmination of the relationship. That isn’t what happened with Ironheart or Ms. Marvel.

    4. John says:

      I was going to get into things like trade paperback sales, Ms. Marvel’s regular appearance in books other than her own, and her inclusion in other Marvel media properties–various cartoons on Disney+, for example–but forget all that. It doesn’t matter. Here’s what’s really important: What do the sales of Ms. Marvel’s book have to do with anything? Specifically, what have they got to do with the quality of the game? If using Ms. Marvel serves the story well, why not use her? If the game sucks, then the game sucks, but to me it sounds like Ms. Marvel is the least of the game’s problems–assuming, of course, that she is a problem. I’m not convinced that she is.

      1. Daimbert says:

        I guess the issue is that if you’re pushing a game on the basis of getting to play as the Avengers, it’s a bit odd to start with a completely unknown character who isn’t at all popular, which then will prompt people to ask why that character was chosen as the lead or starting point. And Ms. Marvel herself isn’t uncontroversial, and has a history of being shoved into places where more popular characters might be better fits, and so there’s a feeling that this might be another case like this, which then makes people leery about the game.

        The idea isn’t necessarily a bad one. The first X-Men Legends game took the more obscure Magma — they wanted Kitty Pryde but her powers really didn’t work in a game — and made her the lead character. But the story was built entirely around that, so it worked. From what has been said, they are at least potentially trying to do that here as well, but Ms. Marvel is a bit TOO well-known but also not popular enough for that role, so they’d have to handle it well to pull it off.

        1. John says:

          Forgive me, but your argument is hard to follow. In one paragraph, you say that Ms. Marvel is “completely unknown”. In the next, you say that she’s “TOO well-known”. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but my best guess is that what you mean is that “most people don’t know who she is and the people who do know who she is don’t like her very much.” If so, I don’t entirely agree with you, but I don’t want to get into that right now.

          And, again, it’s not really relevant to what I’m talking about. The thing that I don’t like about this discussion is that it sounds uncomfortably like the dialogue that Shamus writes when he wants to mock executives at big publishers. “No, developers, you can’t use a younger, lesser-known character in your game. So what if she’s mechanically interesting and her inclusion serves the story? We don’t understand or care about any of that. We hate anything that resembles risk, so you’ll use only the characters that everybody knows from the movies and you’ll like it!” I mean, are we worried about the quality of the game or are we worried about how well we think it’s going to sell? Are we Square-Enix all of a sudden or what?

          1. Daimbert says:

            “No, developers, you can’t use a younger, lesser-known character in your game. So what if she’s mechanically interesting and her inclusion serves the story? We don’t understand or care about any of that. We hate anything that resembles risk, so you’ll use only the characters that everybody knows from the movies and you’ll like it!”

            Your summary here is exactly the reason for my pointing out that Ms. Marvel is too unknown and also ironically too well-known to work here. If you wanted a younger, lesser-known character as the lead, you would do something like Legends did and pull up someone like Magma: been around, but isn’t well-known nor has been used as a figurehead for a generation of characters. Legends originally wanted to use Kitty Pryde, who was better known but whose entire storyline was the Legends one, so it would have been essentially telling her backstory as the plot for the game (as noted, her powers didn’t work for a game). So in the first case, we have an actual relative unknown stepping into the role, and in Kitty’s case we’d have a storyline targeted to a popular incarnation of the character.

            With Ms. Marvel, though, she’s been used as a figurehead and so is well-known, and so it looks like they are using her to attempt to drive sales. But she isn’t popular enough to do that on her own, which suggests that the game is following the comic model that people are looking oddly at: using her as some kind of selling point when she in general isn’t one, which doesn’t bode well for it being a quality work as attempts to do that generally don’t work. And unlike Magma or Kitty, if comic fans go looking to see who that character is they won’t find a minor character that can easily slot into an unknown protagonist role, nor a storyline (I think, anyway) that really fits with Ms. Marvel’s backstory. This returns us to “They are using her because they think she’s cool and want us to think she’s cool, too” which, again, is never a good sign.

            So, as I said, in order to make this work they will really, really have to do it well. And maybe they will. But when you start with what would have to be a brave mood from a company and a game that usually aren’t that brave and seem to be dedicated to squeezing money out of the license, it’s reasonable to be a bit skeptical.

