Marvel’s Avengers Early Review Impressions

After about seven hours with Marvel’s Avengers, I have one big observation: The beta really should have started with Kamala Khan.

Ms. Marvel is the heart and soul of Crystal Dynamics’ take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the introductory level that kicks off the game’s story establishes her as the nerdy, hilarious, over-the-top fangirl that anchors the entire experience. The Avengers end up disbanded after a huge accident that remakes the world, but it’s Kamala’s experiences–finding her identity, searching for community, struggling with adults in her life letting her down or failing to understand her–that are grounding Marvel’s Avengers.

It all starts with an opening mission that focuses less on punching bad guys and more on what makes the Avengers heroic as people. A number of times now, we’ve seen the A-Day mission, in which you play as each Avenger as they fight an army of bad guys who want to do terrorism. It’s a quick snapshot of how each character handles before the game moves into its real story, in which you play Kamala trying to find and reassemble the Avengers to fight off the totalitarian threat of the villainous organization AIM. But it’s Kamala’s introduction with her father, wandering around the pre-attack A-Day celebration, that centers Marvel’s Avengers. She’s a kid who meets her heroes, who finds them caring (if awkward), and who takes from them all the best lessons to grow, after a five-year time skip, into a hero in her own right.

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