Yesterday, developer Gazillion Entertainment lifted its non-disclosure clause on its upcoming superhero MMO Marvel Heroes. Everything I’ve seen during my time with the game, from plot to fighting mechanics, I can now talk about on the internet without needing to call a lawyer. And boy, do I have a lot to tell you about.
The top-down Diablo-esque dungeon crawler lets players take control of a group of already established Marvel superheroes. With the beta only five heroes were playable (Daredevil, Storm, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and the Thing), but the full release will feature dozens more.
Marvel Heroes follows the events of the Shield agency after a major prison break takes place on The Raft, an island prison which holds all the incarcerated super villains. Your mission is to try to track down the escaped bad guys, all the while some greater overarching plot is being hatched by the Hrydra, Doctor Doom and some other key Marvel super villains.
Game play starts off simple enough, with two attack spells bound to the left and right key buttons on the mouse. During the course of play, six more key binding slots for the A-H keyboard buttons unlock for spells and healing options.
Story is dished out through in an episodic fashion with different zones for each chapter. The first zone was naturally the starting prison. Once you reach the end of the prison you are confronted by the Green Goblin. The fight consisted of explosions and goblin pumpkin carpet bombings. After the Goblin is defeated you head to the Stark Tower, which serves as the HQ of the Avengers in the comics and the main quest hub for you in the game.
In Stark Tower is where I got my first interaction with other players. I was able to see and interact with different players in the Tower’s lounge. The lounge had everything one needed for a quest hub, including weapon vendors, crafting stations and a storage bank to hold the extra treasures you picked up on your adventures.
Following my exploration of the Stark Tower, the bad part of the game’s city, called Hell’s Kitchen, was where the game opened up. I got a quick taste of what players are really in for through gigantic maps and a large amount of exploration.
Hell’s Kitchen is littered with heroes and thugs, and as with any other dungeon crawler, I was able to find some uncommon and rare mobs which took a bit for effort to take down but offered higher quality rewards. The zone was completely open for all players and it encouraged exploration of every nook and cranny with instanced mini-dungeons, time-related events and boss encounters. Words can not describe how awesome it is to be in the midst of a difficult fight when Thor joins the fray. I had so much fun in Hell’s Kitchen with many different players that I was able to gain three levels mucking about the map before I advanced the plot.
The massive maps did cause the first real problem I had with the beta and the game itself. With such a huge map one would expect quest markers to light your way, but Marvel Heroes features no such quest markers. Often I did not know where I was supposed to go, and during those times I did get the impression that I was not making any progress in the game and that can soon gave me the feeling of being in an endless grind. When I got two or three hours into the game I just wanted to find the next bad guy’s base, but couldn’t due to not knowing where I was supposed to go.
Marvel Heroes will be free-to-play at launch, and all said and done I quite enjoyed my time with it. The game follows the League of Legends model of payment by giving everyone the entire game for free but offering micro-transactions for extra other Marvel heroes and skins. Marvel Heroes is due out on June 4 of this year exclusively on the PC.