    5. Steve C says:

      I’ve never heard of Gwenpool before. I looked it up. Wow! A character from the real world who knows she is the main character in a comic book universe she knows well. So she goes full Grand Theft Auto on it, Deadpool style. That’s an isekai I want to see.

    6. Syal says:

      February and going back 5 months she sits at around #160 in popularity

      Holy crackers, are they really publishing 160 superhero comics at the same time?!

    7. Xedo says:

      The thing to remember about Kamala Khan is that from around 2010 until the Fox acquisition, Marvel had a weird relationship with X-Men and FF because they realized that the movies are where the money is, and they couldn’t make movies with those characters. Marvel was incentivized to minimize comics for those brands, because why make more characters and storylines that can be blockbuster movies to compete with their own movies?

      This led to a major push to make the Inhumans a hit, because they could fill roughly the same niche as the X-men – a community of superbeings, where everybody has a random, unique power. There was a LOT of inhuman-related content that I expect has been drying up rapidly ever since the Fox acquisition, since Marvel can now just lean into the popularity of the x-men instead of trying to replace them.

      Anyway, Kamala Khan was probably the most popular result of the corporate mandate to create inhuman characters that could replace the x-men. I think she has a very intense popularity with a small niche of fans, so is probably not well suited to being the mascot character Marvel was pushing, but was selling well enough she was their best bet. And this game’s development definitely started well before the Fox acquisition when that mascot push was hitting a fever pitch.

      (This is just a theory, Marvel has never come out and said they were trying to tank or supplant their own characters due to movie licensing drama).

    8. Gndwyn says:

      It’s possible they just thought her powers would work well with the game (and they weren’t allowed to use Reed Richards).

      (In Lego Marvel 2, Ms. Marvel does all the stuff Mr. Fantastic did in the first Lego Marvel game made before Marvel got petty about sidelining characters they didn’t have movie rights for.)

  11. Ikirri says:

    I just have to note, in Jim’s video, just how much that game level looks straight out of the recent Deus Ex games. It’s just the exact same sort of corporate building with a black and gold color scheme and some hexagon patterns tossed in for flavor.

  12. Mephane says:

    So this is what you get when a couple of marketing people get drunk and play Bingo with cards themed around video game monetization.

    Full price purchase. Check!

    More expensive special edition. Check!

    Platform exclusive content. Check!

    Arbitrary crossmarketing. Check!

    Cash shop for cosmetics. Check!

    Battle Pass. Check!

    Time gating the battle pass progress. Check!

    Pay to skip ahead in the Battle Pass. Check!

    All they need to do now for a full Bingo is to add lootboxes and sell upcoming heroes as premium DLC on top of this whole shit package.

    Well, at least the gameplay itself also looks so mediocre that I don’t think I am going to miss out on anything by never touching this game.

  13. Henson says:

    I remember just how hard they were selling this game at E3, devoting a full fifteen minutes full of movie-like cinematics and an ‘artistic’ roundtable of famous voice actors. It felt pretty odd at the time, and now just feels silly.

  14. Dreadjaws says:

    On top of all of this, it seems like the entire game is built around a massive and obvious missed opportunity. In the game, you get to play as a brand new hero. This seems like a great way to sell people costume bits and super-powers. You give the audience a character creator and let them choose between Jennifer Hale or Nolan North[3] for their voice. You can sell it with some lame predictable catchphrase like, “Become your own hero!” or “Join the Avengers!”. Imagine the fun people could have making a character to either embrace or subvert the world around them. This would feed into streaming culture and give you the ability to sell the players even more crap that should have been part of the base game. If you’re going to be grasping and artistically bankrupt, the least you can do is be good at being grasping and artistically bankrupt.

    I’m not sure how much that tactic would work. A major complaint of DC Universe Online is that you kinda end up playing second fiddle to the established DC heroes. And Marvel tried this tactic with an X-Men game last gen (X-Men: Destiny), which didn’t do well at all (though the crappy gameplay was at fault more than anything).

