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'Marvel's Avengers' Kate Bishop DLC Is Charming, Disarming, and Far Too Short | Review

Just yesterday, I was able to finally check out the first major DLC for Marvel's Avengers, which introduced Kate Bishop and her story-focused mini-campaign, "Operation: Taking AIM." What followed was a series of thrilling if familiar missions allowing me and my fellow Avengers to get acquainted with Kate as her story unfolded. I kept coming back to that story, eager to see it completed, over the course of twostreams. Roughly six hours later, the whole thing was over and done with; I was back to the grind that I had left behind not a day before, albeit with a new superhero to gear up and max out.

That's not to say the Kate Bishop DLC is bad, not by any means. It's just that there wasn't enough of it to fully satisfy fans who have been waiting for more content from the creative teams at Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix, and Marvel. I was very excited to dig into Kate's lore a little bit, moreso to see how that lore dovetailed into the Marvel's Avengers introductory "Reassemble" campaign and the "Avengers Initiative" that followed afterwards. But as much as I loved Kate herself, I can't help but feel that this first DLC is lacking.

To be clear: It's a quantity issue, not a quality one. "Taking AIM" is Part One of a two-part Hawkeye story campaign, which will be concluded early next year with the Clint Barton-focused "Operation Hawkeye - Future Imperfect." That's a good thing to keep in mind, but it doesn't take the sting away from Kate Bishop's too-short introductory outing.

Here's how the game's official page sums up said story:

We'll have more of a breakdown of the story itself, including an explanation of that epic ending with all the time-twisting plots it promises, later on today. But in the meantime, let's highlight the highs and lows of "Operation: Taking AIM."

High point? Kate Bishop herself. The creative team behind the scenes has done a fantastic job bringing the Marvel Comics archer/gymnast/superhero to life, as has the character's accomplished voice actor Ashly Burch. (Look for an interview with Burch later this week!) Bishop brings an energy on par with Kamala Khan's youthful spirit and Tony Stark's sharp wit to the team, though it's her tool kit of melee/ranged/teleporting skills that are a cut above on the battlefield (also from the Marvel's Avengers page):

These skills are a blast during combat, and they make it a rewarding experience to level Kate up and unlock new combos and specialties along the way. (And honestly, Kate's super, which lets you unload with quantum arrows/bolts, is my new favorite way to carve up pesky Adaptoids; that's worth the DLC itself!) It'll take some time to master Kate's movesets, but that's the fun of the game. However, it also feels like that's what Marvel, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix were hoping would preoccupy players' time because the story itself is just so dang short.

And that takes me to a low point. While the quality of the "Taking AIM" story was solid, it was too rushed and there was too little of it to really let me get to know Kate. Her background with the Avengers was only hinted at, same goes for her time with Clint and Nick Fury, and how she managed to steal AIM's teleporting tech. Even her reaction to the final reveals of the mission are left unspoken, perhaps until the next DLC. That's a shame, especially since Ms. Marvel's trial-by-fire in joining The Avengers was so well done and fleshed out, leading us to expect perhaps the same quality and quantity for future DLC. Instead, "Taking AIM" advises us to lower those expectations.

Overall, I enjoyed "Taking AIM" for the short time I had with it. Kate Bishop alone isn't going to move the game back to my "daily play" list, but I'm looking forward to leveling up the character if and when I have the time. It's a little odd that Kate feels like a somewhat more dynamic and variously talented version of Black Widow (especially with her hacking ability and the power that the mission's exotic item grants), which muddies the waters of giving players well-defined characters to play with. It's also a little odd that Clint Barton is expected to be the focus of the next DLC, leaving the case of who, exactly, is going to be this game's Hawkeye up for debate. Like the rest of the game, this first DLC has raised a few more questions than it's answered.

That's a problem for Marvel's Avengers overall. At the end of my stream, after an epic pair of back-to-back battles, I waxed poetic, well, philosophical at the very least about the potential of the title:

This game has the entire pantheon of Marvel Comics lore at its disposal and a creative team who are more than capable of adapting those stories to the interactive medium in exciting ways. But all the potential in the world means nothing if people aren't playing your game. The Dev teams need to go for a home run with their next DLC announcement, hopefully confirming a character that fans will really get excited about -- Spider-Man, Black Panther, Storm, Wolverine ... -- while also providing the quantity and quality of storytelling those characters deserve.

The future of Marvel's Avengers is bright, but the next few months will be a future imperfect.

Rating: C+

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