Master the Marvel's Avengers Beta with 7 tips directly from the developers
© Square Enix
After months of waiting, it's finally time to get hands-on with Square Enix's upcoming Avengers game – here's how you can make the most of your time with the massive Beta
Perhaps the biggest Avengers game we'll ever see is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC on September 4 – and a lot of people are still in the dark about what to expect from the upcoming title. To put people's minds at ease (and to show us exactly what this game is, and how it plays) Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics are running a beta from Friday, August 7 and throughout the month for players that have pre-ordered the game.
From the beta's opening scene – where you play as Earth's Mightiest Heroes engaged in a battle on top of the Golden Gate Bridge – to the more open-ended missions later in the demo, there's certainly a lot to get your teeth into in this massive Beta. Luckily, Scot Amos (Head of Studio) and Lauryn Ash (Game Designer) from Crystal Dynamics are here to give you seven essential tips to get ahead in this extensive, in-depth beta.
1. Don’t choose your ‘main’ hero straight away
Scot Amos: “I would recommend everyone play the entire Campaign content. That’ll on-board you and help you understand everything we’re doing here. But then when you get to Avengers Initiative – when you get to the open War Table and you can choose what to do next – pick the hero you want to go furthest with the quickest. Take that hero, and stick with that hero for about two or three missions, so you get a feeling for it and understand them well. But don’t be afraid to split off and try someone else, too: you can get very quickly sucked into trying to hit the Max level cap with your hero of choice, but it’s important to get a feel for everyone and understand what they do. They all feel and play so differently, so take one hero you like, do two or three missions and then try someone else until you feel like you can say ‘here’s who I want to invest directly in’.
Lauryn Ash: From a game design standpoint, I will say that’s probably the best way to approach the whole experience, for sure. Play your favourites first, level them up to a good level – to where you feel comfortable – and then switch. Because even if you know who you’ll be playing with from the beginning, it feels so good to come back to them and re-learn the once you’ve played everyone else.
2. Explore Everywhere
Lauryn Ash: My second pro tip for anyone wanting to get the most out of this Beta is: explore everywhere. Not just because we’ve got an amazing narrative team here and we’ve got some amazing art to enjoy, too (with easter eggs and Marvel Lore everywhere!), but also because there are many areas that may not be immediately obvious that have the best resources, the best gear, the best loot.
I was a level designer when I started in games, so the whole “if a map tells you to go one way, you need to go explore the other” is something that still really applies in this Beta! For me as a level designer, it’s something we call negative lighting – you ping tactical awareness, you see all the icons and you say “great, that’s my mission objective… So what are these five things over here?”
3. Use 'Tactical Awareness' often
Scot Amos: People may not think to hit UP on the D-pad often enough. It’s one of those things that, if you do it frequently, will really help you out. It’ll pop question marks around on the HUD and it’ll make enemies glow so you can see them better in context within a certain distance. If you see bad guys somewhere, there’s probably a reason to go explore, right? It’ll also highlight certain interactive objects in a brighter, gold colour, too.
We built Tactical Awareness in as a tool to help players understand where they need to go next, understand where they are in a level, and help them hunt down everything the game has to offer. Up on the D-pad is a very pragmatic tool, as well as a philosophical one!
4. Understand your characters’ utility
Scot Amos: Black Widow’s grapple is the most flexible, useful tool you could possibly imagine. Hitting the R2 or RT button gets you immediately into any situation you want – you can use it on enemies on the ground, or aerial enemies. That lets you snap between, say, five or six drones hovering above you – grapple to one, rotate the camera, grapple to another and so on. There’s actually a challenge in the game based around how many enemies you can grapple between without touching the ground. Don’t underestimate Black Widow; once you see how quickly she can stun enemies and do takedowns on them, she becomes a formidable force.
The Grapple button will make you a master once you learn to use it well – you can disable powerful, long-range enemies by getting close, knocking them down and then finishing them off. It’s an amazing thing to watch, especially if people don’t think she’ll play that interestingly compared to other heroes with superpowers.
5. Traversal moves are for more than just getting around
Lauryn Ash: When you’re using Kamala Khan, she’s very good at crowd control – she can sweep enemies side to side and just bully crowds. My favourite ability of hers is the Polymorph ability; it not only allows you to do more damage but also change your moveset. You’re able to use that offensively, defensively and she also has this leapfrog ability further in her skill tree that can be used as a traversal move.
Her traversal can be used as a combo intro, too. Use all of your heroes’ traversal moves as a way to get into and out of combat, and to come back into a bout with a real kick. Kamala especially, wherever you can go in with polymorph – do so. She’s great at combos and she’s amazing at controlling aerial threats: kick your big foot up, kick ‘em around, the power smash onto everyone around you.
6. Try to find the secret level
Scot Amos: There’s a hidden level in the Beta, and finding that (via a special, secret hidden cache on the map) gives coordinates that unlocks, on the War Table, a hidden location. Once you get here, you realise it’s this massive space that takes minutes to even navigate around it. There are points of interest here that you can opt in or opt out of and there are special areas here that we don’t have anywhere else in the demo that’ll make a player go “what the hell is this thing?”
Here, you’ll maybe find a chest that needs a special kind of item in order to open it – then you’ll go out and try and find what you need in order to open the chest. We’ve got things like this hidden in the beta as a very light tease for the sort of things you can expect in the final game and what we’ll be doing post-launch.
7. Experiment with the full toolkit on offer
Lauryn Ash: We’ve given you a toolset with this Beta. We’ve built the system so that you can ‘break the game’, right? Find all the systems and synergies that work well and empower you as a player. You’re experimenting with the toolkits we’ve given your heroes: the whole point of this game is to create and customise your own unique Avengers and play with your friends’ own, unique Avengers.
Scot Amos: Lauryn and her team built all this – levels mixing with perks, mixing with gear, mixing with moves – to accentuate their perks, but then that’s going to stack up with a piece of unique gear that does Plasma damage, or Gamma or something else similar. Everything starts to combine into this matrix of stuff that’s so rich. Hitting R3 on your hero screen brings up these stats that list everything: what stats you have, their current value and what percentage impact that all has on stun, on willpower, on critical chance.
You’ve only got one out of two panels in the Beta, too – there’s going to be so much more to get into in the full game.
Lauryn Ash: Math aside, you can just go really deep and explore what feels best to play – there’s no better feeling, to me, than Kamala Khan and Hulk teaming up on a Juggernaut. Nothing is better than that…
Scot Amos: ...Unless Widow turns them invisible first!