Square Enix ran a nearly hour-long livestream today for Marvel's Avengers (opens in new tab), first rolling a new trailer and then diving deeper into combat and character customization. You can watch the whole stream embedded above.
Despite enjoying the Marvel movies, I'm having trouble getting on board with this one. The trailer doesn't give me a lot of confidence in this story—it starts with what feels like a parody of cliche whispery villain monologuing with a drawn out metaphor, and then shows lots of infighting amongst the Avengers in the wake of Captain America's death, which all feels a bit melodramatic when we all know Cap will, of course, come back.
Combat looks impressive from the perspective of how many unique combos and abilities the different Avengers will have—I'm definitely down for some fancy Thor hammer throws—but the enemies themselves look uninspired. Thor calling down a big bolt of lightning right next to the Hulk, buffing both of them? Cool. Using that buff to beat up the same exact mech you've already beaten up three times? Not nearly as exciting, really.
The livestream goes into detail about how many of the hero abilities were pulled from "signature moves" from the comics and movies. Assault moves are a basic offensive attack, while support moves (like Thor's lightning charge-up) are for buffing your fellow Avengers.
There's a pretty extensive skill tree for each hero, which we got a glimpse of here.
As uninspired as the enemies look, gear seems more fun—aside from the basic stats, there are also modifiers, like Pym particles that shrink enemies when you hit them. Now that's a good idea!
There are also a ton of outfits for each Avenger pulled from the comics, though the trailer mentions some of them will only be available if you purchase them "from our online marketplace," which presumably means spending real money. I'm very pro-Gladiator Hulk, though.
The framerate looks a little rough in the footage we've seen so far, but hopefully that shapes up by the time Marvel's Avengers is out on September 4.
The livestream is being criticized for reasons unrelated to the gameplay, as well. It was narrated by Crystal Dynamics editorial director Casey Lynch, formerly editor-in-chief at IGN. In recent days, his behavior at IGN has been called out (opens in new tab) by current and former employees for perpetuating a toxic work culture along with two other senior managers at the time.