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How You've Been Playing The Avengers Game All Wrong

Gamers everywhere have assembled to take down the villainous, anti-Inhuman organization A.I.M. in Marvel's Avengers. Combining a fast-paced beat-'em-up combat system with a compelling single-player storyline and some equally killer co-op, Crystal Dynamics' take on the titular superhero team is proving to be quite the success story. Fans and critics alike have praised the title, with outlets like Destructoid admitting that — while the devs still have a ways to go with the game — the whole affair "seems like a shoo-in for a future games-as-a-service 'bringing up your grades' award."

Marvel's Avengers does a decent enough job showing players the ropes early on as you take control of Kamala Khan — AKA Ms. Marvel. The young Avenger-in-training is a great entry point for newcomers as both you and Khan learn the ins and outs of what does what, mechanic-wise. Though the game is pretty thorough with its tutorials, there are a handful of things that it breezes over, leaves a bit ambiguous, or totally neglects to tell you. Unfortunately, it turns out that quite a few of these elements are key to your success. 

Get ready to jump into the HARM room for a simulated lesson on how to avoid an epic fail — this is how you've been playing Marvel's Avengers wrong.

Not familiarizing yourself with all the heroes before choosing your "main"

With the variety of characters and combat styles at your disposal, you might wonder which of Marvel's Avengers' first six heroes is right for you. Instead of selecting one hero and playing with them ad infinitum, you are much better off taking each character out for a spin to determine which combat style is right for you. 

Hulk is basically a living tank capable of plowing through waves of enemies, while Iron Man's flight lets him get the heads up on unsuspecting enemies and blast them to smithereens. Black Widow juggles rapid projectiles with acrobatic melee maneuvers, while Ms. Marvel's embiggened limbs and sweeping attacks are great for crowd control when confronted by swaths of baddies. Thor's devastating combat style — which combines Mjolnir tossing, lightning launching, and a whole lot of raw power — would make God of War's Kratos shed a tear. Finally, Cap represents a solid balance of speed, close-quarters prowess, and long-range, shield-flinging ferocity.

Before you leap into co-op War Zones, get a feel for each of the Avengers by playing the single-player campaign, which switches from hero to hero as the story unfolds.

Not taking advantage of the HARM room

What better way to perfect the abilities of your A.I.M.-assaulting, robot-wrangling Avengers than by practicing? That's where the (almost definitely named by Tony Stark) HARM — or "Holographic Augmented Reality Machine" — room comes into play.

The HARM Room is basically a combat simulator that throws wave after wave of enemies at you. At the start of the single-player campaign, accessing the HARM Room as Kamala gives you your first real taste of what Iron Man can do. It's a pretty cool, canonically appropriate way to give Iron Man a combat tutorial without forcing players to suspend their belief. As the game progresses, however, the HARM Room becomes a valuable resource where players can test out new skills and gear before heading out into the fray — and get some nifty rewards for completing HARM missions to boot.

The HARM Room is just another tool at your disposal in your quest to join the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Not paying attention to your loadout

Like it or not, the walls between genres such as "role-playing game" and "action adventure" have begun to break down as gameplay mechanics like inventories and equipment systems jump from one variety to the next. Hence the load-out system in Marvel's Avengers.

The whole load-out management system in Avengers can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. There are a lot of attributes to consider when decking your heroes out pre-mission, ranging from gear perks to power boost resource requirements. Throw in the fact that the game doesn't automatically equip your best gear — and that it's often tricky keeping track of all the items you obtain during missions — and managing your gear starts to feel like a chore.

Still, it's important to maintain your loadout. Players who want to get the most out of their experience had better keep a close eye on what they equip. If you take great pride in assembling the perfect load-out you can do this manually. But for those who just can't wait to kick baddie booty, there's a shortcut: pressing L2 on PS4 or LT on Xbox will automatically equip the best gear in your inventory.

Not bothering to explore mission areas

The missions in Marvel's Avengers take players to all sorts of locales, from Tony Stark's now-derelict childhood home to snowy tundras hiding secret A.I.M. facilities. They're all visually compelling in their own right, beautifully rendered and itching to be scoured for gear with a fine-tooth comb.

That said, who has time to sightsee when there are automated A.I.M. opponents you need to be put down? Well, impatient players had better pack their hiking boots because it turns out that some of the best gear — which is all but necessary to beat the circuits out of said A.I.M.-bots — is hidden. In other words, exploring the environments during missions is pivotal to finding some of the best loot in the game.

Of course, gamers hungry to Hulk-smash their way through the baddies can head straight for their mission's objective. But for those intrepid players who want to get the most out of each mission, exploring every nook and cranny of the map is paramount.

Not taking advantage of Tactical Awareness

Marvel's Avengers is the kind of game where it's important to be aware of your surroundings. Whether that means knowing where your enemies are stationed, where you can find the best loot, or even just which path to take to reach your objective — spatial awareness is key. That's why you should make frequent use of the game's Tactical Awareness mechanic.

Accessing Tactical Awareness is as simple as pressing the up button on your D-pad. Upon doing so, your screen will go a little fuzzy for a split-second as a big, white orb jumps out of your body and speeds off toward your mission objective and optional objectives. It literally points you in the exact direction you need to go to get things done. Using Tactical Awareness will also reveal the locations of nearby enemies — kind of like Focused Hearing in Ghost of Tsushima. It will even point you to the location of locks when you encounter locked doors, meaning every excuse for missing out on a mission's best loot has pretty much gone out the window!

