War for Wakanda is the biggest expansion to drop since Marvel’s Avengers launched. While many will say this loot-scooping superhero sim still has a long way to go though, one year on from its original release we’re seeing the game at its strongest.
Of course, what got fans the most excited was the arrival of Black Panther as a playable character, but War for Wakanda comes packed with loads of great content in general. Aside from new story missions that form their own story arc, we get to explore a cluster of Wakandan maps as well as a new Outpost – the Royal Palace in Birnin Zana.
The Black Panther himself is a joy to play, though isn’t dramatically different from the heroes previously available in the game. Despite being one of Marvel’s biggest modern icons, he’s yet another well grounded member of the Avengers cast, at least when compared to the supernatural and high-tech abilities of Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Doctor Strange. However, there’s enough nuance to his moveset and powers to keep combat feeling fresh and varied, as long as you switch between heroes on a semi-regular basis.
Wakanda’s borderlands boast dense jungle canopies, waterfalls, and temples, the new maps being designed in a way that invites exploration without feeling vast and empty. That was one of our biggest complaints with Hawkeye’s debut in Future Imperfect with its barren desert battlefields.
Meanwhile, Birnin Zana presents a wondrous tug of war between Wakana’s vibranium infused technology and ancient architecture. For team at Eidos Montreal this almost seems like it was an open goal for them. It’s clear a lot of care and attention has gone into making the expansion look incredible though their previous work on Shadow of the Tomb Raider definitely helped here.
If there’s one thing Marvel’s Avengers has been in dire need of, it’s memorable villains to pummel. Modok was an interesting choice for the main campaign, though his cronies were sparse, resulting in the same boss fights against Taskmaster and Abomination.
War for Wakanda has an interesting twist within its final act, though the maniacal duo of Klaue and Crossbones are again rather disappointing choices when lined up against Marvel’s bountiful smorgasbord of supervillains. Thankfully, the horde of fodder enemies accompanying them help to sprinkle more spice into the game’s combat, layering on some advanced battle mechanics instead of having you wreck another legion of AIMbots.
Where the expansion flexes its Marvel muscles most is the cast of secondary characters, assembled from Black Panther’s comic book legacy. Shuri, Okyoye, and the mystic Zawavari could all have been idle cameos yet stand out as superb additions to the Avengers cast.
If you were expecting War for Wakanda to match the length of the Assemble campaign, then you’re out of luck. The new story missions clock in at a few hours in total, which feels like just the right amount. After all, Marvel’s Avengers is designed to be replayed. Long after you send Klaue packing, you’ll be returning to the jungle, mopping up his mercenaries and subduing corrupted vibranium spikes.