Starting Off With a Show
Starting as Thor, you quickly learn how well he can throw Mjölnir at a man's face. Then you're Iron Man chasing down some bad guys who've acquired jet packs! Boom! Suddenly you're the Hulk taking on huge numbers of enemies and showing his resistance to pain whilst throwing himself down the bridge to take out a tank. Before you know it, you're Captain America on the helicarrier fighting in close quarters and using your shield to share the pain. And finally, it's up to Black Widow to take out the head honcho of this rogue gang: Taskmaster. All this happens whilst the game takes you on a visual rollercoaster of destruction and chaos.
In the initial chapter you'll have a lot to deal with. It's a crash course in how each hero plays and the different mechanics associated to them. There's flight for Iron Man, shielding for Hulk, close quarter combat for Captain America etc. And by the time you've started to understand what the heroes can do, you're onto the next one. It was a lot to take in all at once and, in honesty, it took me aback as too much was changing. But I felt that it set the game up well to showcase what everyone could do and prepare me for using the heroes properly.
Handing You The Reins
The second chapter was relatively scripted too, as a showcase for Hulk alone and Ms Marvel. It was amazing fun, excellently paced, and linear enough to show me where to go in a relatively large area. After these missions, you are given much more control and can choose from the heroes available, and can also integrate online play, too! I chose to go it alone, but had an A.I. Ms Marvel accompany me as Hulk. To my amazement, she actually did things and fought when needed.
My experience with A.I.s in games is that they usually watch you play and enjoy the scenery... in Marvel's Avengers, I felt like I could allow Ms Marvel to carry some of the weight without her being overwhelmed. It also felt like the training wheels were removed completely as the location the mission was set in was open and vast, with lots to interact with. Just as a taster of what was to come, it certainly caught my attention!
The second chapter strips you of all but Hulk to start off. It also introduces Ms Marvel, but doesn't let you take control of her straight away. This is where the game stops showing off and gives you full control of the big green machine. It also teaches you a lesson in how the Hulk works. Marvel's Avengers doesn't utilise the comic book ruling for the Hulk - he isn't indestructible and works in quite a unique way!
As the Hulk fights, he builds up a rage shield which can be used to absorb some damage for a time. We preferred this to having an insurmountable beast, as having an untouchable behemoth might have made the game a tad easy! Hulk's supers focus on big hits and staggers, and can help him manage large numbers at once. With Hulk being so large, he'll take a lot of hits, so managing the rage shield is important for longevity!