Marvel's Avengers Marvel's Avengers

Gaming

Marvel’s Avengers: Does it stick the superhero landing?

A title featuring Earth’s mightiest heroes carries great expectations

Published

on

The Avengers is the most popular superhero team today thanks in large part to the 23 films and counting that belong to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU. This could lead one to believe that anything that has “Marvel’s Avengers” on it will be well-made and polished because of heightened expectations and the backing of perhaps the largest entertainment company today. Well, not quite.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming following the rather lukewarm reception to the A-Day trailer that was released in E3 2019. But that was just a trailer. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics — the companies responsible for the game’s development — still had time to address things.

While there may have been improvements here or there, the overall experience just falls a bit short of the grandiose, spectacle, and fun factor that we’ve come to associate with the Avengers.

Heroes divided

So what’s wrong with it, exactly? There’s not one big glaring thing. But the sum of its parts just doesn’t feel like it makes up a cohesive whole.

Just like how the team was split up after the disaster that was A-Day, the game feels like it’s split between two disjointed parts.

The first is the Reassemble Campaign which takes you through a 10-12 hour single-player Action-RPG type of campaign. You get a chance to play as all of the Avengers but the story is mostly told through the perspective of Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel hard-carrying this game

The second is the Avengers Initiative which is the multiplayer live service part of the game. It’s the part that the developers hoped would keep players coming back.

While the two game modes share the same combat, skills, items, and mission design, the overall experience varies heavily depending on what type of game you’re into.

Ms. Marvel coming of age story

At the core of the Reassemble Campaign is Kamala Khan/ Ms. Marvel. She goes from this bright-eyed fangirl in A-day to a hero in her own right, fighting alongside the heroes she admired.

As someone who generally prefers single-player games, this was the part of the game I enjoyed the most. It’s got enough heart, humor, and character that made the MCU such a mainstream hit, while also sprinkling a little bit of Saturday-morning-cartoon campiness.

The best thing about the story is the dynamic between the characters: Kamala and Bruce Banner’s mentor-mentee relationship, the anger between Tony Stark and Bruce after the latter’s testimonies in court after A-Day, and this bromance between Tony and Steve Rogers.

There’s a lot of great character moments here that should be familiar to Marvel fans whether you came in from the comic books, TV series, or the MCU.

It isn’t without any problems though. Thor had very little to do with the plot except for just being there. He played the deus ex machina role when he first rejoined the team. I guess that’s fitting for a literal god.

The boss battles are also very mediocre. After squaring off against Taskmaster and the Abomination, the next boss battles will all be against AIM Robots. For a superhero hero team with such a rich rogues gallery, this was rather disappointing.

Modok was the only other non AIM robot villain

While it sort of makes sense given the flow of the story, I think they could have thrown in even at least one more Marvel villain there or at least have another tussle against Taskmaster and the Abomination.

Other than that, the story is pretty solid. I wish I could say the same for gameplay.

Grinding for gear

The core of the gameplay is the combat, skills, and gears. This is what connects the single-player campaign to the multiplayer missions. It’s a mixed bag to say the least.

The skill tree for each character is deep but you’ll have to grind through the missions to really get to all of them. More on this later. Meanwhile, the gears are… okay.

There are plenty of skills to unlock

While most other reviewers griped about the lack of cosmetic effect from the gear you pickup, I thought this was mostly okay. It’s almost the same with Marvel’s Spider-Man where I can pick whatever suit I want but change my abilities depending on what the mission requires.

The thing is, in the Spider-Man game by Insomniac, the suit came at no cost. In Marvel’s Avengers, while you can grind your way into some awesome cosmetic changes, a bulk of the better looking ones are stuck behind a paywall. That’s what really grinds most people’s gears, I think.

What grinds your gears?

I also recognize that more thought could have been put into the gears seeing as the whole point of the game is getting loot and items while you’re out on missions. For instance, they could have opted to have a set of cosmetic options for gear that negate certain status effects like frosting.

Feel like a superhero

Despite sharing mostly the same controls — light and heavy attacks, dodging, and jumping on the main buttons plus special abilities on the shoulder buttons —  the game does a good job of making each character feel distinct.

Your experience playing as Iron Man will be very different from the one playing as Thor despite both sharing the ability to fly. Same is true for Captain America and Black Widow even though they’re both mostly grounded melee fighters.

Marvel’s Avengers

The stretchy Ms. Marvel also offers perhaps one of the most unique play styles as she also has the ability to heal. It’s perfect for when you’re embarking on multiplayer missions.

Mission unbearable

The missions are where I think the game fumbles a lot. They have a relatively good combat core to build around, but the level designs and challenges leave so much room for improvement.

The missions revolve around retrieving an item, defeating hordes of AIM robots and soldiers, and most frustratingly, defending a small circular area while being swarmed by even more AIM robots and soldiers.

