War for Wakanda is easily the most exciting thing to happen in Marvel’s Avengers since the game launched almost a year ago. In that time we’ve seen two heroes join the original launch roster along with new story missions, community events, and a current-gen upgrade on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Now, with the War for Wakanda expansion, we’ll get to see what is now one of the Marvel universe’s most iconic characters stepping into the limelight. Anyone who owns a copy of the game will get immediate access to this DLC, for free, when it drops on August 17th.
One of the best decisions made by Square Enix for this expansion is that you can boot up King T’Challa’s saga without needing to play through the main Avengers campaign or its two previous expansions. If you haven’t touched the game in months, this is an opportunity to dive back in. If you’re completely new to the game, then War for Wakanda also acts as a great entry point for new players.
If you’re wondering why Black Panther was a no-show during the events of the main Avengers campaign, it’s because Wakanda quickly closed its borders after the A-Day catastrophe. As Earth’s Mightiest Heroes reassemble, AIM has infiltrated the Black Panther’s domain, led by the maniacal Ulysses Klaue in his search for Vibranium. To make matters worse, this precious resource has become increasingly unstable, corrupted spikes of Vibranium piercing through the jungle canopies of Wakanda.
The way we’re introduced to Black Panther and his supporting cast is particularly impressive. An incredible amount of care and attention has gone into bringing this powerful Marvel icon to life, presenting players with a luscious new world steeped in lore.
Although both were fun to play as, it felt as though Kate Bishop and Hawkeye simply turned up to the party through their expansion story arcs. In contrast, the opening to War for Wakanda almost feels like a standalone Black Panther game as we learn more about the character and his legacy.
But what about gameplay? What do his abilities look like? T’Challa doesn’t flip the existing Avengers combat system on its head though his designers have crafted a moveset fit for a king. A seamless blend of technological mastery, predatory cunning, and regal flare.
Black Panther favours agility and awareness, combining rapid attack bursts with an advanced array of moves to incapacitate and weaken your opponents. Throwing daggers at your foes will reduce their defence, softening them up for your signature pounce attack. This allows Black Panther to leap at a staggered opponent, temporarily mounting them to unleash a savage flurry of blows.
His abilities include a skewering spear toss and the use of high-tech Kimoyo Beads that follow him, healing allies and targeting enemies. Meanwhile, his ultimate can either summon spectral Dora Milaje warriors or Baast while also boosting his core combat stats.
To make battles feel even more diverse, War for Wakanda introduces new enemy types to pummel, from Klaw commandos to pesky spider robots and some new boss characters.
The expansion also boasts some of the best backdrops in Marvel’s Avengers to date. Wakanda’s sprawling jungles are begging to be explored as you navigate ancient temples and waterfalls in search of secrets. Here we see developer Crystal Dynamics flexing those same creative muscles that crafted Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The capital city of Birnin Zana is just as striking and imaginative, combining cutting-edge tech with a deliberate ancient aesthetic. The Royal Palace is by far the most interesting hub area in Marvel’s Avengers, mainly thanks to roaming characters that include Okoye, Shuri, and Zawavari. You’ll want to set this as your default Outpost, that’s for sure.
It’s fair to say that Marvel’s Avengers didn’t meet the lofty expectations that many would have had of it. If you didn’t enjoy the base game then War for Wakanda probably won’t convert you – it’s a bit too late for Crystal Dynamics to hit the reset button. However, those who still have a kernel of interest for a blast of superhero action are in for a treat, and one that is hopefully indicative of future expansions to come.