The player base for Marvel's Avengers is dwindling. While Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics' new games-as-a-service superhero title sold quite well, topping September sales charts, player interest in the game has begun to dwindle. A quick look at Steam Charts shows that the game is barely mustering just over 1,000 concurrent players, which is a fraction of the 28,145 player count peak Marvel's Avengers reached at launch.
A lot of people already have Marvel's Avengers, but they don't seem to be coming back for more, which is key to any games-as-a-service game. To fix this issue, Marvel's Avengers needs significantly more variety to its gameplay than has been present since launch.
While it seems like developers are taking steps to address this issue, a DLC delay means that the game's saving grace still isn't here yet. So the inevitable version 1.13 update is where devs need to plant the seeds for bigger changes.
When we say variety, we mean it in almost all facets of the game: levels, mission structure, loot, skins, and enemy types are all too repetitive.
When you first boot up Marvel's Avengers, the Reassemble campaign is the biggest draw. It's a fairly linear single-player story that features highly produced cutscenes. It's on par with Crystal Dynamics' previous games like Tomb Raider.
Though the campaign does keep things somewhat fresh with interesting new areas, the repetitiveness of it all even starts to sink in by the end of the 10 or so hour campaign.
By the time the credits roll, you'll have seen every enemy and most of the level types that Marvel's Avengers have to offer. Instead of pulling from the thrilling linear single-player missions though, the multiplayer mission structure in the "Avengers Initiative" multiplayer mode pulls from the more boring open-ended Drop Zones and War Zones.
Despite the open-ended level design, War Zone objectives mostly boil down to either beating certain enemies and objects or standing in a certain area before going inside an AIM facility and doing the same. All War Zones do is single out one of the objectives. Yes, there is a small amount of unique dialogue before and after each mission, but it's not really worth it when you're fighting on the same maps with little meaningful variation over and over again.
While any games-as-a-service title will be somewhat repetitive, games like Destiny 2 are able to spice things up with its mission, level, and loadout variety. Marvel's Avengers does feature upgraded skills and gear, but outside of a few interesting abilities or additional effects, these feel like little more than a negligible numbers boost. Even many of the unlockable costumes don't impress despite this feature's potential.
It doesn't help that you're only fighting hordes of AIM robots that all end up blending together and whose patterns you'll have mastered by the end of the campaign. While Marvel's Avengers boasts tons of endgame missions after beating the campaign, they don't feel like they offer much new after the first hour or so of playing. There are only two supervillain bosses, which is astonishing with how large the Avengers rogues gallery is.
The developers do seem aware of this and updated the game to add a new mission type called Tachyon Rifts and a new base called Substation Zero. Unfortunately, this update also came with some bad news for those looking for more variation in Marvel's Avengers. Kate Bishop and her "Taking AIM" post-launch campaign were delayed from their late October release indefinitely so Square Enix could polish the game further.
While it's good that Square Enix is taking the time to fix many of the bugs present in Marvel's Avengers so the developers have a solid base to build on, this decision also seems like its pushing all of the biggest post-launch additions back. So we'll have to wait even longer before Marvel's Avengers can feel fresh again.
Inverse pinpointed several areas where Marvel's Avengers could be improved around the game's launch. Months later, many of the problems listed still apply and it has become even clearer that the lack of variety is Marvel's Avengers' biggest problem. Delaying post-launch DLC was a risky gambit for Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, and we've yet to see if this will pay off or if Marvel's Avengers will succumb to this major issue.
Marvel's Avengers is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.