Not sure who to stick with in Marvel's new action-RPG? Here's a quick explainer on the key players in the Avengers, and what they bring to the table.
In the opening hour of Marvel's Avengers, you'll get to experience a small sampling of each playable hero. From Captain America's firm resolve and focus in combat, to the tactical abilities of Iron Man, and the Hulk's raw strength, the playable roster of heroes covers many different bases in a fight. The story campaign is a great way to experience the game's slate of heroes and get accustomed to them at a steady pace. With each character having their own complex skill trees, gear-sets, and customizable options to pick from, it might feel overwhelming when deciding which hero is right for you.
With that in mind, GameSpot has a quick explainer on each of the game's current slate of characters, detailing what they bring to the table and how you might enjoy playing them during an intense fight. While you can jump straight into the online multiplayer, it's best to start with the campaign to get a sense of what the game is about. So with that, here's our look at each hero in Marvel's Avengers. If you want a more detailed look at each playable hero, then check out our on-going break downs for each character, such as this explainer for Iron Man.
For more of GameSpot's coverage of Marvel's Avengers, including our beginner's tips, a breakdown of the endgame content and our current set of impressions about the game, check out our Marvel's Avengers hub page.
Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, is a fun, all-around solid character to play as. Plus, she maintains an incredibly cheerful demeanor throughout the many missions--which is great for morale. Kamala is the game's key protagonist and is also the first hero you'll develop in the single-player campaign. Ms. Marvel's role in combat is best described as being the group's combat medic. She can not only heal her party members fast, but she can deal damage in a quick manner against multiple enemies. This allows her to break into combat scenarios fast to heal up party members with her Healing Spirit skill, and then get back to throwing fists against her enemies.
Kamala's most significant advantages are her range and versatility, which she can use in plenty of creative ways. While all characters have a reliable set of melee attacks, Kamala's strikes not only offer the most range for melee attacks, but they can quickly hit multiple foes at once. This makes her one of the standout melee fighters that has a strong "keep-away" game. When entering the aiming mode, Kamala can perform a single long-ranged punch that can take out aerial enemies or foes trying to make their way towards you. Once upgraded, you can grab an enemy at a distance and slam them into the ground for additional damage. This ability can come in clutch when a pesky enemy uses long-ranged attacks, and you can easily swat them away or use them as a weapon against others.
But when you get into the thick of it, Kamala can still keep up with everyone else. One of Ms. Marvel's defensive skills is Polymorph, and you should lean on it when surrounded by enemies. When activated, you'll absorb enemy strikes at the cost of energy from your intrinsic meter. However, if you activate it just before an enemy is about to strike, Kamala can use a follow-up attack right after, which is an unlockable upgrade in her skill menu. This intrinsic ability can be incredibly useful against enemies who are a bit tougher than the normal foes, and it can easily stagger them. When paired up with characters like the Hulk, she can weave into combat to heal up allies, but can also throw hands when she needs to.
Kamala has--and no-pun intended--one of the more flexible playstyles in the game, which not only makes her a great pick for anyone looking to jump into a quick character to advance, but also a reliable support character. So if you want to play as a character that is easy to get into, and has plenty of support and offensive skills to pull off in tricky fights, give the newcomer Kamala a shot.
What else can you say about the Hulk? He likes to smash things, and his playstyle follows that simple, yet still effective approach. The Hulk is easily the most proficient character at dealing raw damage, and he can take a lot of punishment that comes his way. He's the group's tank, and his skills simultaneously focus on absorbing hits while also gaining aggression from enemies.
While the Hulk is the roster's slowest character, his attack power and range tend to make up for it. His standard light attack combo can deal steady damage to single targets, but his heavy strikes can hit multiple enemies at once and can even be upgraded to increase their damage radius. The Hulk can deal devastating area-of-effect damage, especially to common enemies, and he can quickly clear squads on his own with the right combos.
Many of The Hulk's skills focus on area-of-effect damage, but his ultimate skill, the Thunderclap, is his most useful of all. It's a powerful attack that deals strong damage to enemies around him, and it can quickly clear rooms when used at the right moment. So if you've been attracting aggro from squads of enemies, the Thunderclap can be used to take out or deal significant damage to all those around you.
