The age of the live-service game is coming to a close. A genre that once seemed like the future of gaming has quickly turned into an over-saturated and tiresome trend that gamers are ready to move on from. That isn’t stopping companies from continuing to capitalize on this already passing trend, likely to no avail.
A turning point in the opinion of live-service games was Marvel’s Avengers, which is ending all official support on September 30. The tragedy of losing this title is that it hides a surprisingly great story, one that will be lost to gamers. You need to experience it before it is gone forever, and until July 31 it is available through Xbox Game Pass.
The central idea behind Marvel’s Avengers is sound. A third-person action game with an original story told through a mission structure that would give players control of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. And at its core, that does exist in Marvel’s Avengers.
While missions can be repetitive, they carry the joy of a good action game because it gives the player a chance to enjoy how fun combat is. The main cast of Avengers (Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Black Widow) are all playable and each has a move set tailored specifically to them. The game accomplishes its goal of making players feel like they get to do all the cool things they see these characters do in the MCU.
Flying around as Iron Man and blasting enemies feels fast-paced, smashing things as Hulk is dumb fun, and throwing your shield around as Cap is just as satisfying as you expect it to feel. The mission structure gives players plenty of time to enjoy each character’s unique combat.
On top of that, there is the wonderful inclusion of the game’s protagonist — Kamala Khan.
Kamala — Ms. Marvel — was first introduced into the Marvel comics in 2014. She quickly became a fan-favorite character thanks to the incredible writing of creator G. Willow Wilson and the art of Adrian Alphona. Her starting role in Marvel’s Avengers was her major foray outside of comics, and it came two years before she would receive her own MCU series on Disney+.
The story of Marvel’s Avengers centers around Kamala’s mission to reunite the original Avengers following a disastrous event that left the world hating the team and leaving Kamala with newfound superpowers. The “getting the band back together” feel of the story is a great setup for the delightful interactions between Kamala and the other Avengers. She is the starry-eyed newcomer and everybody else is a grizzled veteran who is overly moody. They get up to a lot of hijinks and Kamala is always the star of the show. Marvel’s Avengers manages to tell a great origin story for Kamala while also being a unique Avengers tale.
That would have all been great if Marvel’s Avengers wasn’t loaded down by being a live-service game. Everything beyond the main story and combat feels empty, and endgame content was sorely lacking. A convoluted loot system, broken matchmaking, and repetitive endgame missions soured what good there was.
In the immediate months following the game’s launch, there were already reports of massive player decline. In the years after the game’s release, it received a handful of content updates that added new characters but the game never managed to gain a foothold as a liver service title. This culminated in a January 2023 announcement from developer Crystal Dynamics that the game’s last content update would be on March 31 and that all official support would end on September 30.
Marvel’s Avengers will also be removed from digital storefronts. While it’s still available on Xbox Game Pass (or anywhere) it’s a worthwhile experience.