You can click through the slideshow above or scroll down the page for the full list.
5. Black Widow
It wasn’t a total surprise to me coming out of my demo that I enjoyed the Black Widow section least of the five heroes’ playable portions, as it mostly boils down to a lengthy QTE and repetitive battle against Taskmaster. That said, I still finished Black Widow’s section enjoying her combat much more than I expected to, seeing potential in it to be quite fun in the full experience.
Black Widow’s hand-to-hand combat works pretty simply — light and heavy attacks, plus a dodge a la the Batman: Arkham formula — with her dual, electrified batons adding a nice bit of flair to the action. Her pistol, though, felt largely ineffective against Taskmaster. The gun’s fire had no real oomph to it, and I only used it because I felt like I had to while my foe remained airborne.
On the ground, however, I enjoyed the cadence of dodging Taskmaster’s various attacks, and using Black Widow’s gadget-based arsenal to whittle away at his health. From her electricity-infused punches to a grapple that could close the distance between us, to her ability to turn invisible for a short burst of time and sneak up on Taskmaster, the joys of playing as Black Widow lie in figuring out how to use every bit of that weaponry to its fullest potential. I hope that her levels can live up to that, and that her Hero Missions provide plenty of varied opportunities to use every tool in her arsenal.
4. Iron Man
Look, I wanted Iron Man to be more fun to play, and I actually think he has the most potential when it comes to seeing where his skill trees can go. But, based on my demo experience, Tony Stark’s portion of the demo made the hero feel surprisingly ineffective.
After a quick bit of flying — which wasn’t as intuitive as, say, Anthem’s flight mechanics,, but ultimately allowed for smooth cruising through the skies — the A-Day catastrophe caused by A.I.M. pitted me, as Iron Man, against a whole group of foes on the Golden Gate Bridge. Iron Man’s special Unibeam ability, which unleashes a massive beam of energy from his chest, had a satisfying impact to its sustained damage, but his standard [weapon names] didn’t have the same sense of power. Between those Unibeam blasts, I felt like I was just biding my time until they could recharge.
Iron Man can hover while in battle, allowing him to shoot from the air and slam down toward enemies on the ground. While that extra mobility is nice, and I imagine it’s something that could be really usefull when I have a better handle on it, with my brief time it made me feel only like a bigger target for a larger group of enemies.
But the sneak peek we got after the demo at Iron Man’s skill trees, which include laser, rocket, and repulsor-based attacks, looks like a great opportunity for some variety that feels true to the character. (We were told after the demo that we could switch to the rockets, but I did not get the chance to activate this ability while playing to test it out.) I think, in time, Iron Man’s weaponry could be a blast to use, but in the demo level it’s not quite there yet.
3. Captain America
Crystal Dynamics is still playing coy about how and when Captain America will make his way back into the adventure — but I hope it’s sooner rather than later, because throwing around his shield is a treat. Once I finally got the hang of how to ping pong it around an environment, slapping around multiple enemies with a faceful of vibranium was great fun.
Of the melee-focused Avengers (the human-sized ones, at least – we’ll get to that in a minute), I enjoyed Cap’s hand-to-hand fighting the most. His Arkham-esque combos were satisfying and simple to execute, and his finishers were both punishing and cool,twisting foes around with all the grace and power you’d expect from America’s Ass.
But it’s definitely Cap’s shield that’s the most fun to use. While I only had a brief opportunity to do so, aiming it to precisely sweep the legs of a running enemy or to defend against incoming attacks andquickly following up with a strike of my own, I hope Marvel’s Avengers delivers plenty of opportunity to test out Brooklyn’s finest and his shiny shield.
Hulk: Ultimate Destruction needs a remake. In lieu of that, playing as Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers seems, so far, about as close as we’re going to get any time soon. Hulk is, understandably, the most reckless of the Avengers, and it’s a joy to hurl yourself, giant green limbs flailing,around an area, knocking foes back and even picking them up to use as a club against the others.
Hulk also has the ability to tear chunks of concrete out of the ground and hurl them at enemies, which helpfully means that even he can escape the fray for a bit and offer some ranged support.
Hulk’s also more mobile than you might expect.The powerful momentum of his run comes through in both the animation and his speed. He leaps with incredible force, digs his fingers into whatever surface is in his way, and can smash down toward the ground with a satisfying impact that doubles as a helpful knockback. His may be the least flashy, but easily one of the most fun to use.
Going into this demo, I expected Thor’s combat to be (at least vaguely) reminiscent of 2018’s God of War and…well, I wasn’t disappointed. While nothing may ever feel quite as satisfying as the hefty thwack of Kratos’ Leviathan Axe, Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is a worthy substitute, at least in my time with it. Using the hammer works great in close-quarters, but the real thrill comes when you throw it at enemies, sending them flying through the air and pinning them to whatever surface rests behind them—it’s also great to use against enemies holding shields, as I could recall Mjolinir, who would sweep in from behind.
Thor’s also fun to play as up close, too, with solid melee strikes and area-of-effect lightning abilities that I can’t wait to experiment with some more. If there’s any downside to the god of thunder in the demo, it’s that his aerial combat isn’t quite as robust as I would have hoped. But Crystal Dynamics informed us after the demo that a more skybound Thor is definitely an option when building out Thor’s skill tree.
Overall, Thor felt like he struck the best balance of delivering both what I’d want a Thor game to play like, while simultaneously proving how much potential the character has in him thanks to his dynamic skillset.
I’m eager to see how these heroes stack up once we see their full skill trees when the game launches next year, as well as how they compare to other Avengers that CD adds to the roster after launch. In the meantime, let us know who you’re eager to play as in the comments, and check out the Marvel costumes we want to see in Marvel’s Avengers, the dozens of Marvel’s Avengers details we learned at Gamescom