Marvel Heroes – PC
Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment
Developer: Gazillion Entertainment
Release Date: Jun 4, 2013
Genre: MMORPG, Action
Reviewed by Jason Flick

Review Score: 4 of 5

When I first heard about the Action RPG/MMO hybrid, Marvel Heroes, my thoughts went back to the days of playing X-Men Legends with my brother and our friends. Just four friends beating everything in our paths to a pulp as one of our favorite X-Men was a blast. No go back to your corner Cyclops. Anyways back to the much anticipated free-to-play Maris Heroes, which is exclusively on PC.

Marvel Heroes, not to be confused with the upcoming LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, is a hybrid of both the Action RPG and MMO genres that I love so much. What’s better is that it is spearheaded by developer David Brevik (of Diablo fame) and lead writer Brian Michael Bendis who has written several major comics for Marvel. Now I know that sounds like an amazing combination and for the most part it was as I spent the past several weeks leaving ever increasing piles of bad guys in my wake right up until the endgame.

This adventure starts you by picking one of five supers, each covering the games attack types, before setting off to stop Victor Von Doom from recreating the world in his image all thanks to a Cosmic Cube. The downside of the starting choices: Scarlett Witch, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Thing and Storm is that they aren’t really most people’s ideal choices for wreaking havoc on the likes of Hydra. If you want to play as say Wolverine, Iron Man or my personal favorite Deadpool, then you’re going to have to pony up some real-world cash to buy them or get crazy lucky to earn them amongst the ludicrous amount of loot drops.

If you played Diablo, or one it’s many clones, then the ground rules of Marvel Heroes are pretty much the same. It’s worthy to mention that unlike X-Men Legends and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance this title is keyboard and mouse only so it’s all click…click and hotkeys for us Marvel fans which I’m perfectly content with. I started with Hawkeye since I love ranged combat and apparently a lot of others did too as I saw a lot of purple clad characters in the game’s opening days.

No matter which character you pick you can point and click your way through each of the nicely detailed locations or hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse around in the direction you want to go. The same button also doubles as one of your attacks. For example, by default Deadpool’s basic sword attack is tied to the same button while his pistols are used via right click. You can however reassign most of the powers to the offered slots to the players benefit. There is also the ability to root your character in a spot to dish out pain via 360 degrees with the Shift key.

I was curious going into this review on how they would approach several of the heroes’ ability to fly like Ms. Marvel and Iron Man. The developers actually handled this rather well as a hold to initiate power gained at different levels depending on the hero. The flight power however runs on spirit (stamina) so you can only do them for shorts periods of time. It’s just enough to fly over obstacles or enemy groups though sadly you can’t attack while airborne.

Marvel Heroes does offer a rather cool story and several key villains other than Doom make appearances as level or area event bosses. Players can expect to see Electro, Venom and Green Goblin to name a few. There are also plenty of enemy factions from the known Marvel to release so hurt on including A.I.M., Hydra, Maggia and the Purifiers. The largest downside to Marvel Heroes however is that you’ll be seeing a LOT of these guys especially if you plan on checking the full roster of characters.

You see each character independently starts at Level 1 and every time you choose a new character the game recommends that you start the game over from the beginning. This overwrites your progress on your other heroes though you could always try and use them where you left off but I wouldn’t recommend that course. It’s not that the game difficulty actually rises as you play through the story but rather they just throw a lot more enemies at you some of which have a lot more health than others. So the name of the game boils down to repetition but it’s one that I can dig.

Half the fun of Marvel Heroes is the characters themselves as each one acts just like you expect them to right down to their iconic phrases or animations. I love the little interactive details that you might shrug off as mindless banter amongst bouts of kicking ass but they’re not. On more the one occasion I’d hear Deadpool kick off a rather naughty about Scarlett Witch right about the time a player controlled Scarlett walks by. What’s even cooler is when two characters from the same series cross paths, say Storm and Jean Grey, your player will say something as if to strike up a conversation. I spent most of my time playing as Deadpool however as Nolan North is just priceless as the regenerative and psychotic Merc with a Mouth. Psst! Deadpool says check out his other game too.

I have to say that Marvel Heroes from a vocal standpoint is amazing. Several big names in the VO biz lend their voices to portray roles they’re known for again or do new ones. You’ll hear Steve Blum, Keith David, Tara Strong, Nolan North, Fred Tatasciore and Kari Wahlgren to name a few. For a game like this these actor/actresses really brought their craft to the table and did it well. The sound effects and music are also well done right down to the signature sounds of each hero’s powers.

But games don’t survive on their audio merit alone so let’s talk graphics. The worlds in which you venture through are all nicely created especially places like Genosha and even the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen. What I really liked the most is the development team’s attention to the characters themselves and their costumes. Throughout the game you pick up lots of stat altering gear but none of that actually affect their outward appearance. Each hero has a default look chosen from all the possible variants that the comics have to offer by the dev team. That doesn’t mean you have to stick with that choice though. There are several variants available (at a cost) for each character some with a lot more choices than others like Iron Man. Sure I know this has no real effect on the gameplay but come on who doesn’t love seeing the X-Men in their 90’s attire or the modern attire for the Avengers.

Once getting though the story you have a couple options left to you. You can either play through again as other characters or take part in the several color-coded challenge rooms that gives a chance to really test your skills. As this is a hybrid MMO there are events and areas throughout the game that multiple characters can group together to combat tougher foes. Many of these are areas on the maps once triggered via missions but others spawn at random over time like boss fights against the likes of Rhino and Venom. Part of the fun of this is loot drops and the large XP boosts for beating them.

Marvel Heroes for the most part was definitely worth the wait for any comic book fan and videogame enthusiast. Sure there is the undeniable amount of repetition especially when playing as the other characters but that goes with the territory of MMOs. The real only difference between Marvel Heroes and say X-Men Legends is that it online and it’s free-to-play out of the box. Though there is more fun to be had quicker if you want to partake in the in-game store. As for me I’ll be getting a chuckle as enemy troops fall at Deadpool’s feet from bullet hole and pointed object related injuries for the foreseeable future. Hope to see you there.