Combat can get chaotic

It’s just a whole bunch of small fries coming at you from left and right. There’s very little variation and it can get old real quick. What’s even more frustrating is to really level up the characters, these are the missions you have to grind through. You don’t get to the really good parts of the combat unless you go through these missions.

Remember the final act of both The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron where the team is battling against armies of Chitari and Ultron’s robots? That’s what the missions feel like except it happens over, and over, and over, and over again.

Good for team players

To balance the opinion, I spoke with our good friend Francis Romero who is both a long-time gamer and huge Marvel fan. Unlike yours truly, Francis actually finds enjoyment in the missions.

What struck me the most with his observation is how team play is crucial in the missions. You can customize your characters’ loadouts to fit the needs of the team. Each one can play a certain role so you can accomplish missions with relative ease.

Flying to a mission

For instance, he said he wasn’t a fan of Ms. Marvel being part of his main team but being a healer, she would be an essential part of the team.

In this regard, the play-with-friends appeal is real. It’s honestly not my cup of tea, but there’s certainly something here that can be enjoyed by people with actual friends or those who play well in a team-setting.

A better future

The other appeal of Marvel’s Avengers being a live service game is the promise of a better future. The developers have already promised that any future DLC content will be free-of-charge.

Hawk-eye — both Will Barton and Kate Bishop — have already been teased and there are more characters coming in the future. Each character, I supposed, will come with their own unique story that will build on the campaign. Their abilities will also be something to consider when building a team for the Avengers Initiative missions.

While the present may be slightly disappointing, a promising future awaits.

Does it stick the superhero landing?

The promise of a better future shouldn’t be the leg that a game stands on. The game can be a little fun at best and a messy, buggy experience at worst.

The loading time from one segment of the game to another is ridiculously long. It almost feels like you can watch an entire MCU film and the game would still be loading when you come back to it.

This loading screen can go on FOREVER

Marvel’s Avengers is weighed down by the expectations surrounding it. When you have a title so mainstream and the backing of an entertainment giant that has dominated the mainstream consciousness for a better part of the decade, it’s fair to expect a polished game. One that feels like the triumphant third act of most MCU films.

Instead, it feels more like the first time Tony Stark took the Iron Man Mark II out for a spin in the first Iron Man movie. It was a fun but clunky ride, and when he soared to go higher he ran into an icing problem.

Marvel’s Avengers

In many ways, that’s what this Marvel’s Avengers game feels like. It’s clunky but fun and while it’s not perfect, there’s certainly something here that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics can build on.

It doesn’t quite stick the superhero landing, but it sure as hell didn’t crash and burn.

Gaming

Ubisoft lays down post-launch plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Comes with a Season Pass with two major expansions and an exclusive quest

Published

on

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

While the game hasn’t been released yet, Ubisoft already has big plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla post launch. Set to release on November 10, Valhalla takes you back to England’s Dark Ages as Eivor. The game offers exciting new features as you forge alliances to establish your Viking kingdom.

Now, Ubisoft bares its plans for all of its Assassin’s Creed players a month into picking up Valhalla. This new string of exciting content includes a Season Pass and frequent seasonal content. Through this Season Pass, players will discover new territories and stories surrounding the lore of Valhalla.

The Season Pass comes with two major expansions, the Wrath of the Druids and The Siege of Paris. In The Wrath of the Druids, players unravel the mysteries of ancient Ireland. Most of the worlds here consist of haunted forests and Gaelic kingdoms.

In The Siege of Paris, players relive the most ambitious battle in Viking history. You will take part in a prolonged siege of Frankia through Paris and the River Seine. In the end, what awaits players are secrets to unfold and alliances to forge.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch on November 10 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It will also be available for the PlayStation 5 when the console comes out on November 12.

Continue Reading

Computers

Acer has 6 new Predator and Nitro gaming monitors

Which one to pick???

Published

on

Predator Nitro

Just like Michael Jordan’s six trips to the NBA Finals, Acer is giving us SIX Predator and Nitro gaming monitor options that are all winners.

We’re just going to run this down real quick.

Predator XB3 Series for Pros and Avid Enthusiasts

The new Predator XB3 series monitors are a line of FHD (1920×1080) or QHD (2560×1440) displays that feature high refresh rates and VESA DisplayHDR certifications.

From there, each monitor has been optimized around different criteria: The XB273U NV is Eyesafe-certified, the XB253Q GW boasts an 280Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and 0.5ms (G to G) response time, and the XB323U GX is color-accurate with 99% Adobe RGB coverage.

