If there was such a thing as the 8 stages of Gamer Grief, I’ve been through just about all of them when it comes to Marvel’s Avengers. During the pre-order and open beta, I experienced the first stage of Gamer Grief – Denial. I told myself, as many who play pre-release online games do, that “this is just beta and it will get better”. With the Hawkette Kate Bishop now in the game, has Marvel’s Avengers met fans expectations with the new, long awaited, first post-launch character?
As a Marvel fan, nothing delighted me more when I finally sat down to review Marvel’s Avengers. The story was fantastic, if a little short, and the vast majority of the early character builds kept me engaged for a few weeks. After all of my characters were maxed out, and the content seemed like just another elevator ride to angry robot city, I started to experience the second stage of Gamer Grief, Anger. End game was nearly nonexistent, and dropping rehashed Hives of varying levels wasn’t keeping me, or anyone engaged.
By the time I hit the 7th stage of Gamer Grief, Acceptance, I had largely stopped playing. I could barely bring myself to log in for more than a few hours a week, and most of that was to bang my head against the mild, monotonous, mediocre Mega Hive for my guaranteed exotics. Now that Kate Bishop has arrived, and after playing her from start to finish, completing her storyline, and raising her power level to the maximum of 150, was she worth the wait? The short answer is, yes.
Kate isn’t exactly the character players wanted. She’s not a particularly popular character like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Black Panther or even Vision. In fact, as angry as people were that Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, was a more central character to the game, Kate Bishop is far less popular than Kamala. This, however, has actually worked in Crystal Dynamics favor. Without a strong expectation of who this character is and how she should play, the team was able to imagine a Kate Bishop that is wildly versatile, easy to pick up and play, but has enough hidden in her skill trees to keep us Build Junkies happy.
Kate’s story follows on the heels of the Marvel’s Avengers campaign finale. There’s quite a bit to unpack and most of it is full of spoilers, but the gist of it without giving away the farm is that the ‘new’ Scientist Supreme is breaking space-time, and The Avengers need to stop it. Kate is an integral part of stopping A.I.M. and soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a time hopping, Hawkeye-saving adventure. The downside, is that the story portion only takes about 2 hours to complete, maybe a little longer if you are new to the game and really want to battle it out with every mob you come across.
The penultimate battle of the operation is with the Super Adaptoid, an artificial being with the abilities of the Avengers. It was nice to finally see a new Villain join the game, but it’s a far cry from what players are clamoring for. The story ends with a fairly predictable outcome that was foreshadowed by the Reassemble Storyline ending. The good news? Both Hawkeyes have now joined the team, though only Kate is playable for the moment, with Clint trailing behind her by at least a month if not longer.
The best part about the new update is, obviously, playing a new character. Kate utilizes teleportation (which is not in her original comic repertoire) to traverse the world and deal damage in various ways. She can get up close and personal with a sword, or utilize three different types of arrows to deal damage from afar. As a character, she just feels fun to play in comparison to others who can sometimes have a disjointed battle flow until you’ve gotten them to end game – such as Captain America, Black Widow and Hulk. Kate is fun to play right out of the gate, and that is a tremendous win for Crystal Dynamics.
But from that point forward the honeymoon ends. The patch itself changes some loot tables, drops a host of bug fixes, and provided some mild quality of life features like being able to enable or disable certain takedowns, but once Kate hit 150, I was left in the same boat I’ve been rowing for the past three months. No, not everyone is going to drop kick content and run Kate the full gamut in 8 hours, but eventually, they’ll get her to end game, and it would benefit Crystal Dynamics exponentially if they could figure out something for players to do once they get there.
As a first step, Kate Bishop is a fantastic example of what Crystal Dynamics is capable of. Kate was certainly worth the wait, to finally get a taste of what could be, if and when the Avengers roster grows. Unfortunately, without an end game worth mentioning, this tiny step forward may only be worth the time you spend battling through the story, before you let the game hibernate until its next update.