Players first met Ava way back in mission one of the main campaign as a playable character for a very short time. As Burton continued through his missions he would experience Ava’s sobering put-downs either in person, as she sometimes accompanied him on missions, or as the voice of reason over coms. Getting hands-on with a Space Marshal who actually knows what she’s doing is a lot of fun.
While advertised as 10 new missions, the Ava Storyline DLC actually contains 11 in total. One of them is partly a repeat of one from the main campaign, which is how we get to see the two storylines interconnect. I won’t say too much about this as it’s best left to be discovered by players, but just know that it’s been handled in a clever way, and really fleshes out the sum of the two parts.
With a dramatic who-dunnit twist at the end, the add-on is a great addition to an already excellent title, and fans of the game will no doubt enjoy life in Ava’s shoes.
While the storyline itself is worth turning up for, gameplay mechanics also takes on some interesting tweaks.
Ava’s main weapon is a Riot Gun, and while ammo for it regenerates, and thus infinite, the caveat is that it’s non-lethal. Taking down enemies with the Riot Gun will floor them for a short time, allowing Ava time to move through the level, but they’ll soon get up and continue their pursuit. Some levels however, have ledges off which enemies can be blown by the gun, and it’s in these that the weapon becomes most useful. Ava also gets to collect her fair share of lethal weapons too, which I tended to rely on more than the Riot Gun, for obvious reasons.
Also in Ava’s bag of tricks is a Drone, which can be flown over obstacles blocking Ava’s progress, and used to trigger switches. Many of the DLC’s puzzle elements are played out through this mechanic, and it’s a refreshing angle that brings an interesting new element to the gameplay. Ava’s Drone can also be upgraded and weaponised through collectible parts hidden throughout levels, as can the Riot Gun with Weapon parts.
Drone and Weapon parts actually take the place of the main storyline’s collectible COR-V tokens, which are used in the original campaign for upgrades. On a quick side-note, check out this article if you need help finding one of the main campaign’s most well-hidden COR-V tokens.
Ava also gets her own line of hats to wear, also hidden throughout levels, providing those that just have to have it all yet another reason to replay missions.
As with the main campaign, players can brute force their way through missions. What I mean by this is that upon death, players will respawn at the last checkpoint, but any enemies killed or damaged prior to dying will remain dead or damaged. So while you could just throw countless lives at the game until you beat it, keep in mind that the fewer times you die during a mission means greater rewards upon that mission’s completion. Too many deaths may mean no reward at all, while no deaths may mean a choice of fancy new weapons and toys. Ultimately this mechanic gives even more reason for replay, and encouragement for honing your skills.
Space Marshals 2’s Ava Storyline does everything good DLC should do. It fleshes out the game’s characters and story, provides more of the gameplay that players enjoyed from the original, while adding new tweaks and ideas in order to build on what was already there. Hats off to developer Pixelbite.
But wait…there’s more.
There is a teaser at the end promising one more bonus mission to look forward to.
More of a good thing is a good thing.
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