Predator XB273U NV – Easy On the Eyes

Predator

The Predator XB273U NV, part of the XB3 VisionCare series, has been designed to give players as comfortable a gaming experience as possible. One of the first gaming monitors to be certified by Eyesafe. The Predator XB273U NV manages high-energy wavelengths in order to selectively filter out blue light while maintaining crisp and vivid color quality.

Additionally, Acer VisionCare 4.0 incorporates a range of technologies — LightSense, AdaptiveLight, ColorSense and ProxiSense — that measure environmental and ambient light and then automatically adjust the monitor’s brightness and color-temperature to match it, helping reduce eye strain.

The monitor’s crystal-clear 27-inch QHD (2560×1440) Agile-Splendor IPS1 display features wide viewing angles, a fast 1ms response time and up to an overclocked 170Hz refresh rate, while 95% DCI-P3 color spectrum coverage and a Delta E<1 rating.

VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified, the XB273U NV has true 8-bit image quality and dynamically adjusts screen brightness to suit the displayed scene for noticeably darker darks.

This model has RGB LightSense for synchronizing the screen’s colors to music, media and eSports tournaments. A built-in TX transmitter can wirelessly sync lighting colors and rhythm to additional networked monitors for an even more dramatic effect.

An ergonomic stand helps users find just the right angle by letting them adjust the monitor’s tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator XB253Q GW — High FPS for Smooth Gameplay

Predator

The Predator XB253Q GW’s 24.5-inch NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible FHD (1920×1080) IPS panel can be overclocked to an incredibly fast 280Hz refresh rate (overclockable) with up to a 0.5ms (G to G) response time to keep up with even the fastest-paced action scenes, making it ideal for first-person shooter and racing games where precision is paramount.

Integrated RGB LightSense with nine different special effects synchronizes RGB to the beat of the music, games and more. The monitor has also been ergonomically designed, allowing users to adjust its tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator XB323U GX – Stunning, Vivid Visuals

Predator

NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible and featuring a 32-inch QHD (2560×1440) panel with a speedy 270 Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and up to a 0.5ms (G to G) response time, the Predator XB323U GX’s fluidity and low latency serve to drastically reduce motion blur during fast-paced gameplay.

The 99% AdobeRGB coverage makes this an excellent choice for players who create videos of their gameplay, and a VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification indicates that the XB323U GX features 8-bit image processing and local-dimming, enabling the screen to adjust dynamically to what’s happening on the scene for deep blacks and impressive highlights.

To optimize comfort during long gaming sessions, the Predator XB323U GX provides users with the ability to adjust its tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator X34 GS for Gamers Desiring Curved Immersion

Predator

The Predator X34 GS extends users’ peripheral view with a giant 34-inch curved UWQHD (3440×1440) screen, working in tandem with an Agile-Splendor IPS panel that delivers clear images even at wide viewing angles.

NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible, it renders smooth action with up to a 180 Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and an ultra-fast 0.5ms (G to G) response time. VESA DisplayHDR 400 illuminates the finer details to create sharper images, so no important targets or details are missed, while 98% DCI-P3 spectrum coverage brings images to life in vivid color.

The flexible stand provides a multitude of viewing options, giving users the ability to adjust its tilt, swivel and height. Two integrated 7 watt speakers eliminate the need for external speakers.

Nitro Series Monitors — Get Into the Game

Two new 27-inch Nitro series models, the Acer Nitro XV272U KV and Nitro XV272 LV, are ideal for casual gamers that want to get as much value out of their devices as possible.

Both are Eyesafe-certified to help prevent eye fatigue and further viewing comfort, and an ergonomic stand lets gamers find just the right viewing angle by adjusting the monitors’ tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

The Acer Nitro XV272U KV offers stunningly clear QHD (2560×1440) gameplay with a low Delta E<1 rating and 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 color spectrum. Performance is fast and fluid with up to 170 Hz (overclocked) and a 1ms (G to G) response time on an Agile-Splendor IPS panel that also provides wide viewing angles to maximize the view.

Nitro

Beyond just looking great, the monitor is also equipped with LightSense, ColorSense and ProxiSense technologies, giving users a more comfortable experience by automatically adjusting the monitor’s settings based on ambient lighting in the environment.

The Nitro XV272 LV sports an FHD (1920×1080) Agile-Splendor IPS panel and offers up to 165Hz (overclocked) for smooth visuals even in busy action scenes. With 90% DCI-P3 color coverage and a low Delta E<1 rating.

Nitro

Pricing and Availability

The Predator XB273U NV will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 549.99; in EMEA in January 2021 starting at EUR 549; and in China in November 2020, starting at CNY 3,999.

The Predator XB253Q GW will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 429.99; in EMEA in January 2021 starting at EUR 449; and in China in December 2020, starting at CNY 2,999.

The Predator XB323U GX will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 899.99; in EMEA in December 2020 starting at EUR 999; and in China in November 2020, starting at CNY 6,999.

