Much to my surprise, my disc copy of Marvel’s Avengers went live yesterday, allowing me a full day of play when I thought that wasn’t going to be the case until “official” early launch today. I tweeted some impressions as I played, and yet I was saving most of my thoughts for the few thousand words you’ll see below you.

In short, Avengers is shaping up to be a good game, and not really in the way I expected.

The concept is kind of a bit at war with itself. Avengers has a main story campaign, which is what everyone will experience first and foremost, but it also wants to be an ongoing looter, meant for daily, weekly and monthly grinding and ongoing content releases, my area of expertise.

Story is usually an afterthought in games in this genre. The base stories of Destiny 1-2, The Division 1-2, Diablo 1-3 or Anthem are all generally pretty terrible or forgettable. The best looter story to date is probably Borderlands 2, and that’s not saying a whole lot. The excuse given at this point is that you simply don’t expect a good story out of this genre, and even BioWare, for all its Mass Effect prowess, couldn’t change that with Anthem.

But Crystal Dynamics has.

They seem to have conquered the dual challenges of crafting a coherent, impactful story in this genre, while also doing it when we have just finished up a decade of beloved MCU movies that have given us a ton of well-received Avengers movies starring almost all of these exact characters. That’s an incredibly tough position to be in, yet the game has pulled it off. How?

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