Marvel Heroes Preview

Logo for Marvel Heroes by Gazillion Entertainment

Marvel Heroes, the free to play Marvel MMO by Gazillion Entertainment, Directed by Diablo creator David Brevik, has finally gone live. I was entered in the beta fairly early on, and have seen this game evolve from it’s early stages to it’s current awesome state. Marvel Heroes is not perfect – borrowing from old, archaic feeling game mechanics, and brandishing absurd prices for simple things. However, in my experience, Marvel Heroes is a load of fun.

I’ve just finished Chapter 3, in which the heroes were chasing after Madame Hydra, Gorgon, and Elektra in Madripoor to secure the Tablet of Life. I won’t get into much of the story, because for the most part it’s just a backdrop. I’ve seen Gazillion boast that the story is “Written by Brian Michael Bendis” a million times, but this so far doesn’t really show. Well, not when playing the game anyway. During the motion comic cinematics you can see that the team and BMB were trying to craft a one of a kind story, but the tone of the gameplay just doesn’t really follow through.

Screen cap from Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes plays like your average Isometric Action RPG, or Diablo. Apparently David Brevik doesn’t know how to make anything other than Diablo-esque games. It’s not a bad thing, I love Diablo, but it would be nice to see him take his talents somewhere else. Anyway, you roam the world of the Marvel Universe fighting bad guys in the Raft, Hells Kitchen, the Jersey Docks, Madripoor, and more. The mouse is used to move, and perform at least 1 basic attack. As Deadpool my left click is a sword melee combo. Much like Diablo 3, the left click can be any “basic” skill, essentially meaning any skill that needs to target an enemy to use. Deadpool’s default right click is a ranged pistol attack. It’s fast, strong, and my preferred method of combat.

Much like any other MMO there exists a hot bar. The hotbar is used to quickly activate items and skills. Skills are learned as the heroes level up. Every hero has their own set of skills, focusing on 3 separate combat styles. Deadpool has Ranged, Melee, and Tricks. Ranged and Melee are fairly straightforward. Tricks focuses on healing, grenades, and other useful abilities. Every time you level up you gain 2 skill points. At this point you need to guess about which skills will be best for you and your style of play because placement is, for all intents and purposes, permanent. You can reset your selections, but that’ll cost you real money. Just like extra stash space, more heroes, costumes, and exp/drop boosters.

Marvel Heroes Screen Cap 2

This was to be expected. This is a Free to Play MMO, so there needs to be some give that will allow the company to make money. You can play the entirety of the game without spending a dime. You can even acquire new heroes and costumes, at incredibly low drop rates, without spending any money. However, if you log on expecting to play as Spider-Man for free, you will be disappointed. In game items cost anywhere from 100GP to 2000GP. GP is the ingame currency purchased with real money. I assume they went with a currency method to sort of hide the absurd cost of virtual items. The general ratio of GP to USD is 100GP to $1. So Spider-Man, who runs at 2000GP, is actually $20. Want to play as Spectacular Spider-Man? Well that costume, which is purely cosmetic by the way, will run you about $13. There are cheaper heroes, cheaper costumes, and a random $1 option. But it just seems odd that a costume for a hero, which does nothing more than look pretty, would cost almost as much as the heroes themselves.

I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with the skill tree and currency if I could respec my skill selection for free. I’m sure the Retcon Devices, used to reset skill trees, will drop at some point, but like everything else, it’ll be incredibly rare.

Marvel Heroes Screen Cap 3

Problems with the methods aside, I do have a load of fun with Marvel Heroes. It feels just like a classic Diablo game, which is great. At the same time it all feels incredibly outdated, since games like Diablo III and Torchlight let you try out new build without making you feel like you’re trapped into the selections. The graphics are smooth, albeit simple. The music is BAD. So far there isn’t a single memorable tone within the game. Sounds for skills are also hit and miss. They somehow managed to make Cyclops lamer than he already is, and it’s mostly because his optic blast sound sooooooo lame. It’s not cool like the 90’s X-Men animated series sound.

For now, I like the game. I’m about halfway through the main story and from there I’ll work on trying some of the End Game content, which to my knowledge actually exists unlike some other popular Action RPGs. Diablo III, I’m looking in your direction here. I’ll have a full review up as soon as I feel that i’ve experienced enough of the content to come to a full conclusion. Stay tuned!

is not a boss.

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