Behind closed doors, Square Enix showed about a 30 minute live gameplay demo of Marvel's Avengers, which showed off the combat of the five different Avengers: Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Black Widow. What we saw was a game in pre-alpha, and it definitely showed. Due out May of next year, Marvel's Avengers looks like it will definitely be full of spectacle but currently has a ways to go.
The story seems to center around A-Day, which celebrates the Avengers and their work. Of course, that's also the perfect opportunity for a villain to attack. Why not ruin their day? That's when Taskmaster arrives on the scene to attack the thing most important to the Avengers: the public's faith in them. Of course, if an Avenger goes down along the way, that's nice too.
Most of the gameplay took place on the Golden Gate Bridge, Taskmaster's soldiers, using stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry designed by Tony Stark, destroying the bridge over time. The further the demo went on, the more the Golden Gate Bridge was destroyed.
The whole process followed the different Avengers and their role in stopping Taskmaster.
Obviously, Thor is all about his hammer and summoning up some lightning. It was some fairly standard third person action fair, with Thor smacking people with Mjolnir and knocking people in the air and into vehicles. Throwing his hammer sends enemies flying with the weight of Mjolnir propelling them through the sky. Thor can even leave enemies pinned to the ground until he summons Mjolnir back.
Thor also had some abilities, which were largely centered around summoning some lightning and smashing things. Lightning would crackle around Thor and around his hammer, then he'd hit the ground or an enemy in a massive explosion.
At one point Thor was flying with Mjolnir, but I'm not sure if that was actually controlled by the player or was part of the cutscene.
Iron Man Gameplay
We first saw Iron Man gameplay flying along the Golden Gate Bridge. Flying seemed simple, just using the analog stick I imagine, but he was also shooting at enemies in the sky. That brought a massive reticle on the screen that was fairly inaccurate and didn't seem all that great or interesting.
Once Tony was on the ground, he was blasting people with the best of them, shooting a ton of rockets into enemies that would then explode, and exploding a massive laser beam from his chest to burn through enemies and the enviornment.
The movements and actions on display look very similar to those of Iron Man in the films.
Hulk definitely seemed like the most fleshed out character on display for this demo. A ton of different ways to smash, destroy, and absolutely obliterate enemies and the environment. Everything looked really satisfying and like a fantastic Hulk experience.
Grabbing one enemy to hit others as a weapon was fun to watch, with Hulk casually discarding them a moment later. He obviously could jump in the air and slam down with both fists to smash and enemy in the ground. There's even a move very reminiscent of Donkey Kong in Smash Bros. where Hulk slammed the ground over and over sending enemies flying.
Tearing out chunks of asphalt and concrete of the debris around him become easy weapons, as do the vehicles littered about. One of the big foes in the demo were some tanks, which Hulk dispatched easily enough with a car thrown into it.
Captain America Gameplay
There was not much seen of Captain America in the demo. He was on the helicarrier dealing with Taskmaster's goons there. Turns out the Golden Gate Bridge fiasco was just a distraction. Using the helicarrier's nuclear reactor, they plan to turn San Francisco into a wasteland.
As for Cap's abilities, he's a brawler who apparently really loves to throw his shield. That's the thing most shown in the demo, the shield bouncing around between enemies with Cap catching it. One cool ability shown off was Cap hitting the shield to send a shockwave at an enemy, knocking them down.
Black Widow Gameplay
Black Widow was the weirdest probably. All of the other characters had a small hud in the bottom right to display their abilities, but she did not. She seemed to play like a much faster-paced, more fluid form of movement as she grapples with enemies.
Her fairly basic gunplay was mostly on display, however. She quickly dual wielded some pistols, shooting Taskmaster over and over. It seemed like a straightforward third-person shooter.
Other than that, she went invisible once and did some sort of electric charged superpunch.
Still Needs Some Polish
As said in the intro, what was shown was a pre-alpha build of Marvel's Avengers. That means there's still a ton of work left to do. There were some weird animations, some definitely unfinished ones, and some textures that just didn't look good. To be honest, the character models for the Avengers could use some work too.
A final worrying thing is that the most exciting parts of Marvel's Avengers seem to be the scripted ones. It's all about the spectacle, backed up by QTEs. I say worrying because the game doesn't end after the main story.
The devs said there will be a lot more of content to come and that the plan is to let you assemble with some friends and go out to take on some threats. No specifics were given on what that means or how it will work. Will you just use one of the five Avengers? Do you make something? Can you customize? How will going out with a party of friends work?
There are still a lot of questions left to be answered, but it definitely looks like it will at least be a fun experience.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.