Marvel Heroes 2016 is an action role-playing massively multiplayer online game, developed by Gazillion Entertainment, Cryptic Studios and Secret Identity Studios.
The game was originally known as just Marvel Heroes, but since its original launch in 2013, it has been rebranded twice, first to ’Marvel Heroes 2015’ and then again to ‘Marvel Heroes 2016’ in January of last year. One more rebrand is around the corner for console players; the game will be renamed ‘Marvel Heroes Omega’ when it releases on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.
Whilst the game is actually free, it’s only a trial version of the game as such. You can play as many characters as you like up until level 10; after that, you need to drop some money to be able to level the character further.
If you are a fan of the Marvel universe, then Marvel Heroes is going to be a wet-dream. You get to see a whole assortment of heroes and villains throughout the story.
Marvel Heroes is a typical RPG, though, with plenty of text to read when picking up missions. This did feel a little overwhelming at times - I often wanted to just skip over most of it to get into the gameplay quicker. I’m not saying the story isn’t enjoyable, but this sort of game really doesn’t need a story to be appreciated fully
You can tell this game uses an engine built in 2013; Marvel Heroes shows its age.
The game draws a lot of its style from the comic books, and this really makes up for the lack of realistic graphics. Heroes also has unique animations for all of the characters attacks and abilities. Even though the game is dated, graphics-wise, I still experienced some chugging and hitching. This happened regardless of resolution or graphical setting. There weren’t any specific triggers either; the glitches were just random, and very annoying to say the least.
The UI does require some work. There are tons of menus that you can open but no explanation as to what they are or how they work. Half the menus and option screens I didn’t even open during my time with the game. An in-depth tutorial would have really helped maximize the usefulness of these menus.
Marvel Heroes does feature some voice acting, but only the main characters’ first line of dialog; it’s almost like the devs lifted the dialog out the films and plonked it in the game where they could, but resorted to text for anything not actually in the films.
Cutscenes throughout the game are voiced though, and seem to use the original actors, too. These cutscenes were a welcome respite from the walls of text used throughout the game. Not only do they break up the monotony of slow-paced reading, but they also add a little extra of that Marvel comic-book feel to the whole experience.
The actual gameplay sounds are on par too.Using the same attacks over and over again can get repetitive, as to be expected, but the variety of different enemies again helps these sound effects feel a little different every time.
Marvel Heroes is your typical action-RPG game. Much like a game I played only days ago, Adventures of Van Helsing, you play from a top-down view and maneuver via mouse. Most of the game’s missions require you to either find other NPCs, interact with object x, or the standard kill y amount of enemies.
You might think that these get old very quickly, and that if the story doesn’t take your fancy then there’s little point to giving this game a try. Wait right there, though, because I was in exactly the same situation.
After completing only the prologue chapter, I contemplated quitting and not chucking in any money to level up my character, but I soldiered on another half an hour to find myself being completely and utterly drawn into the game by one mechanic and one mechanic only: loot and gear.
I’ve often said in the past that an easy way for developers to make any game ten times better and more addictive is to let the player gear up their character in the vein of Diablo or WoW. Marvel Heroes harkens to the days of vanilla WoW in terms of gear and slots available. Completing quests and killing bosses mean you get to put your greedy mitts on some form of loot.
I’ve barely even scratched the surface in terms of the longevity of the game, too. As of March 2017, there are 61 playable heroes to unlock (read: pay for). I can see why and how people would want to unlock more characters; the addictive gameplay will draw people into wanting second, third and fourth character. After hitting max level with only one hero, and level 10 on a handful of others there is still the potential for many more hours of gameplay The amount of time you can spend in this single game is on the same level as Skyrim or Witcher. That’s not to say you should spend all that time here though, as there is that pesky paywall to contend with. It took me just over nine hours to hit the max level of 60 with one hero.
Playing through multiple times also gives the player other advantages. Selecting specific heroes that have some form of relationship or interact with each other in a lore sense. allows the player to choose from various Hero Synergies. These synergies increase stats for the player’s character. It’s nice to see this feature included as it does reward loyal and dedicated players.
The actual bones of the gameplay requires you, in classic ARPG style, to spam-click enemies to attack and use special abilities on your action bar. If you are the sort of player that finds repetitive actions tiresome, then this is definitely not going to be your cup of tea. Until you learn new abilities by about level 20, you’ll more or less just be clicking frantically to work your way through missions.
The base game for Marvel Heroes 2016 is free. All of the characters up to level 10 are free. You aren’t going to lose anything just for trying the game out; once you hit the level cap you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to drop a few dollars for a full character - or several. I personally found myself feeling satisfied with my dose of Marvel Heroes after just a single playthrough.
Do I see myself purchasing another hero in the future? Probably not. I’m not the biggest fan of the Marvel universe and there are other ARPGs out there that do come with an initial purchase cost, but offer a lot more content for your money.
That being said, the positives for Marvel Heroes are clear for all to see. It’s got hugely addictive gameplay mechanics, a huge universe to draw inspiration from, and a fairly large player base. If they offered a Game of The Year pack (or equivalent) that unlocked all of the heroes for a set fee, I would be all over it. I could easily see myself completing multiple playthroughs. As things stand, however, I already have plenty of other ARPGs to go through without having to fork out more money for any additional playthroughs