We've also been given a look at the first raid, Discordant Sound, as well as the other updates coming in Patch 2.2.
In around a week, Crystal Dynamics is once again severely expanding the experience we've come to know as Marvel's Avengers. Not only will the upcoming update mark the latest Hero coming to the title, the PlayStation exclusive Spider-Man, but it will also see an Avengers first: a raid. With all of this to look forward to, I've been able to see all of this new content in action ahead of its release, in a hands-off preview, where I was fortunate enough to see Spidey show his skills on a bunch of AIM soldiers, as well as going on an adventure into Wakanda's Vibranium Mound to stop a rampaging hypersonic Klaw.
Just a Kid from Queens
To start things off, let's talk about Queens' resident web-slinger. Spider-Man is coming to Marvel's Avengers as a PlayStation exclusive character (available to PS4 and PS5 players). Unlockable through an all-new Hero Event called With Great Power, Spider-Man can be unlocked and played right off the bat. You don't need to finish the Reassemble storyline, or any of the Operations that have debuted since, you can just grab the game and then boot the mission from the War Table to start playing as Spidey.
What will it entail? In With Great Power, Spider-Man has come to the Avengers in need of assistance. Peter Parker, who is at this time an intern at AIM, has discovered that the company has figured out a way to make their soldiers unstoppable, and has enlisted the help of the Avengers to prevent AIM from acquiring the technology necessary to achieve this feat. During his time working with the legendary group of superheroes, Spider-Man forms a connection with Ms. Marvel and Black Widow, and ultimately decides that being a team player isn't so bad, and therefore makes an unfamiliar decision to assist the Avengers in their future endeavours.
Crystal Dynamics' version of the character is described in the Deep Dive as "in his early 20s, he's responsible to a fault, light-hearted but distant, and bears the burden of his double-life", and while he does show signs of the typical Spider-Man we see portrayed elsewhere, this iteration isn't quite as witty or cocky in tone.
Even though he is a PlayStation exclusive character, Avengers' Spider-Man is not the same person as Insomniac's Spider-Man, despite the fact that the pair do seem to share incredibly similar moves and actions. He can swing through levels using a system that seems to be a more watered down version of what was delivered in Marvel's Spider-Man, and likewise also flips, kicks, and punches in a familiar manner. This is most noticeable during traversal, as wall-running, web-zipping, web-launching seem to all be very similar moves to the ones we got the 2018 game, and this does also often extend to the combat.
While Spider-Man has quite an agile moveset, akin to that of Black Widow rather than Captain America or Black Panther, the character uses a combination of melee and airborne attacks. You can unleash a barrage of punches and kicks, and then seamlessly launch foes into the air to continue the assault with an acrobatic display of martial arts. As for the abilities themselves, there are more basic ones such as Web-Pull and Web-Whirlwind, which look remarkably alike Web Throw and Spin Cycle from Insomniac's games.
I asked Crystal Dynamics' lead hero designer, Scott Walters about the similarities between Marvel's Avengers Spider-Man's moves and what was shown in Insomniac's game. Walters told me, "We didn't have an open chat or anything like that, but it's definitely one of those things where you look at Spider-Man and what can he do, there's a sort of realm again where you want to make sure you are true to the character, whether that looks similar to what someone else has done. I went back and looked at all the versions of Spider-Man that have ever been in a video game and you can see things that were back on the PS1 that were done in the Insomniac games. There's a lineage there of what Spider-Man is expected to do."
As for the more complex abilities, these are a little more original, with the Assault Heroic Ability (Web-Bomb) allowing you to hurl a massive ball of webbing at foes to stick them to the environment, or even have enemies in the vicinity tethered to one another, depending on how you have the ability specced.
The Support Heroic Ability is called Spider-Drone and sees Peter leap into the air before landing on the spot, calling in a Spider-Drone that will zip around the battlefield webbing enemies during its duration. This move can be specialised to have Peter's landing spot also create a healing field that will keep allies healthy.
Last of all is the Ultimate Heroic Ability, Wrecking Ball. This sees Peter create a giant ball of web, before hurling it over his head and slamming it on the ground for massive damage. It can be customised in multiple ways as well, including having Peter web-up his hands and feet following casting, so that he can inflict the webbing status effect on foes with regular melee attacks.
The only other part to note with Spider-Man is that his ranged attack uses his web shooters to damage and web-up foes, and that his counter prompt is detailed by Spidey-Sense, making it a little more of a personal feature to the character. On top of this, Spider-Man will also have 40 outfits to use and over 20 emotes, many of which can be earnt through new Spidey specific challenges, as well as a lot being purchasable content.
Wakanda is under attack... again
The Avengers' first raid, Discordant Sound, sees the cast of superheroes heading back to Wakanda to deal with Klaw once again. The now hypersonic villain has returned to corrupt the Vibranium Mound that Wakanda relies on. To help neutralise the threat, the Avengers are sent into the Wakandan mines to once again stop Klaw, dealing with all manners of puzzles and overwhelmingly tough enemies along the way.
As this is a raid, Discordant Sound has been designed as the pinnacle of endgame activities, meaning you will need to truly specialise your team to be able to handle the challenge that is put in front of you. Whether it's dealing with massive Spider-bots or the new hypersonic enemies, solving puzzle encounters, or even simply completing traversal elements, the raid is set to be longer than your typical endgame activity and far more rewarding to compensate for its advanced difficulty.
A few welcome changes
Which leads right onto the other improvements that are being introduced as part of this update. With this new endgame activity to explore, Marvel's Avengers will be getting a power cap increase, raising the maximum level from 150 to 175. Gear of increased power will be earnable from the usual avenues, until you reach 160, where gear of extra power onwards will need to be earnt through the raid itself, which is slated to have plentiful reward opportunities.
To accommodate for the level cap rise, Crystal Dynamics is tweaking the way players can earn high-tier gear. Weekly Objectives, Omega Level Threat missions, and the raid will all be able to be completed once-per-week for each Hero, meaning you can freely level each Avenger without comprising how frequently you get powerful loot on one character.
On top of this, gear will no longer have a cap on how many times it can be upgraded, meaning that perfectly rolled item you've been storing since level 102 can now be enhanced and used in endgame activities, but doing so will be quite costly on your resources.
The last major change coming is in the Shipments system, which will now give players even more ways to earn cosmetics in-game. The system sees players use their hard-earned Fragments to purchase a daily-rotating Shipment to pick up a specific outfit or other cosmetic. You can see exactly what will be on offer in that Shipment before purchasing anything, and likewise, if you get a duplicate item, you will be compensated with Fragments in order to buy even more Shipments in the future. Crystal Dynamics is also rewarding players with a daily Shipment, if they participate in any form of multiplayer gameplay once the system launches.
This wraps-up everything new that is coming as part of Patch 2.2. You can start playing as Spider-Man on PS4 and PS5 starting from November 30, and can dive into Discordant Sound on all platforms on the same day.