Ignoring Challenge Cards

There's absolutely no shame in pulling' out that credit card and charging up a storm for Marvel's Avengers in-game cosmetics. Micro-transactions have become the norm rather than the exception, for better or for worse — and Marvel's Avengers takes full advantage of this industry standard. That said, there is another way to get some rad swag for your heroes: they're called Hero Challenge Cards.

Challenge Cards in Avengers basically work the way that Battle Passes do in Fortnite or Modern Warfare. Each Card consists of 40 tiers that contain all sorts of stuff, from nameplates to emotes to takedowns — cool moves showcasing your hero's unique powers and personality. Each tier requires you to spend points you can snag by fulfilling certain daily and weekly requirements before you can unlock said goodies — hence the "Challenge" part of Challenge Card.

The best part is that the challenges aren't exactly daunting. For instance, one of Iron Man's first challenges requires him to defeat 10 specific robots to obtain 11 challenge points. No need to dish out your hard-earned dough for some dope rewards.

Neglecting to master your main hero's defensive maneuver

Except for the odd death here and there, the big screen counterparts of the heroes in Marvel's Avengers are basically invincible. The same cannot be said for their video game incarnations, who — in a rare instance of video games being more realistic than cinema — are prone to getting whooped. While some of A.I.M.'s robotic henchmen are as bullet spongey as it gets, the Avenger of your choosing is not — which is why it's in every player's best interest to master their main's unique defense maneuver (R2 on PS4/RT on Xbox One).

Iron Man, for instance, boasts an energy shield you can upgrade to last longer, sustain more damage, and even reflect attacks back at enemies. But not all defensive maneuvers are as traditional as a literal shield. Hulk's defense is basically, well... more offense. Activating the big, green guy's Rage ability allows him to deal more damage while healing at the expense of his Intrinsic Meter.

Remember: Each hero has their own defensive move, and since maiming A.I.M. is the name of the game — and not the other way around — learning how to take advantage of each tactic is key.

Not boosting and dismantling gear

The more you explore, the more gear you'll find. The better gear you find, the higher your stats. The higher your stats, the more butt you can kick. The more butt you kick, the more missions you unlock where you can further explore for better gear. It's a pretty straightforward cycle. But there's one thing that might throw a wrench in the whole situation: getting attached to low-level gear.

Thankfully, there's a solution to this problem. By power boosting your gear, you can hang onto your faves by upping their stats — basically, keeping your old, faithful equipment nice and shiny. The process is simple: just hover over the gear you want to boost, hold square on PS4 or X on Xbox, and watch the stats on your favorite old equipment rise. Just remember: you'll need a certain amount of resources to do this, which is where dismantling gear comes in.

By dismantling gear (holding triangle on PS4/Y on Xbox One), you can break down all the old, useless junk you've collected on your missions and turn them into valuable resources to boost the gear you want to hang on to.

Ignoring the green cylinders

In a combat-heavy game like Marvel's Avengers, getting beaten up, smacked down, and altogether knocked around isn't a likelihood — it's a guarantee. So, when you see your health bar take a dive, you've got a few options.

In an early tutorial, the game makes a point of showing how to use the Avengers' Heroic Moves — super-powered abilities that recharge over time. There are Assault Heroics, which are fancy offensive maneuvers; then you have Ultimate Heroics, which can basically clear out whole swaths of enemies. Finally, there are Support Heroics, which, as the name implies, lend support to your character and teammates. For example, you can upgrade Ms. Marvel's Healing Spirit to revive downed teammates. Likewise, Hulk's Rage Assault Heroic allows him to regenerate health as he pummels his foes. While these two Heroic Moves can be useful in a pinch, there's another way to return from the brink of death that Marvel's Avengers doesn't tell you about.

Crystal Dynamics has scattered green cylinders throughout mission areas. When attacked, these cylinders regenerate your character's health. For whatever reason, Marvel's Avengers never explicitly explains this in-game — but it's an important aspect to remember the next time your health bar starts dropping.

Ignoring Mission Modifiers

Each mission in Marvel's Avengers is unique in its objective, environment, and available loot — which means players must remain eagle-eyed and on their toes at all times. It also means maintaining your gear and selecting the highest-caliber equipment is key to victory. But there's one caveat, kiddies: certain missions play host to  Mission Modifiers, certain environmental conditions or elemental enemy attacks that could prove devastating to your team if your heroes aren't properly prepped.

For example, in an early single-player campaign mission, one of the modifiers warns of blizzard conditions and enemies using cryo weapons that could cause extra damage — unless, of course, you equip gear to counter these effects. Checking for mission modifiers is as simple as accessing your War Table, hovering over a mission, and holding R2 (on PS4) or RT (on Xbox). Be sure to do so prior to every mission, as it could mean the difference between victory and devastating defeat.

Refusing to change the game's difficulty

As with most modern titles, Marvel's Avengers allows players to adjust the difficulty to their liking. Is a mission particularly punishing? Drop that sucker's difficulty down from Challenge III to Challenge I. No judgement, and Marvel's Avengers won't even penalize you for it.

Of course, the higher you bump that bad boy's difficulty up — which will incrementally heighten enemy power levels — the more loot you can expect to find, meaning there is incentive to test your might against tougher missions. But it's also important to remember there will be a wealth of missions with plenty of goodies as Crystal Dynamics continues to support its brawler-looter throughout its lifespan.

Marvel's Avengers centers on slipping into the skin of your favorite heroes — either solo or alongside your best gamer pals — to live out your superhero power fantasies. Where's the fun in facing off against impossibly powerful enemies at the expense of a good time? Don't be afraid to limit yourself if you feel overwhelmed. After all, in the immortal words of Tony Stark, "If we can't accept limitations, we're boundaryless. We're no better than the bad guys."