Marvel’s Avengers: War For Wakanda DLC Review: Wakanda Forever! Return of Avengers’ Popularity? Probably Never!
Let’s just rip this band-aid off right now: there’s a good chance that Marvel’s Avengers War For Wakanda is likely the game’s last. At least, for DLC of this scope and size. Because despite the three respective updates with the Kate Bishop, Hawkeye, and Black Panther DLC’s, Marvel’s Avengers’ player base still just isn’t there, and the further they invest into this project, the more Square Enix puts itself into a financial hole. Especially by doubling down on not just one but two multiplayer loot grinders simultaneously, with Marvel’s Avengers and Outriders.
Developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos-Montreal and published by Square Enix, Marvel’s Avengers War For Wakanda was released on August 17th as the third DLC of the original game. We’ve covered Marvel’s Avengers rather extensively, along with the Kate Bishop and Clint Barton DLCs. The sentiment remains mostly the same: a fantastic story campaign and fun beat-em-up with the same essential flaws. Surprisingly, there are still glitches to be found in both gameplay and environment this late into development. And at this point, the overall repetitiveness in questing and loot grinding in hives and zones hasn’t changed and is likely going to go away as it seems this is the framework of the multiplayer. Though there are some major strides of improvements made in this one, specifically with the UI.
Welcome To The World Of Wakanda
Let’s begin by also giving credit where it’s due: Marvel’s Avengers War For Wakanda DLC is honestly the best thing the game’s put out since release. What makes this campaign better is that it’s actually connected to the level and world designs, as trekking the lush yet technologically advanced jungle stages of Wakanda feels more connected. With a lot more attention to detail to the lore of its people, in many ways, Wakanda feels like an actual location compared to the desolate outlands of the post-apocalypse in the previous DLC.
There’s a history taken into the building of Wakanda. The map is a vast jungle of tiny discoveries. From its turrets to its puzzles, murals, and Panther Trials, so much of the design in these DLC levels is about attention to detail, telling a story about the Black Panther and his people. Birnin Zana, the new outpost base of operations, serves as the capital of Wakanda and serves as the staging grounds and palace for king T’Challa. We also meet Okoye, the leading general of the Dora Milaje, Zawvari, the Wakandan mystic, and Shuri, who is serving as a co-leader and head of technological development for Wakanda. I can’t stress enough: much emphasis was placed on focusing on the Wakandan people being in front of this game. This is their story. The Avengers is just the supporting cast.
The biggest improvement is its UI, as the new character page menu allows for much easier menu navigation, equipment management, and skill allocation between levels. And just like the other DLC’s, it’s also very accessible as you start at level 1, meaning it’s not necessary to have played the other games as enemies scale. Likewise, almost all of the levels are fully multiplayer capable except for the first mission, and most importantly: the boss fights in this chapter are actual unique boss fights! Not just rehashes of the same mechanics and skins fans have panned so much about in terms of the gameplay.
The large all-star voice cast returns for some more unique dialogue in this one (which is amazing given the amount of A-Plus talent in this series), with one new addition in Christopher Judge. The Stargate alumni, who played Kratos in the new God of War, voices Black Panther himself in this series. Not only does Christopher do the character justice in both tones but also in dialect, as the team behind Avengers had also hired Beth McGuire, the vocal coach of the original Black Panther MCU movie.
A Still Buggy Yet Final Promotion To Chadwick Boseman
Despite the improvements, I won’t deny that I was rather disheartened to experience this many bugs this late in development. First and foremost: I really dislike the PS5 haptic controller with this game. A feature I most definitely love about the PS5, the haptic controller, doesn’t seem suited for this, as its bulky design mixed with localized vibrations and resistance triggers make the grindy nature of Avengers actually very exhausting in terms of hand comfort. As a result, this is one of the few games I highly recommend turning vibration off, as it definitely causes cramping.
But there is a myriad of other issues as well. For example, black holes span out of nowhere, or the inability to select Thor as an AI companion. Oftentimes, for this two-week Black Panther event, quests don’t seem to track properly. I can’t describe how many times I had to do a power or heavy attack quest that was never fulfilled, and had to reset my game just for it to register. Likewise, scaling armor quests are bugged, such as iron man’s laser combo enders which seem to be a dead unfulfillable quest. This is infuriating because the double experience event that ends in September makes it so that now is probably the best time to farm and play the game.
