Marel Heroes Game Review

MH1Earlier this month Marvel Heroes, a new massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, launched with much fanfare in the PC gaming world. Players can log in and become one of their favorite Marvel heroes, or heroines, as they battle to stop Doctor Doom as well as villains such as Magneto, Doctor Octopus, Kingpin and organizations like HYDRA and the Hand.

But how does it rate? And how does it compare to other comic book MMO games already on the market?

Click below for a detailed look and comparison!

Marvel Heroes plays a lot like the Diablo franchise from Blizzard or, if you’re a fan of Marvel and games based on their characters, it’s a lot like playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance. It’s ‘top down’ and not ‘first person,’ which can take some getting used to if it’s unfamiliar turf. The game was created using Unreal Engine 3 and it works quite well for superheroic action. The game is very visually appealing and it looks very slick. There’s also a lot of extensive and character-specific voice work that is also highly enjoyable. The only voice that really fails is Spider-Man; the character sounds like a 12-year old with crippling ADD.

In the past, most MMO games required a monthly subscription to play. But as the MMO market began to shrink the game houses moved towards a different model: free to play. In essence there is no monthly charge and the client is often free to download (as is the case with Marvel Heroes). However, players playing for free may not be able to enjoy all the features of the game. Some content may be restricted, or other utility functions may be disabled, such as access to social features. Many of these games off a ‘cash shop,’ where you can pay for upgrades to the content to make it more enjoyable. Marvel Heroes falls into the ‘cash shop’ variety. To start, every player only has character that they must select from five available: The Thing, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Daredevil or Storm. If a player wants to play another hero the player must either find one in game (which drops as ‘loot’ very, very, very rarely) or they can purchase one from the cash shop.

MH2Before you pull your daggers out, remember: the developers of the game (Gazillion) produce games to make money, not for the altruistic purpose of helping all of humanity. Since you’re not even paying to purchase the game itself that’s not a bad way to go. To reward them for making a fun game I did buy several other heroes and additional costumes. I started off playing the Thing but then moved on to Hulk, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Captain America, Iron Man, Punisher, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther (the first one I paid for, actually!) and Spider-Man.

The storyline was apparently written by Brian Bendis. It takes the characters to a myriad of locations and puts them against a nice array of villains. It’s also told through motion comic cut-scenes between many of the missions.

So how does the game hold up against its competitors? The first super hero MMO was City of Heroes, which closed its doors last December. It was a very popular game but its owner, NCSoft, decided to end it. Not long after Champions Online and DC Universe Online both hit the market. Champions Online was actually developed as a Marvel MMO but the project fell through halfway through development. When this happened, Cryptic (which is the same company that produced City of Heroes for NCSoft) bought the game rights to the successful Champions superhero tabletop role playing game. DC Universe, run by Sony Online Entertainment, lets you create a character in the DC Universe (as a hero or a villain!) and lets you either worth with/for or battle against some of its most iconic characters. There’s nothing quite like rolling up a villain in Gotham and have the Mark Hamill Joker start giving you missions!  Both are free to play and both are far larger when it comes to the actual game world. Marvel Heroes is far more structured and linear. The biggest difference in these games is that Champions Online will let you create your own hero, DC Universe will let you create your own hero or villain, and Marvel Heroes only lets you play with its own stable of heroes. It’s a little immersion breaking when you’re playing as the Thing and then you see another Thing run right by you. Followed by another… and another.

Some quick Pros & Cons to finish out this quick review:

– The visual design and voicework is extremely pleasing.
– The mechanics are simple enough to learn.
– The game can automatically group you for some of the tougher boss fights.
– You get to play as iconic Marvel Heroes.
– Rocket Raccoon rocks your lame ass.

– The main story only takes you about halfway through the level system. The rest is repeating a lot of the same fights on harder levels with more people.
– You cannot create your own hero. You are locked in to Marvel’s heroes.
– There is no real tutorial; you’re kind of on your own.
– Hero drops that let you play as other heroes are very, very rare and the cash shop can get pricey.
– Spidey is basically an annoying kid that won’t shut up.

REVIEW: 3.75 out of 5 Webheads. It’s fun but it could have been better. They continue to update and change the game so I am hoping it will get even better. I have had many fun nights playing the game with fellow Crawl Spacers AmFan15 and FSUSpiderFan!

