I recently had the good fortune to be able to get in on the Marvel Heroes open beta a couple of weeks ago through Steam. I jumped on to Steam and went to my library to figure out what I felt like playing. As I perused my list, I came across “Marvel Heroes – 2 days left”. I was confused. I didn't remember downloading a demo or getting a gift or anything. So I went and checked it out on the Steam store. Ah ha! An open beta for the weekend. I looked at the in-game photographs and description and thought, “It looks okay, maybe I’ll check it out later.”
At this point, one of my best friends and most excellent gaming buddy, Trevor, jumped online. He wanted to do some gaming, but wasn't sure what he wanted to play. I mentioned that the Marvel Heroes open beta was available and we were off!
As we began to play and get our feet beneath us, my fiancé wandered over to see the game. (She is a Marvel fan-girl from way back.) When I mentioned the game to her earlier she didn't seem excited at all. And, truth be told, she hasn't been very excited about gaming for a long time. (I blame Blizzard. What they did to WoW broke her heart.) However, once she saw Deadpool and Wolverine clobbering waves of bad guys, she got a gleam in her eye.
“This is free to play?” she asked.
“Yup. This is the last open beta before launch,” said I.
And then she was gone. Downloading the beta on Steam.
Marvel Heroes is an MMO ARPG. Think Diablo meets super heroes and you're in the right neighborhood. In fact, the game is being developed by Gazillion Entertainment. The president and COO of which is David Brevik of Diablo and Diablo 2 fame. Knowing this put me at ease straight away.
The game is done in the same top down isometric perspective as other games in the ARPG genre. The environments are lush and well done within the confines of the genre's style. Much of the scenery is destructible, which is a practical necessity when you deal with heroes like the Hulk, Thing, and Colossus. Speaking of which, watching one of those guys throw a car at a group of baddies is AWESOME!
The heroes that I’ve played so far seem to all be rather different in play style and hold true to their iconic powers as found in their respective comic books. Some definitely seem over powered and others under powered, but it makes sense in the setting and keeps characters from becoming too homogenized.
Another interesting and FUN decision by Gazillion was to make the iconic characters playable. Nothing puts a smile on your face like playing the Hulk and smashing. The only problem I had with playing the actual heroes from the books is that it can be a bit jarring when you see 3 or four of yourself running around on screen.
The biggest issue I have with the game currently is that it seems like the main story line is pretty short. I don't know if this is really the case, however. The day that I played the game with Trev and my fiancé, it seemed like we made it through two thirds of the story chapters, but there could be more in the full release of the game. That being said, the real fun of the first two Diablo games was leveling your characters and destroying hordes of enemies in the pursuit of better loot as it is here with Marvel Heroes. Plus Marvel Heroes will have endgame content in the vein of raid bosses, it sounds like.
So what do I think about the game? I think it's a great start that can really be built upon, and I think the proof is in the pudding.
Trevor, my fiancé, and I played the beta for an entire day together with us settling on the Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor. Honestly, it was the most fun I've had playing a video game in a while...
... And we've all bought one of the Founders Pack options available on Steam.
Marvel Heroes will be available in the U.S. June 4th.