Marvel Heroes Review
The idea of a Marvel MMO has long been bandied around. It’s been something that’s been in development before, that has been pitched and re-pitched. While DC Universe Online ticked along rather successfully, Marvel seemed to offer up little more than web games and the underwhelming Avengers tie-in. After years of waiting, that has all changed. Marvel Heroes not only gives you the chance to play as some of the most famous heroes ever created, but also offers a decent action adventure that won’t fail to please fans of previous X-Men and Avengers Action-RPGs. The only real question we need to ask is: is it really an MMO?
Marvel Heroes gameplay video
Hulk SMASH – Marvel Heroes could have so easily been a straight MMORPG – much like DC Universe. It would have been passable if a little cliché and everybody would have been happy. The developers didn’t do that, and it’s a good job as well. The action RPG feel to this game is what makes it so special, as if it fits perfectly alongside things like the Ultimate Alliance games or X-Men Legends. The emphasis on exploration and combat is something more pronounced than elsewhere, although traditional MMO features suffer as a result.
You ARE the Hero – DC Universe allowed you to create a hero in the vein of some of their flagship characters and for the most part that worked. You fought alongside The Joker or Batman, rather than actively playing as them. Marvel Heroes allows you to actually play as your favourite characters, and it really does make the difference. Having a set-in-stone (more or less…) backstory and recognisable items really does open up the experience a little more that it would of done if you were starting from scratch.
Keep Playing – My biggest worry for Marvel Heroes was that it might end up being repetitive or that the gameplay would be a little on the short side. It isn’t the issue I thought it was going to be. While it’s not the perfect solution, the fact that you can replay areas with different characters, all of whom have different play styles and skills, is much more fun than perhaps you’d think.
Daredevil… Smash? – My first character was The Thing. He’s a tank character whose high health allows him to smash and bash multiple enemies without having to worry too much about health. My second character was Daredevil, whose lack of early skills makes him exactly the same as The Thing, without the health. The variety in characters, at least in the early part of playing as them, isn’t enough that you feel their skills really set them apart. IT was suggested that you begin the story again when you pick a new character, and if that’s something you want to do I’d go for it. The other option is sticking with the same character more or less throughout the whole game.
Cable Connection – MMOs can largely be played by anybody, regardless of their internet connection. So long as you’re not offering to lead armies of real players in PvP, there’s little than a large ping is going to do. No so with Marvel Heroes. Even with a fairly decent internet connection, I found things could be a little jumpy at times, and that hits would connect from miles away. Most will find a little annoyance at this, if that, but for the small few who want to play and are on satellite internet or have similar connection issues will be completely unable to play.
Avengers, assemble your credit cards – Want to hear something funny? The current cost of all the DLC available for this game on Steam comes in at £190. That’s for 11 characters, a collection of alternate costumes and 30 fortune cards (which give you a random consumable). This is actually a pretty big reduction over individual prices, where you can unlock costumes and characters for anything from $6 to $20. It should be stressed that many characters can be unlocked in game, with players only needing to spend their time in unlocking them, and that the costumes are pretty fantastic for fans of the comics and Marvel lore, but those of you willing to pay will do so through the nose.
You’ll come across other players, and if you’re willing to make friends (or are one of the lucky few who already have some) will be able to play with them. Marvel Heroes still feels like something of a single player game, with friends, than a true MMO, but that’s not a bad thing. What’s here is excellent, far beyond what I was expecting, and anyone with an interest in Marvel or in action RPGs will absolutely need to download and try. Just try and resist the urge to lay out £70 on the DLC packs – they may be a mite overpriced.
Neverwinter, DC Universe Online, Champions Online