Marvel's Avengers, Kate Bishop arrives

Marvel's Avengers, Kate Bishop arrives
Everything can be said about Marvel's Avengers, but certainly not that it was a lucky game. Already the title Square Enix came out in a not completely positive light - in short, we enjoyed the single player campaign very much, much less the multiplayer structure - but in addition there were a series of bad luck, for lack of a word more. appropriate, which contributed to complicating a launch that was anything but smooth, especially after the postponements and the careless communication that only recovered in the last months of development with the War Table format. Marvel's Avengers came out in an unhappy period, marred not only by the COVID that slowed down and hindered the developer Crystal Dynamics, but also by the absence of cinecomics to support the Avengers franchise for over a year.

In addition, the project should have continued in the months following the release with a series of free DLCs that should have added new heroes to the cast ... and the first of them, the one clearly focused on the character of Black Panther , was postponed at the last minute due to a question of sensitivity towards the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played him in Disney movies. An incident that upset the plans of the Californian developer, forcing him to come out with another DLC that reconfirms, at the same time, both the strengths and the defects of this controversial production. We played AIM in the open, the first part of the campaign that unlocks not one, but two Hawkeyes, and these are our impressions of Kate Bishop's introduction and the future of Marvel's Avengers.

Who is Kate Bishop?

Kate is probably not the most famous heroine in the world right now, but we're sure she will soon be: the Hawkeye miniseries, in the works for Disney + , will introduce her to the Marvel Cinematic Universe starting from 2022 in the guise of Hailee Steinfeld, finally presenting her to the general public. Kate, meanwhile, has carved out a growing circle of admirers ever since she made her debut in 2005's Young Avengers # 1. In the comics, Kate was a normal teenager who, after being attacked, faces off against a real training: athlete, archer and martial arts expert, crosses the path of the Young Avengers and joins them, practically becoming their leader and beating heart. Her determination attracts the attention of Captain America who, after various adventures, decides to confer on her the weapons and the title of Hawkeye.

At the time, in fact, Clint Barton was dead, and Kate Bishop has ended up replacing it for some time. When Clint came back to life, and regained his place in the Avengers after spending some time under the pseudonym Ronin, Kate didn't give up on the costume and instead continued to serve in the ranks of Marvel heroes as the second Hawkeye. Created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, this young heroine stood out especially as Clint's sidekick in Matt Fraction and David Aja's cycle of stories around 2012, and was so popular that she inherited the starring role in the series for a few year. In a certain sense, therefore, it is understandable that Crystal Dynamics chose this enterprising and determined heroine as the first DLC: a decision perhaps dictated by the desire to distance herself from the most obvious solution, of course, but perhaps not the wisest if you think that this DLC should have marked the beginning of a new course, and focusing on a little-known character didn't seem like the height of commercial cunning.

AIM in the open

What then, as we said, the new course should have started with Black Panther, and Kate probably should have represented the second character in the ideal roadmap of Marvel's Avengers, but equally, considering the disappointing sales, it would have been better to focus on a more iconic heroine : Captain Marvel, perhaps, or even Wanda Maximoff, star of the upcoming WandaVision on Disney +. For this reason we approached a little skeptical the DLC titled AIM in the open (Taking AIM, in English, with a funny pun) and we found that the writing of Marvel's Avengers remained as brilliant as in the original single player campaign, justifying in a sensible way, the completely random or improvised introduction of Kate in the renewed Avengers team.

Kate, in fact, jumps out and becomes playable at the very beginning of the new Operation, a cycle of missions that introduces the character and the campaign that ended with the defeat of MODOK continues. Detected a quantum disturbance that causes the Avengers to investigate, it is discovered that Kate has seen A-Day from afar and that, after going into hiding with the other heroes, has continued to investigate the disappearance of Nick Fury and his mentor , Clint Barton. Initially resentful of the Avengers, guilty of distancing themselves from their battle mates for years, Kate officially joins them in an attempt to find out what Monica Rappaccini, who has taken over from AIM, is up to it.

The storyline introduces not only Kate Bishop, in fact, but also Clint, the real Hawkeye, who has a very important role and a desperate message to convey to our heroes. Between time travel and alternative futures, Operation AIM in the open ends with a cliffhanger that refers us to the next update, scheduled for the beginning of the year: titled Imperfect Future, it will unlock Hawkeye as a playable character and completely new missions.

As Kate

Kate is an incredibly fun character to play, and once again we can only praise the creativity with which Crystal Dynamics has adapted our Marvel Comics favorites. The new heroine poses as a kind of Black Widow, in the sense that she makes agility and the combination of close and remote attacks her strength, but the variety of skills and combat techniques is certainly more interesting. Kate can attack in melee with her sword, but of course she is much more effective at a distance with her bow which allows her to shoot normal arrows, triple arrows and explosive arrows repeatedly and after performing spectacular stunts. Each attack converges in the use of her inherent ability, called Quantum Reactor, which basically allows her to teleport not only to move faster in any direction, but also to attack from near or far, confusing enemies and catching them off guard.

His Heroic Moves use the same game of quantum leap, albeit in different ways depending on the upgrades unlocked by spending skill points. The Heroic Support Move, Esca, has a strategic value above all: Kate throws a small projector that generates a holographic image capable of attracting the attention of enemies, distracting it from our Avenger. By enhancing this move, you can swap places with the projector, or detonate it remotely amid unsuspecting enemies. The Heroic Assault Move, Curved Arrows, is both a ranged attack and a defensive maneuver: Kate fires an arrow, disappears and reappears at the point of impact, generating an explosion. The various upgrades drastically change this strange attack: the most interesting allow you to create a wormhole that allows the entire team to move from one point to another, or generate a force field that protects Kate and her companions for a few seconds. The Supreme Heroic Move, Quantum Overdrive, transforms Kate into a real death machine: depending on the upgrades unlocked, the heroine becomes very dangerous at a distance or in close combat.

Future imperfect?

Operation AIM in the open is complete in a couple of hours and although we liked the way Crystal Dynamics introduced and featured Kate, we have to admit that we expected something more from such an important DLC, which it should have re-launched Marvel's Avengers and projected it towards a better future, certainly not an imperfect one. In fact, the problems that we had already encountered during the review persist, and on which the Californian developer has not yet put a patch: in particular, the ability to maintain the interest of the player with a variety of contents and activities that justify the redundant growth of the various heroes. Once Kate has been unlocked, therefore, we return to the usual spiel that made us leave the game a few hours after finishing the campaign: to increase the level of the new heroine and find her best equipment you will have to start repeating the same missions, in the same maps, achieving the same goals. Defeat the enemies, destroy the reactors, protect the terminals ...

It is clear, at this point, that Crystal Dynamics is much more comfortable with single player content than with multiplayer: it is in fact this component that , in our opinion, spoils the overall quality of the Square Enix title. The introduction of Kate Bishop - who however also opens a small cycle of side missions to unlock one of her many alternate costumes - was supposed to be a great excuse to add missions, maps and bosses; instead we will have to continue to beat the same syntoids, androids and henchmen of the AIM at least until the next Operation. Of course, rebuilding Marvel's Avengers starting from the multiplayer mode is not easy and we struggle to imagine a major renovation work: for this reason, we are convinced that Crystal Dynamics should simply focus on single player content, and on the campaign, to keep the players who have trusted his Avengers, perhaps rethinking the leveling system that so affects the endgame experience. In this sense, the imperfect future will be the most important test for understanding in which direction development will move in the coming months.

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