Closed betas for the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers continue this weekend. We were lucky enough to gain early access, and here are some of our thoughts on what we played.

The beta starts off with ‘A Day’, the preview that we initially saw at E3, where players briefly play as each avenger. You start off playing as the god of thunder, Thor, learning how to throw and call his mighty hammer Mjolnir as well as basic combat. Next up is Iron Man, where you start to see the differences in how each character works. You’ll then move through Hulk, Black Widow and Captain America.

The introduction offers a tease of the characters that you’ll be able to play when the final game releases. Thor’s combat is very similar to that of Kratos from God of War, and nobody could tire of throwing Mjolnir and seeing it pin an enemy down! Of course, when you’re not using Mjolnir in combat, you deal less damage. Captain America, meanwhile, is a little like Batman in the Arkham series, although you’re a bit more defensive due to his shield. One of the Captain’s ultimate abilities is throwing his shield and watching it bounce off all enemies in the room.

Once the opening demo mission is complete there’s no more playing as Thor or Captain America, however you’ll play other handpicked missions with Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) and Hulk. After a handful of missions, your introduced to your base of operations, a shield helicarrier. From here missions are selectable from the War Table, or you can explore the helicarrier where there are Easter eggs galore.

The beta also delivers two boss fights – one against Taskmaster as Black Widow on the Golden Gate Bridge, and another as Hulk against the Abomination.

Marvel's Avengers

After completing the story-based missions, war missions can be played cooperatively with friends. Hulk, Ms Marvel, Black Widow and Iron Man are available from this point, offering options and previews on ways to play. Prefer providing air support and ranged damage? Iron Man will deliver. Each of the characters has certain powers, abilities and ultimates, but they also have flaws. For example, Iron Man’s reactor needs to charge if you use his repulsors too much, while Hulk has no real ranged attacks. Yes, he can pick up debris and throw it, but he isn’t as effective as Iron Man.

While Marvel’s Avengers is entertaining and will be a blast when playing with friends, it’s worth noting that, with this being a beta, changes will be made before release. For instance, as Iron Man you can hover to provide air support, while clicking in the thumb stick will send you forward – much like controlling a jet fighter. However, his top speed while flying feels quite slow. Meanwhile, traversal for both Ms Marvel and Black Widow are rather… Spider-Man-y. Black Widow will use a grappling gun to swing off nearby items, while Ms Marvel will stretch out and grab items and swing off them.

Marvel's Avengers

Graphically Marvel’s Avengers looks good, and the updated Black Widow character model looks much better. Some of the alternate costumes that can be unlocked and used in the beta are a bit rough around the edges, but again it’s worth noting that these may be updated at any time. As it stands, Marvel’s Avengers feels a bit like Destiny 2, in that it will constantly evolve, with regular updates and DLC drops. Best of all, all new characters and regions will be delivered at no additional cost – and there’ll be no loot boxes or pay to win scenarios.

For those who pre-ordered Marvel’s Avengers, the beta opened for PS4 on August 7 and ran through to August 9. Xbox and PC players will have access to a pre-order beta from August 14 to 16, while it will be open slather for PS4 players. An open beta will subsequently take place from August 21 to August 23 for players on all systems, before full release of Marvel’s Avengers on September 4.

Pre-order Marvel’s Avengers now at JB Hi-Fi.

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