Right off the bat, it's worth noting that 'Marvel's Avengers' isn't the first game to feature the superhero team.
Yet, for some reason, 'Marvel's Avengers' was being touted on the run-up as the case. Games like 'Marvel Vs. Capcom', 'Marvel: Ultimate Alliance', and so on all featured the Avengers in some shape or form. What this game does, however, is attempt to draft off of the successes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and blend it into a workable role-playing action game.
The characters look vaguely similar to what we've seen on screen - Black Widow has the red hair, Thor looks like an Australian surfer - but the truth is the variance in some of the characters makes it a little too jarring to take seriously. The fact that they're clearly trying to evoke Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson without having to pay for their likenesses speaks to a range of issues with the game.
Notably, it's that 'Marvel's Avengers' doesn't go far enough in some respects, and too far in others. Yes, it's a role-playing game, but the action is button-mashing brawling rather than any kind of finesse and strategy involved. There are huge skill trees for each of the characters, as well as new skins and costumes, but it doesn't change up the core mechanic or challenge you to think differently about how you play. The graphics have a tendency to glitch out every so often, but when it's working right, it's every bit as colourful and buoyant as the movies.
This almost-there mentality extends to the campaign. The story is very well constructed, and you really get the sense that a lot of time and effort has been put into giving you a reason to play rather than simply grinding through it to get to the multiplayer. The voice acting and the scripts are all of a high quality, and for players who are crazy for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in all its forms will absolutely love this and get a real kick out of seeing all the characters together on-screen - even if it's happened before. Yet, when you're playing it, you just know some scenes and moments have been placed just to spin the wheels, and that one particular arc has been placed in there as a fake-out rather than a meaningful choice in the story.
Compared to something like 'Spider-Man' or even the 'Arkham' series, 'Marvel's Avengers' doesn't feel quite as involved or as considered. Some of the action scenes feel closer to quick-time moments than making an impact, and while you can team up with other heroes to launch devastating attacks, it just feels a little thin and not as satisfying as it could be.
As you're playing 'Marvel's Avengers', you get the sense that the game was being developed and then - suddenly - a crunch deadline was imposed and the money dried up before the finishing touches could be placed. It isn't that the game is half-finished, or that it's somehow fundamentally broken. No, 'Marvel's Avengers' is a game that was brought to a certain point and then had the rough edges sanded down and the cracks glued in rather than sealed up tight.
It's a fine game to play if you absolutely love all things Marvel and aren't too pushed about an in-depth roleplaying experience. Yet, for a game that's coming with an AAA-pedigree (and an AAA-price point), it needs to be more than just "fine" for it to be worth the time and effort to play it. With games like 'Destiny' - of which 'Marvel's Avengers' takes some inspiration - the game lingers on in multiplayer and reaches its full potential there.
When it's all full tilt, 'Marvel's Avengers' is an enjoyable experience and you'll gladly pass the time with it. But it's so continuously marked by frustrations, half-baked ideas, and incessant reminders that it's not quite there yet.