–‘Gorgeous George’ Berryman!

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(9) Comments

  1. Battlecannon

    Er, this is just to say that this far on, this game is DEFINITELY worth revisiting now. As it's free-to-play, there's not much to lose - it also helps to explain how it wasn't as complete at launch as the developers would've liked - the good thing now though is that the game is pretty much under constant development (and is consistently being improved). The developers have been amazingly responsive since launch - if you're a fan of ARPGs, you're definitely missing out if you don't try this game sometime in the next year or so! If the last time you tried it was last year, try it again and there's a really good chance you'll find it's like night and day. They're always developing new content, aspects of gameplay, and tuning parts of the game - Spidey has had several tuning passes, Venom will become playable later this year, soon they'll be releasing a Bronx Zoo zone that's likely to have appearances from Doc Connors and Kraven the Hunter... As I said, definitely worth having another look! Just looking at the cons, several of them have already been addressed: - The main story only takes you about halfway through the level system. The rest is repeating a lot of the same fights on harder levels with more people. There are now 3 difficulties for the main story, and several arcade-style (like a wave survival modes, or a Midtown Manhattan patrol) and PvP style game modes already there, or upcoming on an increasingly longer list of additional content. Getting through the level progression is a lot more fun now, and is setting up to get even more-so in coming months! - You cannot create your own hero. You are locked in to Marvel’s heroes. This won't change so much - although, now there's now not really anywhere near as much of an immersion break as before, where often you'll find only different characters (with a new lineup) or costumes other than the defaults (where they drop, and where some do stuff like turn your Black Panther character into his sister, Shuri). This is accounted for in the story (but not explicitly as of yet), where the Cosmic Cube has essentially warped the barriers between all the alternate universes meaning that all the different heroes have been drawn to the same place. - There is no real tutorial; you’re kind of on your own. The forum community is very helpful and/or friendly (although, as part of it, I will admit I'm biased) - there are lots of guides there now available for your perusal; aside from that, the basic gameplay is very easy to pick up, and addictive too! - Hero drops that let you play as other heroes are very, very rare and the cash shop can get pricey. You can now earn a currency that allows you to get all the heroes in game for free, given time. Soon, you'll be able to ally up with a separate roster of "Team-ups"; where Spidey has been the most prevalent character for team-ups, he'll be one of the first introduced next month! - Spidey is basically an annoying kid that won’t shut up A good number of the Marvel Heroes game community agrees with you here, too - Unfortunately, that's more to do with how Disney want to market Spider-man these days than what we'd rather prefer... but aside from that, there's every reason to want to try to look at this game again! :) Hope you guys want to give it another go, and if so, I'll see you in-game!

  2. steven powell

    I know this storyline is almost the exact ripoff of marvel ultimate alliance, i wish they would had used something that was different, they should had just made a secret wars game. Atleast they acknowledge dr. doom is the major villian of the marvel universe, seems he makes the games best villan.

  3. Steven powell

    Well I just found out from wiki that my favorite spider-man voice actor Christopher Daniel Barnes voices the black enhanced costume which was only available by buying the ultimate pack I hope they make his costume available so people can buy it. Drake bell is just not as awesome.

  4. fantasyfreak

    @FSU: Oh, far from it! XD I haven´t had nearly enough time to play that much. I was hoping to get some more playing done though this upcoming weekend... Maybe we´ll bump into each other ;)

  5. AmFan15

    Great review, George. It's been a lot of fun playing with you (though I STILL haven't been on at the same time as FSU). I first started out with Storm, then got Thing after completing a mission...after playing with them for a while, I decided I liked the game, but wanted to play as some of the other heroes. I now have Hulk (who BREAKS the game), and Spider-Man (who I've just leveled up to 21). I'm still loving the game...I've just gotten to Xavier's School. Come join us for a game sometime!

  6. FSUSpiderfan

    It is a lot of fun. Did you beat all the levels already? I can only play an hour or two at a time so I have only unlocked the Thing and had Daredevil at the beginning.

  7. fantasyfreak

    I´ve so far only played beta, and I´m not sure if it was because of my laptops insufficient specs, or just because it was beta, but it ran a little choppy. I found the gameplay easy to learn and quite fun. Kinda off-topic but have you seen the trailer for the Marvel Lego game? The voicework there sounded a little off to me, but there were some occasional funny jokes.

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