The Marvel Cinematic Universe is good and fun. I have a good and fun time watching those movies. But invariably, in most of those film’s third acts, a CGI-riddled climactic set piece rocks my cognitive functions into oblivion, glazes my eyes over, and pummels my ability to concentrate and differentiate into mush. I’m still having a good and fun time, but I also have a bit of a headache. This recently released gameplay from Marvel’s Avengers, a Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montréal/Square Enix video game take on the well-known IP, delivers a similar effect.
Now, obviously, the idea of playing as the Avengers in a Naughty Dog-esque story-driven action video game is a good one. It worked in Arkham Asylum, it worked in Spider-Man — hell, to a more self-contained degree, it worked in the recent Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3! And it’s obviously hard to judge an entire game by an out-of-context sequence. But man, does this chunk of PS4 gameplay, in which Casual Shirt Thor (Travis Willingham, unsure of what he was wearing while recording) hammers his way through a bunch of robots while literally everything that could ever happen happens around him.
Metallic monsters pummel into each other. The Incredible Hulk screams and bashes into pieces of tech. Iron Man (Nolan North, Naughty Dog’s own quippy superstar) quips jokes about his haircut. Gameplay seamlessly moves between “gameplay” and “emphasis on story cinematics” with contemporary prestige aplomb. A story with stakes seems to be getting implied at. But it’s all just thrown at the screen, with no sense of nuance, control, or intention. Will it be “fun” to actually play this sequence? It just might be. But if it’s anything like merely watching this sequence, it will primarily be confusing, chaotic, and in need of some damn focus.
Check out the PS4 gameplay for Marvel’s Avengers below. The title comes to PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on September 4, 2020 — with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions made available on those console launches.