The Marvel brand has grown into a household name over the past few years. It’s only natural to make a game based on the property. Sure, we have all seen our fair share of Marvel-branded actions games, but never in MMO form. Along comes Marvel Heroes and changes that. It may not be in the traditional sense of the genre, but it has enough elements of RPG and multiplayer to wear the MMO badge.
Distracting the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. with a prison break, Doctor Doom gets his hands on the Cosmic Cube, and with the help from Hydra begins a massive plan to take over the world. Now, heroes from all over the universe must come together to capture all the escaped villains and stop Doom for good.
Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play action RPG with some very simplistic mechanics. Like Torchlight and Diablo, players use the mouse to attack and move. Other attacks are mapped to the keyboard. Where the MMO part comes into play is the dynamic hub world and main areas that lead into dungeons. Players will encounter other people while moving around these hubs. They can interact with them as well as party up. Solo players will be partied up in certain dungeons that may require multiple combatants to conquer.
Characters utilize their powers through what is essentially magic points (MP). The more players use a power, the more it will cost. Some powers have a cool down effect, that way they can’t spam the same attacks over and over. Anyone who has played a Diablo-style game in the past ten years will know exactly how it plays out.
The game allows the player to choose from a group of heroes. These heroes are, of course, not the most popular Marvel characters. Daredevil, Thing, Hawkeye, Storm and Scarlet Witch are free, while others are locked behind pay walls. One thing I did learn while playing is that if I wanted to us the character I really wanted to, I would have to pay for that character. In fact, that’s how most of Marvel Heroes works. Items, boosters, characters, costumes and other things, both cosmetic and game play enhancements, are behind a pay wall, and some of them can be pricey. That’s not to say players that don’t want to pay will not have a good time;in fact, this is a fully functional game with tons of content that can be accessed without paying a dime.
Like other isometric action RPG’s, finding better weapons and armor is the name of the game. Each character has specific equipment they can wear. Even if I was playing with Storm, I would still find loot drops specifically for another character. Luckily, there is a stash to store items for later use. Characters level up after completing quests and defeating enemies. After leveling up, players are granted two skill points they can apply to three skill trees to unlock new attacks and abilities, or increase the effectiveness of already unlocked powers. Equipment not only increases the defense and attack power stats, but some rare, uncommon, and unique equipment can increase skills as well. So, let’s say Deadpool has an attack called Bang Bang. This skill has Deadpool pulling out his duel pistols and firing off shots at enemies. Players can put skill points into the ability to increase its power, but new pistols may also increase the Bang Bang ability as well, almost like I had put another skill point in it. Almost every piece of equipment can have an attribute like this.
It is a simplistic game in nature of game play and upgrade mechanics, but also in difficulty. When playing alone, I found the game was not very challenging,but when I was grouped with other players around the same level, it was ridiculously easy. Even with waves upon waves of enemies attacking us, they were no match for even three heroes fighting co-op. There really was no challenge.
As the worlds are rather dynamic, much like other MMOs, Marvel Heroes has events that take place where anyone around can help out. These events may be to stop multiple waves of enemies or to defeat a large raid boss. These are, of course, completely optional, but offer up some very good loot and experience points.
If players wish to use a different character, they will more than likely have to start the story over. I understand why this is in place, but after I had spent hours with one character, it was a hard transition to go back to the beginning of the story and run through all the same areas again.
Fans of the Marvel universe will get their fan service here. There are tons of characters, both playable and non-playable, and a good amount of story told through some interesting still frame comic style cut scenes. The visuals are decent for what the game is offering. The animations may look stiff at times but everything is serviceable.
For a free to play game, it’s really not a bad package. Sure, the popular heroes are going to require you to fork out some cash, but even the starting characters have some good abilities, and players can unlock more to use through progression of the story. The only big problem I have with the game is the fact that I can take on numerous enemies by myself without even breaking a sweat, and when paired up with other heroes, it was far too easy. Still, it’s a free to play game. You really have nothing to lose by trying it out, and the cut scenes and overall Marvel lore are in full effect here. If you find yourself liking the game and want to try out Spider-Man or Captain America, you can always pay a little cash to increase your enjoyment. It’s free to try; I say try it. Fans of action RPGs and Marvel comics will have a decent time with Marvel Heroes. Just don’t get too excited to play your favorite characters without handing over some cash.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.