Development by Gazillion Entertainment
Genre – MMO Action RPG
Model – Free 2 Play
Lead writer – Brian Michael Bendis (who has written a number of major Marvel comics).
Launch – June 4, 2013
Saving the world can be a lonely business so what better way to do it then along with some super-powered friends. So lets take a first look at Marvel heroes. The game is a mix between and action rpg game like Diablo (as the creates of the original diablo were involved in the production) and a MMORPG. Marvel heroes does to Action rpg’s what Defiance did to 3rd person shooters, taking it to a new social playground to play with other kids.
Now marvel has been releasing a lot of content recently included and not limited to Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Deadpool, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Not to mention the big budget movies now brings to us the Action RPG Marvel heroes. Many games choose to showcase their best window dressing to get the cash flowing. But with it’s free to play model there may be a chance to get past the initial chocolate coating to see what this case is really made of.That is unless u already brought your favorite champion in the founder pack.
Video / Audio
The game is designed with Unreal 3 engine. This allows the quality of animation and art to really capture the detail and the look of the marvel universe and adds to the charm of the game. The art of the game follows the comic book look and gives you the feeling as if you are playing in an animated comic world. The cutscenes created are also in comic strip style which acts as a nice change. This hits the bulls eye in the direction the game was going for while at the same time making it feel a bit cartoony for those of us who enjoy more maturity in our view of the world. The attention to detail is amazing in both the art and the UI. There is a good amount of interaction between the heroes and the environment. The havoc physics engine make debris fly off in all directions which is fun to watch. While the ability effects have nice effects and particles making the combat lot colorful.
The audio is great with fitting though generic soundtrack. With the cherry on top being the exceptional voicework. Its refreshing to hear Iron man’s crude remarks or how panache hawk eye is for wearing purple and Deadpool asking you how much experience you got for the kill. The enemy’s and certain NPC sound bland though but given the scale of a mmo game its functional.
The game follows a free to play model with cosmetic items up for grabs while the entire game remains free to play. With one of the better cash shops I’ve seen yet (at least in the beta). You can also find the ingredients to craft new skins for your hero. Developers promise that all of the games content will be available to free players without restrictions and you may not be able to buy power in the cash shop. We have yet to see the full scale of the cash shop yet as all the items are not fully implemented.
The combat is mixed up, atleast in the earlier levels where you are either facing mobs that you can kill with your basic attack or bosses that take more than one player auto attacking the boss. Also Most missions consists of killing x-number of enemy which you can do without any strategy or effort, so you can assign all keys to default auto attack and just faceroll on the keyboard and it will get the job done. Killing 100 gang members somehow does not make me feel mighty and strong, and considering that superheroes are the main draw of the game I think they missed on the super part and the hero part as well. The hit effects fell meaty and impactful for some heroes and floaty for others. While most arpg feel repetitive this one gets to the point were I started to feel like its a chore to play this and felt really bored.
The maps are huge and with little help except text messages like find the pub to lead you to the next objective, the quest becomes a tedious task to find the glowing door to continue and with paths stretching far too long on maps with little to collect or rewarded for exploration. The player grows tired and frustrated looking for the door. There are a very few optional mini quest in the maps but are not all that interesting. The maps are either open for all or instanced. With open maps full of quick re-spawning enemies and world bosses for people to work together to take down. Whereas instanced zones are used for some mission objectives with access to party members only. While you may be able to grind throught countless thugs the bosses are designed for multiplayer in mind and can be exceptionally challenging for solo play when all their abilities are focused on you alone. Although it is possible, but be prepared for a tough time.
One interesting aspect of the game is that gear will not change your appearance and incited you may get random costume drops(or purchase from the ingame store). You still get gear but its only statistical. After finding a costume you really like and going through levels all looking the same the sense of power and progress that a visual change bring is muted instead loot amount to stats and numbers in the background and this takes away a lot from the game and makes the loot hunt a lot less fun. Loot is randomly generated as per the zone and bosses drops medals that are special rewards to further customize your character. Overall you fell lost and this makes the entire scene of progress weak and in-turn amount to weak gameplay.
This brings us to another issue, since you cannot change your weapons and gear sometimes, like in a party with 3 more deadpool’s, you like to change to another heroes say hulk. However all characters are leveled individually like separate characters. So while I do see the benefit of leveling each hero to max and changing for endgame content as need be, but for the limited time I spent in the beta all I found doing was leveling different characters over the same zones.
Your characters gain new powers through levelling but nothing there feels exceptionally powerful. On the other hand the theme and choice of powers is Spot on and really compliment the character well. Like the difference of powers between hulk and the thing is obvious and really bring out the destructive and supportive nature for both champions emerging you into the individualism of the chosen character.
The game reminds me of diablo3. An average game with a really high level of polish. Everything works, game is smooth and fluid but the gameplay lacks a sense of purpose and reward. Marvel fans will enjoy it, Those new to Arpg will enjoy it, but those worn out by the recent Arpg fatigue and more serious gamers will tend to avoid it as we find it disappointed when the experience is watered down to make for more accessibility.
NOTE : This is a beta preview, the game can change before final release.