Marvel Heroes Review
With cosmic rays and toxic waste bursting from its virtual seams, Marvel Heroes has landed on to the hard drive of comic book nerds around the world. Allowing players to take command of their favorite heroes from the Marvel universe, it’s a return to the gameplay style made popular by the likes of Diablo and Torchlight. With the creative mind behind Diablo II in charge, does Marvel Heroes save the world or does it get it’s cape stuck in a jet turbine?
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Pros and Cons
I’ve been a Marvel fanboy for many years. Throughout my teenage years, I would drive 45 minutes to the closest comic book shop once a week and buy the latest and the greatest of X-Force, Spider Man and X-Men. So it’s safe to say that the launch of Marvel Heroes was something that I looked forward to with both great hope, and great trepidation.
The gameplay is most simply described as Diablo II with Marvel characters. In fact, that’s how David Brevick, President and CEO of Gazillion Studios, describes the game. The description is accurate, with players directing their hero through the world from an isometric view, clicking to move and clicking to attack. Clickety, clickety, clickety. If this method of gameplay is not something that you’re a fan of, then you might have some issues with this game.
The “Marvelization” of the gameplay is pulled off incredibly well, with hero specific powers leaping off the screen like the ink on a comic book page. The animations are smooth, the powers are visually exciting, and the battles are fierce.
As I travelled through all eight chapters of the story, I didn’t really find myself challenged though. My chosen hero, Thor, wadded through packs of enemies, swinging the mighty Mjolnir in wide arcs and sending baddies flying. I found that by the time I had reached level 15, or a maximum 60, I had gained powers that would allow me to take down incredibly large amount of enemies without dampening my tights with sweat.
The character advancement in Marvel Heroes is a variation of the talent tree system, and will be familiar to WoW and Diablo veterans alike. Each level you gain points that can be put towards powers in three different trees. Different abilities and powers unlock as you get to higher levels, and the more points you put into said powers, the more effective they are. I found this to be a simple yet workable system.
While there’s not as much specialization as other MMOs (i.e. no “Tank” Thor or “DPS” Thor), there is enough that I felt that my particular Thor was different from the multitude of others fighting back to back with me as I travelled around the Earth. I was able to focus my Thor on his ranged lightning powers. I found myself to be a great ranged AOE fighter, and really enjoyed taking on multiple enemies and bringing the thunder! Playing around with some other characters, I was able to get some Tank-ish abilities, but there weren’t many healing abilities to be found.
Speaking of multiple versions of Thor, don’t be surprised to jump into your first fight and be joined by… YOU! Gazillion stated right from the beginning that players would not be making their own heroes, and would instead be taking on the mantle of established Marvel Heroes. This does created some immersion breaking moment, which detract from the stellar story that the game presents.
The story focuses on Dr. Doom and the Cosmic Cube. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the game has you travelling throughout iconic locations from Marvel mythos, including Hell’s Kitchen, the Savage Land, and even Dr. Doom’s home country of Latveria.
I did dabble in the end-game of Marvel Heroes, which takes place once you complete the main story, and, like Diablo, much before you hit max level. This consists of PvP and Daily Missions.
The daily missions take you through locations that you’ve already travelled through in-game, and pits you against one of the villains from the game and their minions. They’re just as pleasing as the combat in the rest of the game, but after several instances they do tend to get a little repetitive.
This is a re-hash of the Diablo style of replaying content to continue gaining levels and gear. While the addition of group specific missions does add some variation and a stronger need to group with others, it still doesn’t quite add enough to keep my interested for very long. Once I had unlocked all the daily missions through a simple linear progression, I found it hard to keep coming back as the grind started to irk me.
The PvP is where I spent the least of my time, mostly because the five or ten matches that I forced myself to play, all devolved into the same zerg filled chaos that I experience in my very first match. I had hoped, after jumping into PvP the first time, and being killed repeatedly by enemy zergs before I found my own team’s zerg that this was just a one time oddity that happened in this particular match. Nope. Each time I jumped into a three team match, not so creatively split into Red, White and Blue teams, I ended having the same experience. Players of a much higher level were camping our spawn point, repeatedly killing respawning players, and zergs were the only way to survive. So much for tactical PvP play. Others might enjoy it, but I sure don’t.
It’s the little things
The heroes are done right! This feels like the Marvel universe.
Stupid f-ing inventory. What do you mean I can’t buy more bag space?
The motion comics are freakin’ amazing!
3 – A Hit.
There are lots of great things in Marvel Heroes, from the story to the combat. The lack of variety in the end game limits this to a very specific sub-group of players, and the current PvP experience is just awful.
1 out of 4 – Miss: Disappointing, just like rolling a 1 to hit
2 out of 4 – Glancing Blow: A good attempt that doesn’t quite connect
3 out of 4 – Hit: Solid, but falls short of greatness
4 out of 4 – Critical Hit: So awesome it makes us want to /dance