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Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play action MMORPG developed Gazillion and Secret Identity Studios. And as the name suggests, it is based on the Marvel universe. Unlike DC Universe Online, where you make your own superhero to fight side by side with iconic DC characters, Marvel Heroes will let you play as... well, Marvel heroes. The formula might sound familiar to you. To a lot of people, this is the spiritual successor to the wildly entertaining Marvel Ultimate Alliance games.
Marvel Heroes - medium quality settings because I'm poor and my computer is old
Due to the change in the nature of the game, gameplay compared to MUA is an entirely different animal. In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, if a character is picked, you're out of luck and would have to pick another character. Only four players can be online at one time per game. Marvel Heroes gives you a massive stage and lets you play with thousands of people. But now that I'm actually playing it, that doesn't seem to be such a good thing after all.
I was lucky enough to beta test for Marvel Heroes. I wasn't on a lot, though, and I really wasn't able to give enough feedback. We were given a couple maps to test stuff on, and I thought its repetitive nature would change when the final product gets launched. Turns out, I was wrong.
I do not like Marvel Heroes, despite trying very hard to. It's Marvel. How can I not try and love it?
It is a click-fest, and not much more. You run around beating up bad guys for the sole purpose of gaining experience points and bagging loot. Gaining more exp and loot makes you more powerful, so you can advance in the game, beating countless more henchmen for (YOU GUESSED IT!) more exp and more loot. Loot is important because you get costume items and weapons and items you can synthesize to make your character stronger. And why do you need to get stronger? To kill a couple hundred thousand more nameless bad guys so you can get more loot. Can you see a pattern here?
Come here, henchmen! Give me your delicious loot!
You'd think this would be fun, wouldn't you? It gets old real fast.
After racking up a body count in the thousands, your character becomes super strong but other than that, it is pointless. Playing Marvel Heroes feels like running on a treadmill that makes you fatter. Sure, there's a story, and following that story opens up more maps and bosses for you to fight, but ultimately, finishing the story isn't the goal of the game. In MUA, you fought bad guys because they were in your way - they were preventing you from reaching your goal, and your goal was to save the world. Leveling up and getting awesome gear was a side effect. In Marvel Heroes, everything you fight is just a chance to get more stuff.
I know it's like I'm complaining about a puzzle game because it is a puzzle game. I understand that this is the nature of most MMORPGs. It doesn't really end, you just get stronger and stronger and what supposedly makes it fun is the social aspect of the game. As a lone gamer who doesn't really have a lot of gamer friends who are into the same things I am, that part of it doesn't really appeal to me.
Oh god... so many henchmen... make it stop... please make it stop...
One big factor that I loved about Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the wealth of characters to pick from. You paid $60 for the full game, and you get all the characters. DLC characters cost a little more, but you could always skip those since you've got over a dozen characters to have fun with already anyway. Even though Marvel Heroes is free-to-play, and you can do well with two of the starting five characters (Daredevil, Hawkeye, Thing, Storm, and Scarlet Witch), you're limited to playing with only the characters you're willing to pay for. To get all of them, you'd have to shell out over $100. To get all the costumes, you'd have to pay more. In MUA, you unlocked costumes. In Marvel Heroes, you pay for them.
Gazillion does say that you can get characters and costumes through loot drops, but from what I can see in the forums, the chances of picking up heroes and costumes is slim, at best. Most people on the forums say the starting characters drop, but no one else. Because of that, you're going to have fifteen Daredevils and twenty Hawkeyes running around in one map. That just breaks it for me right there.
In picture, two starting characters, two people who paid for heroes and costumes through a pack, and two guys who paid to be the exact same character as one another.
A big thing for me is the lack of controller support. While I will sing the praises of the superiority of the keyboard and mouse when it comes to shooters, I just feel like action games need controllers. It makes the action feel more dynamic, more fluid. Controllers just feel more natural with an action game, especially a Marvel title. Diablo and countless other action RPGs play like Marvel Heroes and yet, they're awesome, right? Yeah, sure, but I still think those games would be better off with controllers.
While this type of game may appeal to hardcore MMO fans, it just isn't for me. Thank goodness I never shelled out money for those founder packs.
Marvel, please, please give us Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 instead.