    I mean, sure, making your own superhero is a major draw, but you’d have better luck in a new universe, so you wouldn’t feel like a sidekick. Or maybe they could have you be someone who rescues the Avengers, but then they wouldn’t really be able to use the original team to promote the game. Can you imagine? “The Avengers game! The Avengers are NOWHERE TO BE SEEN because THEY GOT CAPTURED LIKE CHUMPS and it’s your job to find them, as THE REAL HERO!” You can make a game like that and make it be good, but you can’t call it “The Avengers”.

    1. Syal says:

      One of the Spiderman games had several other heroes join up, and then they all get infected with Symbiote and Spidey has to whomp his way through them. That’s always an option; these universes have evil mirror universes, brainwashing, doppelgangers and all kinds of nonsense, you can make the Avengers the boss fights if you want to.

      EDIT: especially with a shapeshifter hero; you get an evil shapeshifter doing evil things, and the Avengers are all convinced it’s the player, and you have to convince them otherwise WITH YOUR FISTS.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      I mean, sure, making your own superhero is a major draw, but you’d have better luck in a new universe, so you wouldn’t feel like a sidekick.

      I was just thinking that a game like that sounds pretty cool, actually. Your character could be someone who’s only just become a superhero, and is being brought into an already-existing roster of a few such superheros (the Avengers-equivalent). Character creation could involve choosing your backstory, how you got your powers (fell into vat of radioactive acid/bitten by genetically-modified chinchilla/etc.) and picking a sort of “class” that defines what abilities you get over time. Then you could cleverly integrate a skill tree you unlock by leveling up in-game as “discovering new facets of your powers”, which could potentially allow you to play the game very differently depending on your choices. If you keep the number of unlocks low (and suitably game-changing/impressive as a result, not just 2% damage) you could even have the PC/other characters note and remark upon your new powers so unlocking a new one feels less “gamey” and more like a part of the story.

      I’m sure a game like this will never happen, but it sounds like fun.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        “You’re a brand new superhero whose ability is mimicking those of heroes you spend time with. Follow different Avengers around, learning their powers and getting to know the job.”

        Boom. You’ve got your own custom character, with unlockable, switchable playstyles. All the big names turn up as NPC support (or as playable options, behind paywalls) and you end up being able to pick and choose how you want to go about the missions.

        Hell, with the characters reduced to power sets, you can sell different versions of them as cosmetic options. Do you want to be Iron Man or Iron Heart? Hulk or She-Hulk? Peter Parker, Miles Morales, or – why not – Peter Porker? And so on and so forth.

        1. Hector says:

          And if they can’t feasibly do all the powersets – which a legitimate concern because that is a lot to manage – then pick one. Stretchy powers are fine that’s what they want. But sell the heck out of it. Make them feel amazing to use. And you can still sell a million cosmetics or whatnot.

          The biggest concern I have for this game is they seem to have designed the monetization first. The game was an afterthought. You’d think that at some point Disney would reassess why it’s making billion of dollars in every conceivable medium except games and adjust their plans, but… nah.

          1. Shamus says:

            Thinking about this more:

            The choice of powerset is also really unfortunate. Stretchy body is a power like Green Lantern’s ability to summon any green object: That sort of thing is fantastic in the context of a comic that’s constructed a panel at a time. Hal Jordan can summon an anvil as easily as a parachute, a rocket, a car, or an ice cream scoop. Likewise, Reed Richards can bend in visually interesting ways on every panel.

            But in the context of a game, these sorts of powers usually get reduced to “summon big fist”, because there’s no way to control imagination-driven powers with a controller and animating such a thing would be wildly impractical.

            1. Christopher says:

              I think stretchy powers can work really well, but it depends on the execution. Superhero comics tend to have them like slither around, like they’re snakemen. I’m not super familiar with Kamala, but one google search of “ms marvel powers” gives you three panels up front of her doing the dodge by turning her middle into a snake-move.

              The obvious counterpoint to that kinda loosey-goosey stretchy design is Luffy from One Piece. He’s more like a martial artist who’s limbs just keep going after he does a move. You really feel the elasticity as his arm gets thrown far back, and then snaps rapidly forward like a projectile. One Piece games aren’t all that great, they Haven’t had their Dragon Ball FighterZ equivalent yet, but even in something as budget as Pirate Warriors 3 had a very fun main character to play because he’s so well rounded and snappy as a character. When you’re in there beating up on guys, every hit feels impactful. You get some sweet responsive moves and then some nice anticipation for the moves that need a little charge or aiming first.

