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Take It Easy Mode: Marvel's Avengers is difficult, but worth it
Take It Easy Mode is a bi-weekly column on the unsung hero of video games, the Easy setting, for casual and new gamers, parents, and people who generally find higher difficulty modes frustrating.
Marvel’s Avengers is a game many of us have been looking forward to for over a year. The chance to play as our favorite Marvel heroes — complete with Kamala Khan as the main character — is an incredible draw, especially considering you can experience what it is to smash as the Hulk, fly as Iron Man, or throw Mjölnir as Thor. I feel like everyone wants to play this game, but a lot of people are also wondering how hard it is, and whether it’s worth it.
I’m here to tell you this game is incredible amounts of fun. The story is absolutely lovely (though the campaign itself is on the short side), and Kamala Khan is the video game character we all need to play right now. But the game is also frustrating and can be difficult at times, even on the easiest setting. Here’s the rundown on what’s easy — and what’s not — in Marvel’s Avengers.
From the very beginning, you have the ability to set the Campaign (or main story) difficulty setting, and you can change it from mission to mission if anything is too hard. The fighting itself isn’t too difficult. There are a lot of different buttons to remember if you want to use special powers (which come in handy when there are a lot of enemies running at you), but mostly you can just button mash and come out the other side okay.
I did sometimes feel overwhelmed during fight scenes, like enemies were just getting thrown at me and there was nothing I could do to fight my way out. Every time it would become too much, or my health would start getting into the red zone, I used one of my special powers (Kamala embiggening is a personal favorite). Happily, the game does give you indicators of when these powers are available, and the buttons you need to mash in order to make them happen, which is really good because when 10 enemies are beating down on me, I usually panic and forget every button combo I’ve painstakingly learned.
Incidentally, you can refill your health during battles, though the game never gives you a tutorial on it. Usually, there’s a green box you can smash somewhere near the fighting, and it contains health capsules that remain there for the duration of the battle until they’re used. It took me a while to figure this out, but once I did, the battles got much easier.
The real challenge of the game, though, isn’t in the fighting. The scaled-down difficulty helps there. It’s in the hiding, jumping, flying, and frantically running from enemies. There are multiple missions at the beginning of the game where you have to run from enemies, and if you’re not good at video games it can be really stressful. I would keep missing jumps in a panic because I had no idea where to go, and while you can press a button for guidance on your destination, in many cases there wasn’t enough time because I was trying not to get caught. (Let’s not even talk about the mission where I had to fly as Iron Man while also avoiding enemy shots and obstacles in my path.) The good news is that the respawn checkpoints don’t ever make you replay too much of the game, so even when I was dying a lot, I still felt like I was making forward progress.
Honestly, if this had been a different game, I might have jumped ship. I’ve died more playing this game on Easy Mode than I have on any game I’ve played in recent memory — certainly since I started writing this column. Usually, it would be enough for me to put it aside.
But I do love Marvel superheroes, and Kamala Khan is one of my favorite fictional characters, period. She was the first time I saw myself in the Marvel universe. And the writers behind her character really understand what it is that makes her so appealing, so universal, and yet so particularly Kamala. She is a goddamn delight (the game opens with Kamala invited to Avengers Day because of her fanfiction), and she makes the game worth struggling through. And the storyline — the idea of reuniting the Avengers at a time when Earth needs them most — is just very resonant right now.
If you’re on the fence about playing Marvel's Avengers, but love Kamala Khan, I think you’ll like it. Go in knowing that the gameplay can be frustrating (Easy Mode, but also the structure of the game itself — the missions themselves feel repetitive at times, especially if you don’t care about improving your armor or collecting loot), but just sit back and enjoy spending time with your favorite characters.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.