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Avengers: Damage Control is a VR dream for fans of the MCU

At CES 2020, I took a break with a Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure.

You don cool Wakandan-made armor in Avengers: Damage Control.

We've all fantasized about being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, right? Well, this year at CES I got a chance to do just that with The Void -- a location-based VR experience.

There I got a chance to try the two-player Avengers: Damage Control, a game developed by Marvel Studios and ILMxLAB that launched in October. As you'd expect, I was wildly excited as we suited up in The Void's helmets and backpacks for the full, immersive MCU experience.

I'm not super experienced with this kind of VR, but I played Vader Immortal at Star Wars Celebration Chicago last April so I know how impressive the ILMxLAB's worlds are.


CNET executive editor Roger Cheng and I aren't quite so Marvel in real life, but The Void helmets and backpacks look pretty cool.

The Void

After choosing colors for our armor detailing -- I chose dark blue -- Shuri gave us a quick tutorial in using our abilities. Raising one open palm fired a basic energy blast, while using both unleashed a more powerful attack. Bringing up my forearms activated an energy shield, and absorbing enough damage charged up a super attack.

It all feels super authentic; Shuri's played by Letitia Wright, who brings all the humor and charisma she brought to Black Panther. We're also decked out in Wakandan-made suits of armor based on Iron Man -- a tribute to the late Tony Stark's designs.

Damage Control doesn't really fit into the MCU canon, but it seems like it's set in an alternative reality following Avengers: Endgame.

I started out in Wakanda, but soon used one of Doctor Strange's portals to jump to his Sanctum Sanctorum in New York to get my mission. Strange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, adding another layer of authenticity. Some of the others who show up are played by their movie actors, but most seem like soundalikes.

We walked around a tailored environment that's covered in a layer of VR, with objects mapped so we could reach out and touch pretty much everything we saw. Walls, railings, door frames, buttons, ship controls; everything felt tangible and my brain quickly accepted it was in the MCU.

There are some sweet weather effects too -- fans and heaters simulated all kinds of environments as we explored. Our vests vibrated lightly as we took damage; not an unpleasant feeling but clearly the kind of negative feedback that made me want to bring up my shield.

I could also turn and see other users in their awesome armor, and I could see my own hands when I raised them. Unfortunately, I couldn't see my feet when I looked down -- like most first-person shooters, that detail is omitted.

Battling our way through the roughly 20-minute experience -- meeting my favorite Avenger along the way was pretty epic -- and beating the boss (a cool returning villain) at the end was thoroughly satisfying. In a nice finishing touch that gives the experience some replayability, we were scored based on the number of enemies we destroyed and the amount of damage we defended with our shields.


Jumanji: Reverse the Curse offers some fun exploration.

The Void

If you're not a Marvel person or just in the mood for a jungle adventure, you could try out Jumanji: Reverse the Curse instead -- that started as the new movie came out in December and is more focused on exploration than action. It's four-player, and each character has unique abilities.

Both of these VR adventures are absolutely worth your time and they're available in locations around the US and Canada, but they're pricey -- Avengers costs $40 per person, Jumanji costs $35. But, as CNET editor Scott Stein noted after his CES 2019 Void adventure, it's a whole lot cheaper than a trip to Disneyland.