Much like how the Kate Bishop DLC coincided with the hype building around Hailee Steinfeld and the Hawkeye Disney+ series, this debut of ‘War for Wakanda’ came with Black Panther’s featured episode on Disney+ “What If” (which is fantastic and may be the best Marvel show thus far). This episode was also Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa. In what was hyped to be his final bow and farewell. Which is why just like before: Marvel’s Avengers was used yet again to promote bigger Disney content.
War For Wakanda? More Like Defense Of The Vibranium
Uniquely crafted, the storyline in this DLC was inspired by the Marvel comics Who Is The Black Panther and A Nation Under Our Feet. The game took a specific emphasis on crafting a genuine Wakandan story, not one where Avengers save them, but one where they save themselves.
In this chapter, Ulysses Klaw, along with the newly crafted sidekick: Crossbones, are attempting to steal Wakanda’s vibranium as his own. Funded by A.I.M., Klaw uses all sonic weapons to find ways to harvest the coveted metal, though in process, partially destroys the Earth itself. This causes shards of tainted Vibranium to show up everywhere, which is why The Avengers get involved, as it’s a global catastrophic event.
At the heart of this conflict is King T’challa. King, superhero, and older brother. The story is really about his balance of all three roles, as the stoic yet wise ruler dishes punishment against the enemies of Wakanda. All while trying to decide where both he and his people stand in the war against A.I.M.
The Black Panther
Black Panther has the biggest aerial flip in the game. He can hang on walls like Hulk or run across them like Captain America. And even though it will take some time and skill leveling to get used to his combat, Black Panther is a serious brawler who fights much like Captain America, albeit with his own unique flair. Like most heroes, players can only see big changes in his gameplay once Black Panther is fully leveled with his full range of skills unlocked.
But where Captain is more combo intensive meant for flashy forward charges and bouncing his shield off several enemies, Black Panther is more isolative in combat. With combo chains that isolate individual enemies and utilization of the best aerial combinations in the game. What’s unique about Panther is that he works perimeters of battle well, somewhat like Black Widow. Serving well as the game’s best aerial brawler. Out of My Sight is an aerial spinning combo that pushes enemies into the air, which allows for epic combinations and pounces, all for epicly long strung combination juggling hapless defenseless enemies. From here, Panther can actually transfer his combo and pounce into another attack or power push his way into a powerful area of effect smash, all for fun combos that easily chain enemy-to-enemy.
But when not isolating enemies along perimeters like Black Widow, Panther works best just like Captain America by countering and parrying, which builds his intrinsic energy. A full intrinsic bar of stored energy allows for a percussive blast, which works just like movies: a large wave of kinetic energy which knocks everyone back.
Surprisingly, Panther also serves some very good immediate range punishment with devastating daggers that combo and make enemies vulnerable to attacks, along with Kimoyo beads that work as homing projectiles that can serve multiple functions: stuns, heal, and damage. Though Panther’s best moves are his King’s Mercy, a spear which he can customize for some epic piercing damage, or his ultimate: Bast’s Chosen, which brings the future of all Wakanda by summoning the legendary beasts, some warriors, and boosts just about everything great about Black Panther.
Wakanda Serves As The Wake Of A Most Likely Dead Game
The best DLC for Marvel’s Avengers, War For Wakanda does everything right for once with epic storytelling and added complexity to its design and boss battles. It’s nice that the developers are listening to fans, but the fear is that it’s too little too late. Only time and player base will tell, but I do think it’s absolutely worth a shot to play as a free DLC and most definitely worth the cost of the base game for any new players interested in trying out Marvel’s Avengers.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS5 (Reviewed); Xbox Series X/S; PC; Stadia; Developer: Crystal Dynamics; Publisher: Square Enix; Players: 1-4; Released: August 17th, 2021; ESRB: T for Language, Mild Blood and Violence; MSRP: $59.99