              And it’s not like it’s unpopular. People are up there citing Ms. Marvel sales but looking up the numbers, One Piece has sold a whopping 470 million volumes with a lead rubberman.

              This wasn’t hugely related to the issue at hand I suppose. Except to say that the gameplay in Avengers doesn’t look that fun, lol. Guess I’ll try the demo whe it comes out and see how it feels but my hopes aren’t high.

      2. Pink says:

        That is literally the second South Park game.

    3. Daimbert says:

      One of the issues with Destiny, though, is that at least on the consoles you couldn’t create your own character, but had to select from pre-existing characters that weren’t part of the universe. So you didn’t get to have a game where you yourself or your own character was there, but were playing as a set character that you had no relation to, which is more problematic. Thus, it was kinda splitting the difference.

      And DCUO is a case of doing it to themselves, because there’s no reason for a superhero MMO to sidekick you to established heroes (which it often does in boss fights, or at least did when I had my cup of coffee in it years ago). There’s lots of crime you can stop — as City of Heroes and Champions Online — at low-levels until you get powerful enough to participate fully with the greater heroes and bigger issues.

      And while it wasn’t a created character, as I mentioned above the “newbie coming onto an established team” was done pretty well in the first X-Men Legends game, so it can be done.

  15. Hakura says:

    Posting this in good faith: Saying it’s a mistake to have a character in the game and they should be replaced with a character creater because they haven’t been in a movie yet feels like an icky line of argument.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      Suppose that it was a completely new character created for the game. If you’re a fan of authorial control in games you might still disagree with Shamus’ point, but I think his line of argument would at least be clear in that case: if we’re gonna be making up new characters, wouldn’t most people rather make up their own? Now consider the actual case: a new-ish obscure-ish character most of the audience have never heard of. A few of them will play the game, like the character, and go seek out her comics because of it. But for those that don’t, is the experience any different from if the character had been created for the game? And if it isn’t, shouldn’t the same argument apply?

    2. Asdasd says:

      An ‘icky’ argument? What does that mean?

  16. Dev Null says:

    I clicked through to the Jim Sterling video to get a better look at the graphics and gameplay and… wow. It looks like they’re playing City of Heroes. Big open spaces loosely-sprinkled with a collection of cubes; much as I loved that game, it _was_ 2005, so at least they had an excuse. They could have stolen the character-creation from _that_ game and had some _real_ monetization prospects in selling powers and cosmetics. Instead they give you a stale lineup with one new (to 99% of the audience) character whose powerset in that video looks to be “punch extra far”. And didn’t even make it pretty.

    1. Geebs says:

      Despite the full resources of the internet, I was unable to find a single cube-themed supervillain. Not even DC has one, which frankly beggars belief.

  17. MerryWeathers says:

    This is the quintessential Square Enix game, something that looks good enough to make it belong in current-gen but actually watch the gameplay and it feels like it came out in 2007.

  18. Geebs says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever managed to stay awake through an entire Avengers movie. I wonder if it’s possible to fall asleep while playing a video game? The post-release inclusion of Hawkeye feels like a double-dog dare from Square Enix in that respect.

    1. Asdasd says:

      After nearly falling asleep in the pointless hour long wankfest that was the ‘climactic’ battle in the first, I was done. Not with Avengers films, with superhero films (handing Spiderman 2 the permanent title of Only One I’ve Ever Enjoyed). I’d never have thought it would be possible for Joss Whedon to make a film that boring.

  19. DeadlyDark says:

    One thing that makes me too angry about this game, is that Eidos Montreal resources are used to make this, instead of, you know, continuing Mankind Divided. Thank you Square Enix, thank you.

    1. Thomas says:

      Watch them shutter the studio if it goes wrong too :(

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        For some reason, I feel its a given. Wish I’m wrong

  20. Baron Tanks says:

    At this point the only thing I’m mildly interesting is to see how well the game performs, to gauge a bit more of what the market looks like these days. Basically since the second this game was amount the response has been neutral to underwhelming/negative. I see nothing to change that perception now. On top of that, movie tie-ins have a terrible reputation as products for those in the know, while this is not a literal movie tie-in, it has all the hallmarks of one. So it’s basically a boxing match of those negative points, versus market inertia, production values and the ‘mom-factor’*. Will this be a total wash, a Square-Enix style disappointment** or will it do just fine? I’m kind of curious to find out.

