Marvel’s Avengers’ biggest mistake is that it wants to be a game you can play forever, without offering the variety to sustain such ambitions. Its cast of characters – spanning household names like Captain America and Iron Man – all have entertaining combat suites, but once you’ve reassembled Earth’s ultimate God Squad across the ten or so hour campaign, you’ll be left repeating the same activities over and over with no obvious, ahem, endgame.
The title has improved immensely since its original PlayStation 4 launch, adding two new characters and mission branches, as well as a 60 frames-per-second option on PS5 which transforms the flow of the gameplay – but it still relies far too heavily on uninteresting objectives, which see you protecting designated strongholds while fighting off samey foes. All of this is in pursuit of strength-enhancing gear, which doesn’t even change your appearance.
Played in co-op with friends or strangers the action is undeniably intense, although it can look grainy on Sony’s next-gen console. There’s excellent support for the DualSense controller, with the triggers rattling and shaking under your fingertips as you execute larger-than-life attacks. And the story, which revolves around the elasticated Kamala Khan, has its fair share of tender moments – but the package as a whole simply doesn’t have the density it needs to realise its potential.
There will be case studies written about this release in the years to come, because it should have been a sure-fire slam dunk, and yet it feels like a missed opportunity. Make no mistake, the title has got better – and with the announcement of Black Panther, developer Crystal Dynamics remains committed to iterating on it for the foreseeable future – but as we alluded to in our Marvel’s Avengers PS4 review, there’s a disconnect between the promise of this product and what it actually offers right now.