Crystal Dynamics just hosted their July War Table livestream (opens in new tab), outlining the details for their upcoming Marvel's Avengers beta (opens in new tab), which kicks off in August. Despite its initial negative reception, it finally looks as though players are beginning to get excited for the superhero action game.
Since Marvel's Avengers was unveiled at E3 2019, fans have been concerned about its visuals. These were less than impressive in the reveal trailer, and it's fair to say that a sizable portion of the community was surprised that Crystal Dynamics wasn't leaning on the likenesses of the MCU actors, instead introducing a different Avengers gang. Leaked footage surfaced shortly after the announcement, but it only served to rattle fans further.
Even after Crystal Dynamics shared a chunk of gameplay, players were quick to highlight its flaws. Despite outlining that the game was still very much an early work-in-progress, the brief demo's slow combat fuelled criticism that dismissed it as boring and unimaginative. With a catalogue of countless comics dating back to the 1960s, the expansion of the MCU has rocketed the Avengers into the spotlight in recent years. With interest in Marvel's squad of unstoppable heroes at an all-time high, it was disappointing to see a game focused on some of the most popular, and exciting characters rejected by the community so early in development.
Seemingly against all odds, the most recent war table livestream has caused a noticeable shift in players' impressions. The game that was brutally criticised for its weak combat animations, rough models, and dicey framerate just a year ago is showing marked improvements. The footage shown this week has given us a glimpse of a far more polished game, complete with more exciting options for combat and level traversal. Crystal Dynamics has made an effort to fill in some of the blanks from previous showings, providing a closer look at characters we haven't seen as much in previous trailers. Thankfully, these superhuman beings finally look as though they pack a punch, and I'm especially excited to decimate enemies as Hulk, before hopping off to the next wave of foes like a furious, oversized frog.
Fresh gameplay has already started to reassure players, but Marvel's Avengers open betas will also offer a surprisingly generous combination of modes. Alongside the Golden Gate Bridge mission, there's a solid pool of hero missions, War Zones, Drop Zones and HARM training rooms to try out. Having the option to play solo, or with up to three pals is a nice addition, and there's room to unlock and experiment with some of the heroes' skills and abilities. While it seems like a bold move after such a poor start, the beta aims to give a proper taste of how the full release will feel to play. There's still plenty of aspects that have been locked off to avoid spoilers, but judging by the trailers, it looks as though we'll have a good idea of what we're getting into with Marvel's Avengers soon—and it actually looks quite fun.
Crystal Dynamics has also announced some of the game's DLC plans. We now know that Hawkeye will come to Marvel's Avengers in a post-launch update (opens in new tab), and all post-launch heroes will be free. Considering Hawkeyes' popularity, and the fact that the community has been asking about him since the game was first announced, I imagine this has only won more people over.
Crystal Dynamics went out on a limb when they showed gameplay a year before launch, and at the time it seemed as though they had made a huge mistake. Following a delay, and a couple of war table streams, Marvel's Avengers could now have the potential to meet fans' high expectations.