    *”Oh this is that stuff I know, surely Billy will like this .” The selling power of brand recognition over any indicators of quality.
    **Like the news reports on some of the recent Tomb Raiders and I think Deus Ex too: selling millions but being considered a disappointment, cause someone convinced themselves they would pull top 5 kind of numbers

    1. Lino says:

      I’m also very interested in seeing that! Unfortunately, I think it’ll do just fine. Disappointing by shareholders’ standards, but still just successful enough to warrant more of the vapid, cynical live service games we’ve come to expect.

  21. Alex says:

    Ahh, Shamus and Jim Sterling need to make a joint video.

  22. BlueBlazeSpear says:

    My first reaction when I saw people talking about this game in their E3 reviews was, “Who was asking for this game?” It may be the case that I’m now officially too old to be in the loop for knowing such things, but my only real reaction to it was “Why is this game happening?”

    Oddly enough, I just so happened to have already watched both Alanah’s and Jim Sterling’s videos about this game despite me having no interest in the game. I guess because I could tell from the titles/thumbnails that they probably wouldn’t have much nice to say, which made me curious.

    The beginning of Alanah’s video is kind of comical with her sitting through all of those splash screens just waiting to get to the actual game. And it was interesting when she pointed out what seemed to be mass murder every time Iron Man used his chest laser.

    But the gameplay annoyed me for a more basic reason: The concessions that have to be made to confine super powers in a brawler game. It took multiple hits from Thor’s hammer to take down a single mook just in the same way that it took multiple punches from Hulk to take down a single mook. I get why they have to do this for the sake of gameplay, but it just looks wrong and makes no sense in-universe. It almost looks as wrong as Avengers wearing Monster Energy Drink outfits or whatever advertiser is throwing money at them.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      But the gameplay annoyed me for a more basic reason: The concessions that have to be made to confine super powers in a brawler game. It took multiple hits from Thor’s hammer to take down a single mook just in the same way that it took multiple punches from Hulk to take down a single mook. I get why they have to do this for the sake of gameplay, but it just looks wrong and makes no sense in-universe.

      Ditto every Star Wars game where your lightsaber has to pass through someone’s torso five times before they fall over.

      1. Lino says:

        That’s the main reason I never played the KOTOR games. I’ve been bread on Jedi Outcast, Jedi Academy, and – of course – the movies. When I hit you with a lightsaber, you should be dead. So, I get extremely turned off whenever I see game designers treating lightsabers like nothing more than glorified baseball bats.

    2. Gndwyn says:

      To me it raises the opposite question. How can the hugest, most-successful genre films in history have been going non-stop for ten years without someone making a big AAA-budget video game tie-in? I would have expected we’d have several games like this by now. The closest thing we’ve had are kid stuff like the Lego games and the Disney Infinity thing that was mostly a vehicle for selling toys.

      1. Lino says:

        And mobile games. So…. many….. mobile games…………

      2. Syal says:

        Iron Man had one. And Thor. The receptions may have put them off continuing.

  23. Douglas Sundseth says:

    Today’s Penny Arcade is on point:

    Avengers Resemble

    1. raifield says:

      I can’t believe Penny Arcade is still a thing. I’m 37 years old and was reading that in high school.

      And MegaTokyo is somehow still going. Damn I’m old.

      1. ccesarano says:

        I was chatting with my friend last night as his son was playing Minecraft about how I still remember hearing about the game through Penny Arcade’s comic of it. It is one of the last comics I’ve kept reading every time it updates.

        I remember being on the MegaTokyo forums back in high school as well. I actually went back to check and find some of my old forum posts last year. It’s weird to discover how long some of this stuff has lasted, given that there’s nothing like the “Sunday Funnies” to gather and present them in a reliable format for so many years.

      2. Shamus says:

        MegaTokyo is still going???

        Moreover, it looks like the page title is STILL “MegaTokyo – relax, we understand j00”. That’s a bit of internet slang that’s about two decades out of date.

        Wow.

        1. Asdasd says:

          Given how it was in its heyday, I can only assume there were a lot of hiatuses.