The Predator X34 GS will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 999.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 1,099; and in China in November, starting at CNY 7,999.

The Nitro XV272U KV will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 399.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 469; and in China in November, starting at CNY 2,999.

The Nitro XV272 LV will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 279.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 319; and in China in December, starting at CNY 1,999.

Continue Reading

Apps

Acer has an In-Game Live AI Translator on their own esports platform

It’s called SigridWave and the platform is Planet9

Published

on

SigridWave

Acer introduces SigridWave — an In-Game Live AI Translator for Planet9 which is the company’s next-generation esports platform. There’s a lot to unpack here so try to digest the information slowly.

SigridWave: In-Game Live AI Translator

SigridWave aims to break language barriers and facilitate communication among gamers around the world. It leverages deep learning tech and is especially trained in gaming jargon.

When in-game, SigridWave employs Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology to recognize utterances and convert them into strings of text. This text is then run through a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology. The NMT Tech has so far been trained with over 10 million bilingual sentence pairs, enabling it to understand the terminology associated with specific games (such as “ADS” or “camping”) and learn how players express themselves.

If your nose is bleeding after reading all of that, don’t worry. Same.

Intended specifically for gaming, SigridWave’s AI has so far been trained with over 1,000 hours of game-centric speech (voice + transcript), enabling it to accurately relay detected messages back to users in a language that they can understand.

Being game-centric is key. Acer points out that the biggest hurdle in machine translation is context. Many words can carry multiple meanings and computers struggle to discern the most suitable translation for the situation, that’s why being focused on gaming is essential.

SigridWave will have a closed beta in Q4 2020, during which time it will be available for two-way translation between English and Mandarin in a number of major FPS titles such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

Planet9 — Acer’s next gen esports platform

SigridWave will work in tandem with Planet9 — a next gen esports platform. The AI Translator is booted up while in a game lobby on Planet9’s desktop client. It’ll appear as a customizable in-game overlay.

The platform itself is meant to be partly competitive and partly social. It’s designed to provide an open community for casual and amateur players who want to improve their skills and take steps towards going pro.

The platform helps players connect with others via teams and social clubs; to improve their skills, via in-depth feedback on gameplay in the form of statistics and coaching; and to experience organized gameplay, via casual or ranked scrimmages and competitive tournaments for most games.

In-game overlays will be supported for League of Legends on launch in late 2020 or early 2021, and support will be made available for additional titles in the future.

Teams

Planet9 strives to help gamers connect with others who have similar skill levels and aspirations. From there, players can create a team to be registered on the website or search for one to join.

Planet9 will also help recruiting teams to fill their rosters, considering factors such as game played, rank, region and language in order to identify potential teammates.

Once a team is established, a private team page is created on the platform to function as a central hub for all involved. In addition to keeping track of match history and statistics for later review and discussion, the team hub includes a number of features to help keep everything organized: a board for discussion and polls, a group calendar for scheduling scrimmages, a tab to keep track of team funding and a directory with basic stats on all members.

Clubs

Planet9’s Club feature is intended to help players keep up with groups they like or admire, whether they’re major names in the industry or a local university team. Clubs consist of two parts, a public “home” page for followers and a private “lounge” for members.

The home page is a place to share content (posts, polls, videos, etc) in order to engage with the community, whereas the lounge is a place to relax and discuss club-related content with a smaller circle of more dedicated members.

Businesses, influencers and public figures are also capable of forming a club on Planet9, creating a unique new touchpoint for brands that wish to connect with gamers. Whether professional or amateur, each club is granted access to a variety of tools to host tournaments in order to grow their own community.

Planet9 recently partnered with Currys PC World to feature Planet9 in its stores in order to enhance esports initiatives in the UK and Ireland. This includes an in-house designed arena to give players a chance to see what it’s like being part of a local gaming club, practicing with teammates and learning from coaches.

These in-house arenas will launch soon with a rapid expansion to 30 stores throughout 2021. Each of the stores will open its own club on Planet9 to grow its gamer community as well as to host tournaments, creating a pipeline for players to show off their talent.

Tournaments

Planet9 includes a significant amount of infrastructure designed to make the process of organizing and hosting tournaments as seamless as possible.

An extensive UI ensures that a successful tournament can be put together even by those with no experience, while a number of automation features (registration, bracket mastering, etc.) enable experienced hosts to minimize time spent on tedious activities and focus on providing as enjoyable an event as possible.

Tournaments are highly customizable, featuring a number of preset brackets and privacy modes, opportunities for sponsored branding and club-determined rewards. Come game day, an all-in-one “Bracket Master” console makes it easy for judges and organizers to communicate, configure matches, broadcast to an audience and more.

Continue Reading

Trending