Preview Marvel Heroes freetoplay MMO for PC

first_imgSuperhero video games are nothing new, but they are almost all fundamentally flawed in some way. It seems you either play a faceless hero with generic powers filtered from comic books, or you are muscling your way through a sandboxed re-creation of whichever superhero movie just came out. Marvel Heroes is an attempt to bring the comic book heavyweights into a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) environment where the player has control over the details.If there’s one thing that dictates a successful MMO above anything else, it is a wealth of content. If you send someone on the same task a dozen times, they will walk away from the game. This is far from a deciding factor, but likely the largest single one when it comes to deciding if you will continue to play an MMO.Marvel Heroes leverages decades of a comic book universe all pulled together into a single game, with the ability to mix and match as you go. As the name suggests, starting the game puts you on the road to do battle with nearly every one of the villains that have popped up in the Marvel universe over the years. Some suggest that it may be setting the stage for a Marvel Villains game if this game is a success, but for now you are either one of the good guys or one of the mostly-good-when-it-suits-them guys.Since the characters in the Marvel universe are already pretty well defined, character selection is straight forward. You start off by selecting one of a handful of classic Marvel heroes, each offering their own unique fighting ability. The five choices allow you to choose between long range combat vs. short range combat, superpowers vs. man made weapons, and male or female. The game starts with a basic combat mission to get you used to playing, complete with a low level boss fight. Once you’ve gotten a handle on the combat system and the basic layout, you are taken to one of the safe zones in the game. From here you have access to everything you would expect in an MMO. You can store items you have collected, shop for stat-enhancing accessories, or play around in the costume department.Your hero already has a pretty well defined and unique outfit, so the classic MMO dress up element takes a unique twist in Heroes. You can pick up bolt-on enhancements, but there’s also a crafting element to increase the baseline stats of your outfit. This is accomplished by picking up items and crafting them together in the costume shop. It’s a fairly basic system in that you don’t have control over what upgrade you are creating, but you are able to continue enhancing your costume until you have something that is customized to your character. You can also purchase alternate costumes to help set yourself apart from the other superheroes wandering around.The storyline pulls a little from every point in the Marvel universe. You start off in Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen and move your way through a series of plot points that lead you closer and closer to Kingpin. Along the way you face off with a lot of boss level characters that are setup as group combat scenarios that refresh every time you leave the area. Characters like Venom and Rhino are really just there so you can take them down in a group. If you are following the game and moving straight through the leveling system you will struggle with handling these points solo, but it is not impossible.The easiest way to visualize the combat system is to compare Marvel Heroes to Diablo, which is not surprising considering David Brevik — co-founder of Blizzard North — was involved in this game. In Marvel Heroes you have functionally little control over the direction your character grows. Each character has a unique skill tree that you can spend points in however you choose to continue growing your character. By the time your character reaches level 20, they have a specific line of skills to focus on to make combat the best experience possible.If you choose Iron Man, for example, you can improve the damage his repulsors do and how well you shield yourself from physical attacks. As you level up you can link his attacks together into combos, but you never deviate from the core combat style you would expect from Iron Man. You won’t be building a special variant of Iron Man that is incredibly good at dodging attacks, for example.The characters have limited control, but are still a lot of fun to play as long as you choose one that suits your combat style. You can also switch between characters in-game, which makes choosing someone early on fairly easy as long as you have the credits to pay for the heroes.I’m going to stop the review for a second and talk now about Deadpool, since I think out of all the characters they did the best job with this one. Deadpool has always existed as something unique in the Marvel universe, specifically when it came to his absolute disregard of the fourth wall. Marvel has done an absolutely fantastic job with making sure Deadpool’s one liners are just as amusing in every aspect of the game. Even when walking around in one of the safe points, his audio clips are quite entertaining. As a playable character, Deadpool also balances long range and close combat well. By the time you reach the end of his skill tree you have a character well worth playing long term. He also has an alternate costume that makes him look like a pirate, which will make any fan smile.Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play MMO out of the gate, which makes me sure that this title will not only gain an immediate following, but be enjoyable (and populated) for some time. The development team has several new chapters already prepared to roll out, and the vast Marvel universe gives them no shortage of content to pull from. The starting hero selection is diverse, and by the time you have settled on your perfect hero you find yourself truly immersed in the game.With any luck, Marvel Heroes have a serious impact on how superhero based video games are designed moving forward. This one is highly recommended to both fans of Marvel and MMOs.last_img read more