Marvel Heroes is an upcoming MMO created by Gazillion Entertainment. The only other titles they have developed was an MMO based on the Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. While being kid friendly, it is actually a pretty good MMO where you collect new heroes and upgrade their abilities in an RPG setting. To date they have 76 playable heroes with over 20 in production for future updates. That is a lot of dedication for a family friendly MMO. Hopefully this gusto is replicated in Marvel Heroes. To help them out is David Brevik, co-founder of Blizzard North and helped create Diablo. This is quite evident as this game feels like Diablo meets X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
The story isn’t entirely clear, as the closed beta uses lightly animated storyboards with production information in the corner for its cutscenes(something I hope is remedied by the time it launches), but seems to revolve around Doctor Doom having a large-scale plan, most likely to destroy Reed Richards. Hydra is involved and they release all the super villains from the Raft, a high security prison for super villains. The tutorial tasks you with infiltrating the Raft and trying to suppress any super villains you can. Along the way you find hundreds of Hydra grunts, some melee with taser batons and other shoot plasma guns. The first boss is Living Laser and he proved to be a bit more of a challenge, but still quite simple. He teleports and fires laser beams, all pretty easy to dodge. The final boss is Green Goblin and he throws goblin bombs that set huge areas of the map on fire and he flies around doing strafing runs with his explosives. The best part of the bosses was all of the moving around and dodging I did. It felt like an old school beat-em-up as I was watching the enemy for their tells. I couldn’t just stand still and attack away or I would have been killed.
The core gameplay is most definitely Diablo. You chose a hero(class) and then set out into the world completing quests and grinding for loot. While you can stay in an area and grind, the quests do tell a story and are designed to be followed in a specific order. The controls are the same as any 3rd Person Isometric Point-and-Click with movement/selection/attack on left mouse and a skill on right mouse with hotkeys for all other actions. The five starter characters in the closed Beta are Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, The Thing, Storm, and Daredevil. Being free-2-play you can only choose one and the others become permanently locked until you purchase them. Currency comes in two forms, in-game currency and cash dollars. Gazillion has stated that everything can be unlocked eventually by accruing in-game, but who knows how long that will take to grind out. An interesting gameplay feature is how enemy strength is dealt with. While an area may have a lot of heroes running around in it, the enemies are geared towards how many heroes are in a certain vicinity. While I was the only hero on the screen I would kill a thug in 3 hits. If a few other players walked into my field of vision, more thugs would appear from alleys and they would take 10+ hits to kill. As soon as the heroes left my field of view the thugs would drop back down to where I could solo them.
I recorded my experience in the first area, Hell’s Kitchen, playing as Hawkeye. His primary attack is firing an arrow and the skills I have at the beginning of the video are an Electric Arrow, that will paralyze one foe and the closest foe next to him; Kick, which deals damage and causes knockback; and Tumble, which causes Hawkeye to roll and gain a damage increase if he dodged an attack. Eventually I unlocked Frost Arrow which freezes one target in place. I also complete 2 world quests, killing arsonists in front of a burning building and killing thugs overrunning a police barricade. For some reason unknown to me Electro appears in the city and a dozen super heroes attack him. I join in the brawl and help take him down. I then proceed to the main objective of entering the sewers and defeating Shocker.
To so I enjoyed my time with the beta would be an understatement. I am very pleased with Marvel Heroes thus far and eagerly await the launch of this f2p game. This is definitely a game that I will have preloaded and ready to play the Day 1.