After watching Marvel’s Avengers’ first major expansion, War for Wakanda, for 90 minutes, I feel hopeful about Black Panther’s upcoming introduction. He does a great job, is part of an engaging story and cast, and even offers some hints about variety in the repetitive core gameplay loop. It is unclear if it will be enough for the entire game to turn around, but it does seem to provide some additional hours of fun content.
Marvel’s Avengers: War for Wakanda Hands-On Preview
Let’s begin with T’Challa’s feelings about playing the role. You’ll recognize him as Captain America and Black Widow. He combines the light-footed movement of Natasha with the heavy combo attack of Steve. The ranged option of his dagger is excellent and feels very similar to Batman’s batarangs from the Arkham series. These blades can lower the enemy’s defense and inflict damage. It’s a good idea to have a few in your hand before you move in close. This gives you a tactical advantage in combat, something that the Avengers’ button-bashing nature rarely provides with its current roster.
These daggers can be followed up with a pounce attack, which unleashes T’Challa’s claws when an enemy is restrained on the ground. This is an efficient series of blows that has repeatedly served me well during hands-on. Black Panther’s combination of agility and raw power made me want him to reach power level 150. This was before I even tried his Heroic abilities.
Kimoyo Beads, Black Panther’s signature attack, is a Wakandan technology that seeks out enemies and inflicts many stun damage. These were especially effective after I upgraded them to allow me to search the battlefield for health orbs. This helped me get out of many sticky situations. His Assault Heroic is one of my favorite attacks. It’s a vibranium-spear that can inflict heavy damage and pin-up to three enemies in its path. This gave me beautiful flashbacks as a Thor main when I pinned hundreds of AIM soldiers against lab walls with Mjolnir. His Ultimate summons the power and might of Bast, the panther goddess. Although the attack looks cool visually, a giant purple-tinted panther projected from your body. However, its buffs are one we’ve seen before. They increase damage dealt and reduce damage taken.
Black Panther is fun to play with and a great character to spend some time with
Black Panther is fun to play with and a great character to spend some time with. Christopher Judge’s performance is a significant reason for this. Although he sounds unfamiliar as T’Challa, especially when compared with his role as Kratos, he perfectly fills the shoes as this Wakandan king. This is no small feat considering that Chadwick Boseman was the last to walk in them. Judge’s interactions between Okoye (Debra Wilkinson) and Shuri, Erica Luttrell, provide a charming and sometimes funny back and forth while you jump around the jungle.
You’ll spend most of your time in the jungle, except when you visit the expansion’s new post, which is located in a lovely depiction city of Birnin Zana. It’s pretty different from the SHIELD dens we’ve seen before, with giant panther statues protecting shiny, modern skyscrapers. The jungle playspace is not limited to its borders. It offers an exciting new biome for Avengers. Everything from loot boxes to resource pods has been reskinned to enhance that “Wakandan” feel.
Crystal Dynamics is immediately at home in the jungle and has the chance to show off its Tomb Raider skills. This is especially evident in the expansion’s initial mission. It requires you to enter a cave system with a puzzle and a trial. This is not far from where Lara Croft would find it. This is a positive sign that the game developer has expanded the gameplay beyond simply throwing robots at you. This is not to suggest that there aren’t many of those activities. After all, this is Marvel’s Avengers. You will still have to complete similar objectives, such as capturing control points or defending areas through the expansion.
During my hands-on session, I went through the first two-story missions. They were each around 30 minutes long. The opening scene is a great way to grab attention. It features you being thrust into the action during an attack by Klaw on Wakanda. The opening sequence includes the puzzle sequence mentioned above and a boss battle. One of the main complaints about Avengers was that it resisted allowing members of Marvel’s rogues galleries into the action. So it was pleasant to see it throw Crossbones into it. Although his fight isn’t groundbreaking, it does allow you to split your time between him attacking and protecting a sonic gun that he’s using to break through the Wakandan perimeter barrier.
Crystal Dynamics is at home in the jungle and feels like a Tomb Raider
The story picks up nicely from this point and does a great deal to bring the rest of the Avengers into T’Challa’s world. The second mission is an excellent introduction to Klaw’s motives and the team-up. The only thing that worries me so far is how much content there is. Although the missions were long enough, I felt like I was almost through the entire mission chain after two. So I would estimate that this campaign will be pretty short. This may be a great Black Panther story, regardless of how long it ends up being – and this is as close as we are going to get to a single game anytime soon. The big question is still unanswered whether T’Challa is Marvel’s Avengers’ savior.