Friday, March 4, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep56: Marvel Heroes 2016

Superhero MMORPG Diablo-styled action!

Marvel Heroes 2016 is a free-to-play top down Diablo-style action MMORPG set in the Marvel superhero universe. You can play as a number of iconic characters - there are dozens (perhaps over a hundred) to choose from.

I've been purposely avoiding free-to-play MMOs for this series for several reasons. Due to the nature of the genre, it's difficult to gauge the quality of a title based on an hour of gameplay. What might seem amazing at first can easily turn into a depressingly long grindfest or have content/options hidden behind a paywall later on. Even if a game doesn't have any of these pitfalls, MMOs are known for changing gears quite a bit as you get closer to endgame, which again isn't something you'll experience right away. A friend recommended that I give this game a spin, and again this was a chance to try something different on Friday.

Since I can't comment on any of the later game's content or options, I'll give my first impressions based on what I experienced. If you liked (or hated) seeing this type of game on the series, be sure to leave a comment here or on youtube!

After the opening cutscene of Dr. Doom gaining cosmic power, you're shown an action-comic scene of your current mission. These are relatively well-done and fit the comic book theme perfectly. After that, you're asked to select a starting hero from perhaps a dozen characters. I felt a tad overwhelmed by the selection at first, but the game said that I could switch heroes later on if I didn't like my initial choice. From my rather storied experience of MMOs, I knew this roughly translated to "this is just the tutorial and what you do here probably doesn't matter". I selected a hero (Iron Man) and went on my way blasting bad guys and talking to friendly NPCs.

I was level 2 after a few short fights, and was given some points to upgrade and/or gain new powers - pretty standard fare for MMOs. After several more fights, I make my way into the bank (that's being robbed) and fight my first non-mook enemy, Black Cat. The battle was predictably easy and the floor was covered in loot. From there, you're whisked away to help stop a prison break where you eventually fight the Green Goblin. That's about where the tutorial ends and you get into the world proper to play alongside others.

My experience from there led me to Hell's Kitchen to fight Kingpin, and along the way I teamed up with someone playing as Spider-Man. We went around beating up bad guys and wound up at a shipping yard to confront Venom - though I'm not entirely sure why.

This game, like many other MMOs now, kick the action off right away and just keep going, funneling you as fast as possible to the next spot to do more stuff. I really had no idea what was going on after a while, so I just followed my teammate around killing anything that got in the way, gaining loot, levels and points as we went. I thought my inexperience and unease from trying to take in this whirlwind "go, go, GO!" playstyle would eventually get me killed, but that wasn't the case. I suppose the early game is built so that as long as you aren't entirely AFK in combat, you'll probably succeed.

After what felt like 20 minutes of fighting dudes in the shipping yard and still not sure what the hell was going on, I decided to call it an episode. I might try the game again for a bit in the hopes that I was somehow too distracted during the show to keep track of things, but I have the feeling I'll probably be just as confused. Not that it necessarily seems to matter at this point anyway.

So my first impression of Marvel Heroes 2016? Very similar to a lot of games in the genre at the moment. Rush here and rush there while we bombard you with upgrades and loot, but don't worry if you have no idea what's going on... just GO!

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