Marvel Heroes 2016 Introduction
Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play game which was officially released on PC in 2013. I remember playing it or trying to play it. At launch Marvel Heroes was buggy, repetitive and just really cut down in terms of features. It didn’t feel like a complete game at all. Of course I can’t blame Gazillion and Marvel for wanting to capitalize on the Avengers franchise and the overall popularity of the superhero theme in the recent years. So here we are, three years later and I can finally say that this game is in a pretty good state.
About the game
Marvel Heroes is an isometric RPG with MMO elements. It’s essentially a Diablo-style MMO set in the Marvel Universe. The game lends itself to the classic Marvel comics and even dabbles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos and shoutouts to attract a very diverse group of players. Marvel Heroes’ goal since the beginning was to make the player feel like a superhero and team up with others to save the world. With a lot of love from the developers and great feedback from the community it seems that this goal has been finally reached.
So let’s get started and cleanse the Hell’s Kitchen in order for this city to breathe free, free of corruption, free of crime.
The streets of this city crawling with low lives utilizing the Unreal Engine 3. Marvel Heroes runs smoothly and looks excellent. With over 50 heroes to choose from there’s a considerable amount of diversity in both superpowered abilities and designs. Each hero also has costumes to choose from, so you can rock the classic looks from the comic books or take on the appearances designed in line with the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each hero also has its own personality which makes them feel very unique. They all have different voice lines for different situations and will speak to one another based on their history with each other.
It was really fun to sit in Avengers Tower, which is one of the main hubs in the game, watching heroes come and go, and listening to all of them. It’s this MMO part of the game that makes that feeling so unique compared to other games but can only be done in the Marvel Universe. I was amazing to see the huge roster list and then to see how each character was truly different. It makes for a massive replayability. You’ll want to experience all the different playstyles of the heroes. If you’re a comic book geek you’re going to love the presentation of Marvel Heroes and if you enjoy the Marvel cinematic universe this game should really impress you.
The gameplay is very much like other Diablo style aRPGs where you have abilities to choose from and you can pick your own ability loadout to fit your play style. There is a more or less open world, except for a few instances. During story missions so you see all the other players in an area and you can team up with them to beat supervillains. There is a story mode which takes you to some of the classic locales of Marvel like Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, the island of Madripoor, parts the Savage Lands, and even eventually Asgard itself. This story is longer than I had imagined but it’s really fun. It’s a great throwback to classic comic books with its cutscenes, however if you’re not big into the story you can just go on patrol on one of the many maps and fight bad guys and super villains.
The patrol was one of my favorite parts of this game. There is really something to be said about running around as Iron Man and helping Captain America, Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange. Marvel Heroes is best in those scenarios when it makes you feel like you’re taking part in an epic comic book-style fight. However the MMO aspect can hinder the gameplay at times by having to wait for objectives to spawn and miss out on defeating a boss. You need to wait for a respawn because other people took him out too quickly and you had to run across the whole map to get there. There were several times during the story where I had to complete objectives that other people were also trying to complete and after reaching the area I just had to wait around for it to spawn, which really killed my immersion in flow of the game. It made things a little bit frustrating.
But there’s not just story and patrols to do. Being three years old this game has had a lot of time to improve itself. In add-on features to keep its players busy there’s an almost overwhelming amount of stuff to do at the end game. You can replay any of the boss fights with the terminals on several different difficulties, or you can take part in the X-Men Danger Room to earn rewards and test your skills against increasingly harder enemies. You can also take part in a 10-man raid or a 4-man fight against Ultron. There are 1 shots, X-Mansion defense mission, survival missions and even PvP.
The game is loaded with features including a robust progression system with an Omega Points mechanic, and even superhero synergy bonuses based on all the heroes you’ve leveled up. It would be hard to go into detail about what each of these are without this review running for over an hour, but you should never be bored in Marvel Heroes, which is a lot to say for a free-to-play game.
Is it really free-to-play?
Speaking of free-to-play I will mention that I feel like the model is pretty generous. You can buy any hero if you want, or you can collect Eternity Splinters, an in-game currency that drops at a pretty consistent rate. There’s a premium currency as well called G’s. Costumes heroes and team ups can cost anywhere from 500 to 1500 Gs. Many of these though can just be unlocked with in-game currency or with some luck from the player.
The one thing that I found I needed to purchase was more Bank space to store all the items I was receiving, and that’s also where this game falters a bit. There are way too many currencies and far too many items to track in the game,. It would take a long time to talk about each one but the game does not feel very intuitive, and I found myself having to do a Google search every time a new item dropped. Furthermore the number of items that dropped was overwhelming and after every mission I found myself having to look at each one, comparing stats to see how they stack up against my equipped ones.
Some people may like the depth that the item system adds and others may find it annoying, having to read walls of texts and numbers and percentages to figure out what they should be wearing. It can be frustrating I hope that gazillion takes a look at the inventory system in itemization and simplifies it to help newer players be less overwhelmed in the future.
Marvel Heroes conclusion
This really just scratches the surface of what’s included in Marvel Heroes, but I suppose I should not be surprised for a three-year-old game. There has been a lot of work put into this title and I think that it will only get better. The community is very helpful both in-game and on Reddit, where you will end up when you need to understand one of the many systems in the game.
The real question is why would you play this game over something like Diablo? I can say that if you enjoy Diablo and the Marvel Universe then you will have a blast playing this game. I also think that this game offers more replayability than something like Diablo. Because of all the heroes and different classes you can be drawn by its diversity of cast, the ability to have a sidekick, or just the overall feeling of saving the world in a comicbook style.
I highly recommend this gameto anyone looking for a nice free-to-play game. I will probably be putting in many more hours myself.