        2. raifield says:

          The banner celebrates ten years, 2000 – 2010. Everything about MegaTokyo is out of date, hence my surprise.

          It’s kind of sad though. You can go back to the beginning and read Fred’s excited, optimistic posts about this new web comic he just started with his friend Rodney and then just follow the whole thing along twenty years as he and Rodney split apart, his friends drift away, his wife dies (I think), and as of today, his mother is dying in hospice, and his father has advanced Parkinson’s.

          Twenty years of this man’s life chronicled via his web comic and it honestly looks like it went utterly to shit.

          1. Retsam says:

            Speaking of 20 year webcomics and hiatuses, the main story arc of Schlock Mercenary ended just a few weeks ago. Started June 12 2000, ended on July 24 2020, and posted a new update on every single day between those two dates. A twenty year (and forty-four day) runs without a single missed update. Insane.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Welp, guess it’s time to dust off that bookmark and start reading it.

        3. TLN says:

          To be fair what else is that guy going to do with his life at this point then just continue making MegaTokyo

  24. Adeon says:

    I just instinctively read “liiiive service” in Jim’s voice before clicking on the footnote and realizing that you wrote it that way as a direct reference.

    1. eaglewingz says:

      And after watching the video once I’m pretty sure whenever I read “AAA game” I’ll hear it in Jim’s voice, too.

  25. Christopher says:

    Not sure if this game is gonna come up again, but having now played the PS4 public beta for a few hours, I feel the need to share some impressions.

    – The direction of the game as a whole is as generic and boring as it seemed. All the music sounds like generic movie music. The direction for the cinematic cutscenes, QTEs, finishers etc largely doesn’t have much style or impact, compared to others in the action game space. The enemies are personalityless grunts and robots. You’re getting a current cartoon version of the Avengers, written for kids down to 5, but presented as similarly to the MCU avengers as they can manage. It can’t do playful and adventurous, and it can’t do serious and heartfelt. I think that’s the most damning thing about it. I feel very little while playing it, and none of those feelings come from the story.

    – The English dub made me change the audio to French, and I don’t know any French. It feels like a clear improvement. Thor doesn’t bellow his lines anymore. Kamala says genial instead of awesome . All the grunts sound Frencher too, which really tickles me. Everyone goes ARGH in the English dub, but EURGH in the French.
    – The actual gameplay here is totally fine. It’s not as deep or engaging as a pure action game like Devil May Cry 5 or anything, but it feels perfectly fun to move around and attack. I encountered nothing janky besides the French dub occasionally switching back to English on its own and Hulk doing some Skyrim moves if you jump into certain cliffaces.

    – The topic of difficulty came up for Fallen Order. I played this on Hard, which was definitely the right one for me. The action is pretty lenient and the checkpoints are frequent. You’re not punished in ay way for falling down a gap. On hard, it was challenging enough to not be a sleepwalk for me, and I died here and there.

    – Hulk in particular has a “Rage” meter that fills up as he punches, and when you activate it your attacks instead heal you until it drains away. Forgetting about it isn’t an option, on hard at least he dies pretty quickly without good management. Having said that, the only enemies I needed to think about were shield guys(use the charged heavy attack), ranged attackers(range attack them back) and the heavy robots(actually time your dodges a little). The rest was entirely on autopilot.

    – I don’t think there’s any hope for the story, but there is a decently playing, if simple game underneath. I thought it was a pretty fun time to just go to town as Hulk for the majority of my playtime, but it is kind of so mindless that fatigue was already setting in. Things might get better with more unlocks, a higher difficulty or some exciting story missions, but I don’t really feel like this will ever be a fantastic action game. It seems like a pretty decent buy on sale, though. Easy but comfortable gameplay and a story you don’t wanna bother with maybe doesn’t sound like the most appealing game, but it does also have multiplayer. I can see it doing just fine as a friend hangout game or podcast game. It’s pretty dull. But it’s not bad. It’s a solid game with some really boring design decisions hanging over the rest of it. At least, according to this beta.

  26. RCN says:

    IF they wanted to make this multiplayer, there was such an easy concept. Make it so that player play against each other and people can go either as heroes or as villains. And if they go as villains they have a more RTS like gameplay where they send danger and distractions in the way of the heroes while he tries to focus on his real objective.

    But that’s expecting too much from triple A publishers…

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