I said the other day that I really wouldn’t want to be a sports game developer right now, what with the current-gen and next-gen versions of an annualised and already taxing enough games to make. Judging by Marvel’s Avengers, I also really wouldn’t want to be a developer releasing a cross-gen live service game for what is now pretty old tech, either.
I’ve been playing through Marvel’s Avengers on a stock PS4, purely as that’s the one easily playable from my couch as it’s in my living room and my Pro now sounds like it’s about to explode. I also think that most people will be playing on the normal PS4 as it’s shifted many more units than the Pro, so it’s probably a good idea to play on the most common version. While the game has been a tonne of fun overall, I really do wish I had run the risk of burning my house down and gone with the Pro instead — Marvel’s Avengers on the base PS4 is beyond messy.
First, the frames. My word, do these frames eat dirt whenever anything gets really busy. Once the screen starts filling up with enemies, I found that the game would easily dip below the 30fps expected, often juttering and just feeling turgid to play. Snappy, responsive action becomes akin to wading through porridge during hectic spots, directly affecting your timing and throwing you way out of sync. Things just turn into a crawl during the latter sections, which are actually the messiest parts of the game. It does feel like there’s a lot of optimisation missing the closer you get to the end, like a deadline was ominously looming.
I eventually got used to the sloppy frames and slowdown, but my partner said she couldn’t watch me play it as it made her feel nauseated. Bit dramatic, but still.
From a general performance and optimisation perspective, it felt like I kept bumping into more and more issues the more I played. While A-Day and the early campaign sections felt polished, there was barely a mission that went by without some issue.
There was the time the audio became totally confused and started looping in on itself, dialogue just being stuck on the same syllable until it became a wall of noise. This eventually subsided, though I was left with a constant thumping in the background until I restarted.
Cutscenes, as pretty as they are, also suffer from serious pop-in with background assets seemingly lazy loading in, as well as the fact that they sometimes just won’t work. I’ve had Thor talk as if submerged in jelly and the cutscene playing out in one frame per second like a flipbook.
There’s also the AI, who are all traitors. I’ve been downed more than a handful of times only for them to have zero interest in helping me. On one mission, Black Widow dipped entirely — she was simply nowhere to be seen. This is true to character, I guess.
Continuing to pick on the AI, they seem to ping about the place a lot during some of the “open” sections where you can go and collect stuff away from the main objective. It’s as if they’ve been hexed by a plastic band, them just flying up and down and all over the place.
Not all of the bugs I’ve experienced have been a nuisance, mind you. In one sequence as Black Widow, everything randomly became slow motion, meaning that I could clear a room super easily — and stylishly.
Despite all the issues I’ve encountered with Marvel’s Avengers, I have been having a pretty good time, though it’s not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination — and not just because of the technical issues. I just hope it gets a pretty substantial patch for its proper release date on the 4th, not this weird limbo for those who have the Deluxe Edition or above.
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