When the Hulk is on the field, enemies will likely fixate on him, as he's dealing significant damage in a wide radius. While this can be a great help to his more vulnerable teammates, this also puts a lot of heat on him. To make up for this, Hulk has some incredible resilience, which means he's about to stay in a fight for much longer. His standard Rage buff allows him to interrupt enemy attacks, buff his own damage and defense, and even restore his health. This skill can be invaluable when trying to go the distance in a large-scale battle. For players looking to deal massive damage and keep up with the mounting challenges, the Hulk is the hero for you.
When you're playing as Iron Man, you'll get pretty much what you're expecting with him--which is access to high-powered weapons, flight, and an even more powerful mech suit that can stand toe-to-toe with the Hulk in raw power. Iron Man has an incredibly complex moveset, making him the most technical character to learn within the roster.
For starters, Iron Man is something of a glass cannon. He's fast, he can deal some impressive amounts of damage at a steady pace, but he's not as resilient as most other heroes. This means that he's at his best when keeping a distance from the enemies. You'll have to use his dodges and Energy Shield to defend against attacks more often--the latter can also be used as a parry to stun enemies in the area. His attacks mostly favor the ranged approach, and to use them, you'll need to keep your intrinsic energy meter filled. Iron Man also has the strongest air game of the team, and you can easily take out several enemies while in flight mode, or if you're juggling foes for aerial combos.
What makes Iron Man a pretty technical character to learn is his different loadouts. When you first play as Iron Man, you'll have access to his standard repulsor blasts, which deal concentrated damage to single targets. But when you start upgrading the character, you'll also unlock access to his movesets that use lasers and rockets. The laser focuses on sweeping attacks that hit multiple enemies, which can be fantastic when trying to clear out minion squads. Meanwhile, his rocket attacks deal significant explosive damage to single targets at the cost of being the slowest of his specialized movesets--they're ideal for staggering and tearing into the more elite enemies in the game.
One of Iron Man's support skills is his Arc Overload, which supercharges his attacks and briefly grants him unlimited intrinsic energy to draw from, while stunning nearby robotic enemies. Activating this during a heated fight will offer you a great chance to cut loose and unleash all your attacks to deal massive damage. Another of Iron Man's skills is his iconic Unibeam attack, which deals a continuous stream of damage for a limited amount of time. This attack can be a bit situational, but when you have a squad of enemies lined up, or you have an elite foe right in front of you, you can let loose a devastating blow to them.
Iron Man's most powerful skill is his ultimate ability that calls in a Hulkbuster, a giant-sized mech suit that grants the user increased attack power and brief invincibility. While Iron Man is the one to call it in, anyone on the squad can jump in the suit if left unmanned on the field. For some added comic relief, even the Hulk can jump into the Hulkbuster, granting him even more power in the fight. Getting used to Iron Man's skill set can be tricky, but that effort in mastering his abilities will be well-rewarded with one of the game's most versatile characters.
If you want a more detailed look at Iron Man's skills and abilities, then check out our character breakout here.
Black Widow is easily the fastest hero in the roster, and she can use her skills as an assassin to easily take out many enemies in surprisingly swift fashion. Bolstered by a moveset that uses gadgets and a special kind of brawler-style specializing in stealth attacks and takedowns, her combos apply a great deal of pressure to enemies. While other characters can hit multiple foes, Black Widow is more of a focused fighter for single targets. In the hands of a skilled player, Black Widow can be one of the deadliest close-range fighters in the game.
Black Widow's moveset includes close- and mid-range attacks, along with some gadgets that can quickly close the gap. Her Widow's Line heroic is one of her most invaluable skills, which functions as a grappling hook that will pull her close to her enemies and catch them off-guard. This gadget is extremely helpful when fighting elite enemies that are quick on their feet, or as a way to begin a fight on an unsuspecting enemy.
Compared to other characters, Black Widow will activate takedown attacks at a much more frequent pace. These takedowns are useful against tougher enemies, allowing you to take them out of the fight quickly. Along with her electric stun attack, which deals damage over time, Black Widow's standard combos and heavy attacks with the batons apply strong stagger to enemies, which will open up the prompt to perform a takedown. So when playing as Black Widow, get used to seeing the option to perform a takedown quite. This puts her the unique advantage of being one of the few characters who can easily incapacitate enemies, which can be useful in one of the more brutal battles.
In addition to her melee attacks, Black Widow also has different firearms to use. Like Iron Man, Black Widow can swap between different ranged weapons. Starting with her dual pistols, she can eventually upgrade to twin sub-machine guns and a high-powered pistol. Each one has its uses, and you can swap between them during a fight depending on the types of enemies you're facing.
