There is a new action RPG pseudo-MMO in town by the name of Marvel Heroes Online and it aims to milk Marvel’s superheroes for all they are worth. It is a free to play game that is anything but if you want to have something close to a fun time. It gives freemium a bad name.
But first lets have a gander at the game-play. Now unlike some critics, I quite enjoyed my time with this title. It is isn’t the edgiest action RPG for sure. It is nothing like Diablo III or Path of Exile, but it does have bright colors, lots of explosions, and general chaos as you would expect from a game about superheroes. The campaign is fun and keeps you entertained as you prepare yourself to face Dr Doom in his castle.
Powers, depending on the character, range from the pathetic to the awesome. The skill tree is rather limited for this sort of game, but it makes sense in context. The enemy AI is more or less idiotic, as you would expect from comic book henchmen and the boss fights are challenging if you aren’t paying attention (or solo and too low level). Areas and instances are fairly varied or at least enough to work with the storyline. The fact that you instagroup when you go into an instance if anyone else does at the same time is quite nice.
Graphically it is nothing special, but not that bad. They have mostly gotten the lag under control at peaks times, though my only death leveling my current toon to 30 was due to a lag spike. The end-game after you defeat Dr Doom is nothing special either, though that is supposed to change. The daily challenges merely toss you into an existing area and throw more monsters at you. The solo ones are not exactly challenging either. There is PvP, but it is a sort of a MOBA where you team (one of three) battle for control of territory. To say it is uninspiring and incredibly dull is quite the understatement. The crafting feels tacked on, pointless and not exactly impressive. Oh yes and if you are really lucky sound will cut out on you every so often requiring a restart to get going again.
But the abjectly most heinous thing is the business model. You get a choice of five starter characters when you initially sign in. If none of them suit your fancy or play-style, expect to pay through the nose to get anything at all interesting. There are loot drops that give you access to new characters, but they are rare and tend to give you one of the other lame starting toons. My two favorite toons, Ironman and Deadpool, cost over $10 a piece to buy. Costumes (which granted you don’t need) can go for near $20 each. Power-ups like XP and better drops are pretty expensive considering you need five of them to get the maximum impact. If you want all the characters unlocked it costs a whopping $200 even in a starter pack. Worse yet, there is no way to try out toons to see if you like how they play.
Granted you don’t need any of this stuff to play, but the game really isn’t good enough (and neither are the starting toons) for you not to want more.
One nice thing is that once you have completed the storyline you don’t have to do it again and you can just level your new character without having to do things in the proper order.
It is a shame really. This could have been a great game instead of coming across like a cash-in that is more about milking fans of Marvel than giving them a good game experience. It is possible that in the coming months this game will come closer to warranting the ludicrous price for anything in the game. There is just not enough there now to justify the cost to get anything interesting. It is a shame you have to be Tony Stark to be able to afford this game.
Marvel Heroes Online is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.