Release Date: Jul 26, 2018
Upon initial glance, the idea of playing as a Marvel hero alongside your mates was exciting and filled with promise, but the branded VR title does more in disappointing than pleasing those eager comic book fans who’ve dreamt of stepping into the shoes of a superhero.
Once the 54 GB installation is complete, you’re treated to a cinematic introduction to Powers United as Captain America or Black Widow, charging through a battle-ridden New York while familiarizing yourself with the basic controls and the various faces you’ll come to know and play as. You’ll eventually be aboard a spacecraft where you’ll be able to select your hero from an average roster of well-known Marvel heroes from Deadpool to Wolverine to Rocket Raccoon to the Hulk, with a few notable absences such as Iron Man, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, Human Torch, and Daredevil. The central gameplay relies on a single selected mission chosen from the players in a lobby where they’re dropped in to protect S.H.I.E.L.D. generators from spawning enemies that will either attack you or the said generators – with a boss battle or two mixed in to spice up the action. This is where the players are enabled to work together and score combos while simultaneously mastering their character’s distinctive abilities.
Only, that’s all the game can offer, and just that.
Powers United features several maps that house the same game mode of action PvE, with one Thanos fight that replaces the generators with different sequences that coincide with his collected Infinity Stones and another that acts as an X-Men training room. Once you’re done with any of the missions, you’re more than likely to be rewarded with a loot box that will either give customizations for your characters and/or trophies to your showroom, where Lockjaw can be fed treats, a Baby Groot could dance to a boombox, Cap’s shield could be hung and held, etc. But then you’re forced into the repetitive nature of the game when you need more experience for your characters and trophies to play with.
While the gameplay can get mundane to a certain point, fans should be able to appreciate the cartoony and faithful graphics that take inspiration straight from the comics and animated shows, with vibrant environments and epic hit attacks make the game’s only game mode that much fun and tolerable. Overall, the graphics are pretty much up-to-date, at least by virtual reality standards – minus the wearisome onset game bootup where everything isn’t as pretty as they would eventually come to be. But truly, playing as most of the heroes was a sick blast. Hulk is able to carry and throw enemies, Deadpool is equipped with his signature swords and weapons, Captain’s shield is an overpowered, physic-disobeying master weapon that can take down multiple enemies with one throw, Doctor Strange (my personal favorite) can trap and freeze enemies while floating above the battlefield – anything that you think your favorite hero could do could possibly do it in this game.
In terms of a story, Powers United doesn’t necessarily possess one. Instead, it’s your mission to progress your characters further to achieve full stats as you make your way through each of the similar maps that eventually lead to the rather unsatisfactory and tiring fight with the Mad Titan. And with each additional player added to your squad (up to a total of four), it feels more like you’re acting out you’re very own comic book fighting sequence. You better have patience, though, for the game’s matchmaking wait time could take quite some time to load up, to the point where you’re standing there for ten plus minutes and switching over to a different game might be the best solution. It can get very annoying, especially when you have that itch to fight off some bad guys.
The score of the game isn’t something to get excited about, either. You’ll hear the same melodies over and over again in the menus and within the gameplay, which thankfully is almost overshadowed by the sound effects emitted from attacks and shouts from characters that can make the action come alive. While the mixing isn’t the greatest, it can get a little choppy here and there, there’s room to appreciate how the characters interact with the playground, specifically when you activate their special abilities that perfectly go with each respective character. It fits nicely, but the game isn’t at its brightest with the sound.
Sadly, the game does get old and repetitive, and after a few rounds at best. You’ll spend half the time waiting for a game to match up as you stand for a game mode that appears to be the only one in the game. Quite frankly, one game mode for a game that’s priced at $40 is ridiculously unfair – a blatant easy cash grab for Marvel. There’s not much you can do here, and the waiting lobby can really bring you to the point where you want to shut off your VR headset. I believe once they add in another game mode or two, the replay value will increase, but at the moment it’s very low for me.
Play as some of your favorite Marvel heroes in this average and dull action title as you go through each tiring stage until you get to the real stuff, but even then the game fails to deliver the experience one might’ve hoped from Marvel VR game. Powers United both satisfies and insults the desires of any Marvel fan who wished to step into the Hulk’s stretchable pants instead of those rubber gloves from the nearest toy store.