Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers is exhausting, and it’s not even out yet…
So if you recall my initial impressions of Square Enix’s Avengers beta that first weekend it was available were cautiously optimistic. I haven’t played any subsequent beta weekends, not because I have reflected on it and not enjoyed my time, but I didn’t want to repeat the same content again and again when all I would get for those efforts is a useless license plate cosmetic when the full game launches. I am still looking very forward to playing the full Marvel’s Avengers game when it launches next week.
That being said, Square Enix almost seems to be going out of their way to make this game seem like a bad value proposition in people’s eyes. Admittedly, gamers are an overly-sensitive bunch, especially price sensitive. A lot still believe you should pay one price for a game when it comes out and pretty much anything after that initial payment should be included in the initial price you paid. That’s silly and doesn’t take into account the amount of work that has to go into additional content and the scale of games today. There’s a discussion to be had about how big-budget video games have gotten way out of control in terms of scale and budget and it’s a virtually unsustainable model for most developers/publishers but that’s another conversation for another time.
Square Enix just dropped a rather lengthy and detailed blog post explaining how the numerous and various currencies, gear, and cosmetics in Marvel’s Avengers work. It’s not rocket science, but it is fairly dense and maybe if your game needs a detailed blog entry with multiple bullet points on how all this shit works, maybe just maybe you need to rethink how that works.
Arguably the most damning part of the blog post is the whole bit about the “Hero Challenge Cards”. Every hero in Marvel’s Avengers will be free, but there’s a lot of things listed as “premium items” that are only available through these “challenge cards” that are $10 a pop. Honestly, it’s cosmetics stuff and you still get the actual hero for free and hey if you do all complete the challenges in the card you actually get the $10 back and can use that for another hero and the cards have no time limit so in some ways that is a cool concept and better than most games that have seasonal battle passes that expire after a time.
But you can also tell by the way the language is used in the blog, with constant reminders that this is optional content and the “value” you are getting with your $10 (who exactly is deciding this value and how is it really worth so much more than $10 and why?) that Square Enix is well aware this wasn’t going to sit well with people. After all, how many people are going to have the time to spend to max out these hero cards? It’s far more likely that you’ll be paying for multiple Hero Challenge Cards and that’s of course what they are banking on, the goal is never to get you to spend less money.
It’s entirely possible that this is overblown. It remains to be seen how good and lengthy the single-player campaign is, what exactly you can unlock merely by playing the game as far as cosmetics, and hey maybe the battle passes will be a good value for what you are getting, or hey maybe it’s ok to throw a game you are enjoying $10 when they drop a new character to support a game you like (especially if they only drop one every few months, $10 here and there certainly isn't bad). It’s hard to say until the finished game is in our hands and we really get to check out the full deal.
But what I can say, as someone who pre-ordered the digital deluxe edition and is still looking forward to playing Marvel’s Avengers is that this is not a great look for the game and might likely lead to many not even giving the game a chance and therefore a game that is designed to last for years might not even last one if no one wants to engage with any of this and I wouldn’t blame them. We’ll see what happens when Marvel’s Avengers launches next week, I will certainly have some impressions though a full review might take longer. I hope to still put up a Disney Infinity-related post tomorrow so see ya real soon!