Black Widow's Veil of Shadow support skill allows her to activate a cloaking device to sneak up on vulnerable enemies to apply stagger damage to them with your attacks. You can also sneak up and perform instant takedowns on enemies when you are hidden from view. One of the more interesting perks that can be unlocked is the additional damage and added benefit of cloaking your teammates as well. Couple this with Black Widow's other skills, and you can open up several unique opportunities to exploit an enemy's weakness.
Along with these other abilities, her ultimate attack will turn her twin batons into a single, electrified polearm, which will turn the assassin into a combo machine. Black Widow is an excellent pick for players who want to make their strikes count and tear into foes quickly, all while bouncing over to the next victim right after.
The god of thunder, Thor, blends a strong focus on ranged attacks with a brawler fighting style. Like Iron Man, Thor can fly around the field and swoop in on unsuspecting foes. However, what sets him apart from Iron Man is that he lasts longer in a close-range fight. In fact, his lightning attacks are best used when close to enemies, and you can utilize these skills in some creative ways. If Iron Man is a glass cannon, then Thor is something of a battle mage.
The centerpiece of Thor's moveset is his hammer Mjolnir, which deals heavy damage and calls in devastating magical attacks that hit single targets and multiple enemies. One skill you'll want to get accustomed to early is his hammer throw. Like in comics and films, the god of thunder can toss his hammer out to enemies and call it back when he needs it--dealing damage twice in both instances to a particular foe. One useful trick to use with the hammer is to fling it at an enemy to pin them to the ground or wall and use your fists to strike other enemies. This can be a great way to temporarily remove some of the more annoying enemies on the field to focus on the fodder.
Another skill you'll want to use regularly is his Odinforce intrinsic ability. This support skill will allow Thor to power up with lightning energy to counter incoming attacks. It functions similarly to Kamala's Polymorph skill, but it leaves more of a lasting effect on his enemies, resulting in chain lightning damage and a large area of damage. Amplifying Thor's skills with lightning can be a massive boon in a fight, which can help during the more intense battles.
Thor's ultimate attack allows him to channel the Bifrost to teleport a concentrated energy beam into a fight. When activated, Thor will briefly leave the field, giving you control of a targeting icon that you can guide to enemies. When upgraded, you can increase the effectiveness of the attack and even add restorative properties to it as well. This move can come in clutch during a tough fight that requires some quick downtime to briefly reassess your situation and call in some fast, heavy damage. If you're looking for a hero with the agility of Iron Man and the Hulk's strength, and who can even rain down an incredible amount of lighting on your enemies, then Thor is the hero for you.
Just like in the comics and films, Captain America is exceptionally proficient at close-range combat and has an uncanny ability to strike enemies with his shield with pinpoint accuracy. In addition to both close and ranged attacks, he also has different defensive skills and buffs that can rally his teammates to fight harder, making him a great support character for the group. Captain America is the leader and moral compass of the Avengers, and his general abilities in a fight reflect that.
Captain America's fighting style tends to keep him up close and personal with his enemies. His melee strikes and power attacks offer great ways to apply pressure, and when you mix in attacks with his shield, you easily stagger enemies, opening them up for takedown attacks.
One of Captain America's most useful support abilities is the Rally Cry, which will mark nearby enemies and lower their defenses. During this period, you and your allies will be able to deal added damage, and when upgraded, it also offers added critical hit damage. Activating this during a tough fight with several elite enemies can be a gamechanger, potentially making for a quick battle if you time your attacks correctly and prioritize the key targets.
Cap's shield also offers a lot of versatility in a battle. For starters, you use his shield to strike at enemies at a distance, and with his Steamroller heroic attack, it will auto-target enemies in the area for several hits. Once upgraded, you can target multiple enemies with your shield, hitting each of them, and then have the shield return to you. The shield also offers excellent protection against most forms of attacks, while still giving Cap mobility during a fight. Blocking with the shield will use up intrinsic energy, which can be built back up by hitting enemies. The shield can also parry strikes, which will stun enemies if pulled off at the right time.
Captain America's ultimate is called the Brooklyn Brawler, which activates an area-of-effect attack and buffs his skills for an amount of time. This state also alters the hero's basic attack combos, amplifying it to include more strikes with his shield. The first Avenger is a fantastic pick for anyone looking to lay in some fast, heavy damage, while still buffing your teammates when it matters most.