Marvel Heroes Review
Recently I’ve reviewed a couple of big-name free-to-play games for http://www.novastreamgames.net/
The Marvel universe is one that is conductive to quality games. From the revered Marvel vs. Capcom fighting series to co-op action RPG X-Men Legends and the brutal X-Men Origins: Wolverine (a game with the rare distinction of being better than the film it’s based on), gamers have a wide range of ways to enjoy Stan Lee and co.’s caped crusaders. The latest game to pull on the spandex is Gazillion Entertainment’s Marvel Heroes, a free-to-play ARPG with MMO elements.
Marvel Heroes is a game that tries to do too much and winds up not doing anything particularly well. It follows a similar formula to the aforementioned X-Men Legends (and the more recent Marvel Ultimate Alliance series) by creating a combat-heavy RPG that crams in as much superhero goodness as possible. But instead of taking the more streamlined approach its predecessors did, Marvel Heroes opts for a more traditional (read: Diablo-like) loot-heavy approach and adds in the persistent online features of an MMO, all in a free-to-play package.
The game begins in a very familiar way – you select from a range of standard character classes and are told via cutscene that you must find a magic macguffin before the bad guy (Doctor Doom this time around) can use it. To start with, you can choose from five characters – Daredevil (melee attacker), Hawkeye (ranged attacker), Scarlet Witch (magic user), Storm (crowd controller) and Thing (tank). These five are fine and all to start with, but problems arise if you want to play as one the remaining 16 characters available. Keys to characters can be dropped, but during my playthrough I only found one – that of Scarlet Witch after my first mission. The other option is to pay for them using real-world money, which would be okay if it wasn’t so terribly over-priced.
In-game currency costs (‘G’) roughly $1 per 100G, and characters cost from 600 to 2000G for fan favourites such as Spiderman, Iron Man and Deadpool. That’s $20 for a single character. Alternate costumes aren’t much cheaper, ranging from 450 to 2000G. It’s not what one would call great value.
For comparison, Torchlight 2 and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, two recent ARPGs, cost $20 and $15 respectively on Steam, and a copy of Marvel Ultimate alliance can easily be found for under $30.
The core gameplay of Marvel Heroes, i.e. the combat and the looting, is uninspiring. Despite nicely varied environments and enemies that cover a wide range of Marvel lore in colourful detail (highlight: rocket-propelled dinosaurs), what goes on in these worlds are underwhelming. Combat falls quickly becomes dull as an increasing number of enemies fill the screen. The end of level bosses provide room for some strategy, but otherwise you’ll find yourself mindlessly clicking away at hordes of enemies. Looting is just as unfulfilling, as each character only has a small, specific range of gear they can equip.
Lastly, there is the MMO part of the game. In short, it is unnecessary. PvE areas could easily have been taken on via online co-op or solo, but instead there are groups of similar-looking players sharing the same battleground. Story missions can be soloed, but only if you don’t enter a level at the same time as someone else.
It can be hard to criticise a free game too much, but in the case of Marvel Heroes, you are far better off spending some money and getting a more satisfying experience instead.