I was genuinely surprised at how good, cohesive and complete the Avengers campaign was, and from a lot of comments I’ve read, I’m not the only one.
It feels like, at least partially due to the way they doled out reveal information, not enough emphasis was put on the fact that this was, in fact, a game with a good-sized story that you can play through alone. The focus then became about how Destiny-like Avengers was going to be, and possibly skewed the expectation for the game.
And yes, the Destiny comparison is apt; the missions are structured for that certain type of gameplay, and once you finish the campaign, the bulk of the endgame is definitely Destiny in style. But when I compare the amount of time I spent on the campaign, to the amount of time I’m spending on superfluous stuff (challenges, collecting gear, etc), it doesn’t feel drastically far off from PS4’s Spider-man.
I played dozens of hours of Spider-man (it’s actually one of the few games I’ve Platinum Trophied), but only 15-ish of those were on the campaign itself. The rest was running around the city collecting stuff, or grinding out challenges and sidequests. Spider-man’s narrative was much tighter because it didn’t have to balance mechanics that also needed to work for a multiplayer mission-based looter, but the rest of the game was still a lot of repetitive mission-grinding (perhaps one Fisk hideout was in a slightly different warehouse than another, but it was still the exact same gameplay loop over and over).
Now, having played a lot of Avengers (through the campaign and into endgame), I really feel like they could (or should) have marketed the game differently. Frontloaded promotion of the game’s campaign more (because again, the story of reassembling the Avengers is solid, and Kamala Khan is an absolute gem), and then also revealed that the game opens up at the end for some ongoing leveling and challenges and expansions.
Instead it feels like the media coverage for this game was dominated first by the non-MCUness of the cast (a problem that also could have been nipped in the bud had they showed more of the campaign stuff early on because these Avengers are plenty likeable), and then by the fact that it was planning to be a game-as-service (which for a lot of people immediately means endless treadmill with no sense of completion or accomplishment).
But the campaign does provide a sense of completion. It’s a good 10-15 hours of narrative, where you can play as a variety of Avengers, face off against a big-bad, and then bring that story to conclusion. And you could stop there, the same way you could stop playing Spider-man after the campaign is done. But, if you enjoy the gameplay, you can then seek out more of that gameplay in a Destiny-style endgame.
Again, I’m not trying to downplay the core gameplay loop here, which involves running missions, finding gear, doing dailies and all of that stuff that, if you get into it, will far outweigh the time investment of the campaign itself. That’s definitely a big part of Avengers (and I enjoy it, but it may not be for everyone). I just think they may have shot themselves in the foot a bit by not playing up one of the game’s strongest features: the story. And you clearly can’t always decide what the audience at large is going to grasp onto as talking points, but having followed this game with interest since its initial tease, I don’t believe they were talking about the right things in the right order.
Even the beta, by cutting out an important precursor to the opening story mission, did not do the game justice. I think a lot more people would have gotten invested in the concept as a whole if they’d realized there was an actual narrative to follow, and not just a loot grinder in a super hero suit.