Aspiring hero’s, Marvel lovers or spandex fanatics can now get their feel of super hero themed hack and slash adventuring with the new Marvel MMO, Marvel Hero’s. A free to play MMORPG developed by Gazillion. The Marvel MMO joins the ranks of DC Universe Online and Champions online, both super hero themed MMORPG’s, both of which free.
Marvel Hero’s will be instantly familiar to fans of action RPG’s such as Diablo, or the previous marvel ARPG games, Xmen Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. The difference with this game, in comparison to the previous Marvel isometric adventures, is that instead of controlling a team of 4 characters simultaneously, in Marvel Hero’s online, you control just one. However Gazillion has cleverly allowed players to use more than just one character by “switching out”. This takes just seconds, and allows you to sample over 20 different marvel characters.
This choice comes at a cost however. 5 characters are available for those starting the game. The Thing, Storm, Daredevil, Scarlet With and Hawkeye. Whilst players can complete the story line and have fun without having to ever spend a penny, in order to play as fan favourites such as Spiderman, Wolverine and Deadpool, it will cost. Gazillion has stated, along with the games many loading screens, that all characters can be dropped by playing the game. However in order to actually obtain one of these characters you might have to grind for hundreds of hours.
It is only right that the game charges for characters, as ultimately, Gazillion is a business and needs to make profit from the game. The choice to sell characters & costumes is a great monetization method. However the prices of characters do not come cheap. The cheapest pack available on Steam is £60.99 and contains just 4 characters. Albeit 2 of these characters are spiderman and wolverine, arguably 2 of the most popular from the Marvel Universe, but the price tag is still expensive. Steam also features 2 other character packs, both priced at £64.99 each. With many online retailers selling AAA console titles for around £30 or cheaper these days, its hard to justify spending over double that price tag on a few characters for an online game. That being said, patient players looking for a free ride can enjoy the game without having to venture into a “pay to win” business model.
Along with these characters, numerous alternate costumes can be purchased. This is a double edged sword, as whilst the chance to play your heroes in a range of different costumes is great, in game gear does not alter the look of your character. That means a level 1 Hawkeye will look no different to a level 30 Hawkeye. Gazillion certainly missed a step with this one, however its easy to see why they restrict character appearance to specific costumes. This is how they appear in the cartoons and comics, so in this sense the game stays true to the source material. Can you really imagine Deadpool wearing an “Im With Stupid T-Shirt” for example? Actually we can. We most certainly can.
Gameplay is fun, hectic if not a bit simple. Your first few levels will see you mashing the left mouse button without giving cause to concern. However as you level up and begin to unlock more skill points, differentiation can be forged through play styles. Each hero has 3 skill tree’s. that points can be invested in. With powers ranging from single attacks, AOE, buffs, passive abilities – all the usual things you’d expect, along with powers such as flight for a character like Iron Man.
Anyone who has a vested interest in Marvel, or even a passive interest in the odd character will get a kick out of the game, and may even be convinced to splash some cash on it. Likewise, fans of the action RPG genre should definitely check this out, as the only thing you have to lose if you don’t like it, is the time you invest.
Marvel Hero’s offers a solid free to play experience, with even more options for those who decide to spend some money. Do the unthinkable and wear a DC Comics t-shirt while playing Marvel Hero’s for the ultimate bad ass effect! Or be inspired by the dozens of costumes in games and get your own printed super-power inspired t-shirt. Because nothing says bad ass like a printed t-shirt.