Marvel's Avengers Mobility Accessibility
While Marvel's Avengers has features such as remapping and toggle hold adjustments that can help players, a rigid aim-assist can cause a nuisance. In addition, the lack of camera assistance and the require to operate both sticks at times can be frustrating barriers.
- Toggle and Hold options
- QTE adjustments
- Problematic Aim Assist
- No Camera Assistance
- Both sticks are required
Marvel’s Avengers is a 2020 Action-adventure brawler Developed by Crystal Dynamics. The game puts you in the shoes of various superheroes as they utilize their unique powers to overcome enemies. This PlayStation review on Marvel’s Avengers will focus primarily on motor-function accessibility.
Marvel’s Avengers is, to my mind, the closest we’ll ever come to seeing Marvel’s 2012 blockbuster film replicated in video game form. It’s very clear this blockbuster presentation is the desired effect with video game heavyweights actors such as Troy Baker, Nolan North, and Jennifer Hale to name a few.
Upon booting the game and navigating to the options menu, players will find a dedicated accessibility menu. Here you’ll find features that —for the most part— have become a mainstay of motor-function accessibility. Features such as sprint toggle, changing rapid taps for QTE sequences, and controller remapping are present.
Remapping is certainly useful as a hero’s ultimate ability requires a simultaneous L2 and R2 press, but can be adjusted to active with only a single button. To take it further, remapping does allow for a custom setup, meaning that any button or combination of buttons can be mapped to any action.
That being said, there are a few shortcomings that hold Marvel’s Avengers back regarding levels that come with time limits and ones that require defending a position.
Combat and Navigation
For the most part, combat plays like that of a standard third-person action-adventure title. Arenas are filled with large numbers of enemies to defeat, ranging from standard foot-soldiers to flying drones, to hulking behemoths. Levels are designed well and tailored to whatever hero is in use. As an example, in the missions where you control Hulk, there are stronger enemies to prioritize his strength. For Ms. Marvel, there’s more verticality across the level to exploit her stretching ability with platforming.
Attacks are broken into light and heavy. By default, Square and Triangle are used respectively to create combos. Successfully landing and dodging incoming attacks fills a meter that is directly tied to super and ultimate abilities. Super abilities are short-lived momentary abilities that work to give small buffs like brief invisibility or small health boosts. The ultimate ability is usually longer lasting and does a great deal of damage.
Objectives consist of either destroying an object, defending a position from attackers, or clearing an area of threats. Roughly halfway into the story, there is a mission that requires Tony Stark to infiltrate an enemy installation. This mission threatens to undermine everything the developer has done to promote accessibility.
I’m given only three minutes to fly across the entirety of the base while also being shot at. Given how flexible the controls are from the Settings area, it’s unusual that there isn’t an assistive camera mode similar to Uncharted 4 which enables movement without the use of both sticks. Instead, the only adjustment to sticks is swapping their functions, which is ineffective as it still requires the use of both hands. Single-stick control or an assistive camera mode here would’ve really helped during this flight section.
During this sequence, I’m also encouraged to return fire at passing enemies, but doing so often results in failure because of aiming struggles. Failing this particular objective that has no checkpoint, means a complete restart that leads to frustration brought on by awkward flight controls and an unnecessary time limit. In the level’s finale, Tony must destroy generators, but the fact that he is surrounded and constantly targets his attacker rather than the objective —even with auto-target disabled— makes it tedious.
This aim assist struggle was also present during the penultimate mission when Captain Rogers is given 60 seconds to throw his shield at two airlock override switches. Instead of aiming at the objectives, he targets oncoming enemies because there’s no way to prioritize targets.
Waypoints are legible and the easiest path to an objective is marked by a red trail with the tap of a button. These mechanics are useful, but rigid aim-assist keeps Marvel’s Avengers from being the best it can be.
Marvel’s Avengers is a fascinating and well-acted interpretation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that is not dissimilar to their on-screen counterparts’ struggle. Crystal Dynamics manages to put enough of its own spin on things to keep Marvel’s Avengers feeling fresh, and it hits important accessibility marks. For players with motor disabilities, remapping, QTE adjustments, and toggles can help them experience the game. However, this is despite being afflicted by a rigid aim-assist, time-sensitive missions, and awkward flight controls.