Action RPGs seem to have it out for me recently. It’s like they want me to hate them while at the same time expecting all of my money? Similar my little brother around Christmas time, punching me in the balls then demanding I buy him a Kindle. After the debacle of Diablo 3 and then the following debacle of my realization that Diablo 2 wasn’t actually as good as I remember, I was raring to get my teeth stuck into a meaty ARPG! What better than a franchise with so much back story it rivals the Bible. The Marvel Universe is home to my childhood’s, and adulthood’s favorite characters. I live and breathe Spider-Man. I have ropes in my- Jesus Christ I can’t believe I’m telling people this- I have ropes in my garden where I frequently (think hourly) swing between them in the legs-up Spidey swing. I tell people it’s a good core work-out but I’m pretty sure everyone knows I’m imagining myself swinging through New-York skyline.
Still enough about me being a virgin. Let’s look at the game.
“What’s going on? Why are there so many Hawkeyes?” I asked myself as I entered one of the incredibly densely populated zones.
“Because.” Replied Marvel Heroes.
I was confused when I heard Marvel Heroes was an MMO. I assumed you would be able to pick the powers of the hero you wanted to play as but then attach them to a character you created, giving you the sense of individuality that is oh-so important in a Massively Multiplayer game. It appears I was incorrect and stupid to expect a system that allows me to tell my character from other players and I would actually be playing as one of 100s of other Purple gimp-suited Hawkeyes.
So here I am bashing down some Hydra Mechs and one of the hundreds of Thors in the 25 metre radius around my character decides he will help. “Thanks a bunch Thor!” I say enthusiastically, pumped up on that ‘new game’ optimism.
So here I am beating on some Hydra goons when a different Thor strolls up and decimates them. “Cheers Thor… kinda had that though mate!” I say, slightly irritated.
So here I am kicking some robo- “PISS OFF THOR!” I say… pissed off.
I’d say, without a doubt that the MMO elements are the worst part of the game. I have no idea why they added it in, it just doesn’t work within the setting or as a game mechanic which irritated me because I actually like the game when everyone leaves me alone.
The combat is seriously some of the best looking I’ve seen in an ARPG, the animations are fluid and some of the spell effects left me with my mouth agape like a child at Disney land. Each hero has 25 abilities which synergise fantastically within their skill trees which fall into the classic categories of DPS, Defence and Utility, as seen in almost every ARPG ever. The feeling of the combat as a general doesn’t really do much for me however, don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible by any stretch, it just doesn’t leave the same impression on me that the visuals do.
I spent a lot of time rocking around as Iron Man because I just fell in love with his abilities. Homing micro rockets, chest beam cannons, jumping ground smashes into crowds of enemies, it really pressed a lot of my buttons. At this end of the character spectrum combat is great, down the lower end; with characters like Hawkeye and Daredevil (as impressive as her spell effects are)the combat isn’t so great, feeling like they were scraping abilities off the bottom of the MMO barrel.
Being a member of the press I was gifted a press account with a lovely amount of in-game wonga, 10,000G of in-game wonga to be precise, enough to buy Uncle Ben back from the dead. I set about perusing the store for things to make myself stand out from the rest of the cretinous plebs who take ‘Free-to-play’ seriously. Spending the pretty penny of 2000G (around $20) to unlock my Spidey-Bro seems incredibly steep considering he’s just a DLC character. I can’t imagine many people forking over that much cash for so little on a regular basis but the only way you can get characters without buying them with real-world dosh is to kill bosses and hope they drop the hero token you want, if you want a specific character the odds are stacked heavily against you.
Penned by the gloriously talented Brian Michael Bendis, author of Ultimate Spider-Man, I expected great things and unto me great things were delivered. Your goal in the game is to stop the evil genius Dr.Doom who has control over the COSMIC CUBE, an artefact with the power to bring about great destruction or change at the users will. It’s up to you (and 1000s of other identical players) to fight off the recognizable villains and stop him before the very reality we know is brought to an end.
Some seriously solid comic book shit right there.
The game actually makes attempts to tie in with the current Avengers film franchise although for some reason the COSMIC CUBE is called the Tesseract, a far superior name in my mind. Also instead of having to read like some kinda NERD there is a pretty sweet motion comic four-parter which serves as a prequel to the game’s story. It’s cheesy as hell with phrases like ‘Boo-ya’ but reasonably enjoyable.
For me, loot is more of an appearance thing. I want people to gaze upon my character in awe, being able to instantly size up the hours I have spent at the ‘grind’stone. Numbers mean very little to me, meaning every bit of loot in Marvel Heroes means little to me. To be honest I’m thankful that I didn’t have any desire to work for grind for loot because the Instanced dungeons are as repetitive as they are dull.
If I wasn’t reviewing this I would have never driven myself to end-game but I really wanted to find something to change my opinion but alas it was not here. There is talk of patching it to add some more features but it will be difficult to tempt me back without making it so my character is customisable beyond forking over some dolla’ for a new costume.
Marvel Heroes has made a huge mistake taking multiplayer mechanics from MMOs and shoehorning them into a strong ARPG. If it allowed me to turn off the multiplayer features entirely this would be an extremely different review but because it has some MMO features I expected the others like Goodies v Baddies RvR and some god damn customization options to my character.
As a single player game I would give this a 4.
As the game stands, I want to give it a 2 but I just can’t help but feel the potential behind it to be a really great game. I’m going to settle on a 3 but only because I know there is great promise when either they add a non-forced online feature or the population drops.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.