My time with the Marvel Heroes Beta

When they announced Marvel Heroes, I was extremely optimistic about it’s potential. Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play MMORPG that allows gamers and their friends to team up as the hero of their choice from the Marvel Universe and defend the world from the threat of Doctor Doom. The game is currently in closed beta mode where users can sign up and hope to get a key by e-mail or by various promotions being done before the game is fully released on PC on June 4th. When yours truly finally received his key, I was a little bit more than excited and got to work the next day the servers were open.

Before I even got started, I was a believer that this game will be amazing. The game’s director and writer, as well as the game’s concept, were more than enough to have me firmly on board. The game is being developed by Gazillion Entertainment with David Brevik leading the way. For those who are unaware, Brevik was the game director on the genre defining games Diablo III. Marvel Heroes, as I’ll describe further below, is very much in the essence of the Diablo games and having Brevik as the visionary should make this game, like the Diablo’s before it, into an epic one.

The lead writer for the game is none other than Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers) which will mean that the game will have a great story. The official synopsis for the game is this:

The Cosmic Cube is a device of untold power capable of changing the very fabric of reality at the whim of its possessor. The brilliant but malevolent Dr. Doom has the Cube, and with it he aims to reshape the world in his own image. Determined to succeed where the Cube’s previous wielders have failed, Doom has lined up villainous allies to prevent the super-heroes from interfering. Can you unravel Doctor Doom’s sinister plan and stop him before it’s too late?

The story sounds kick-ass and I would definitely pick it up if it were a comic series.

The idea of using superheroes I love (not creating them like in DC Universe Online) in a huge MMORPG is one that I have dreamed of for years. There’s are also a huge variety of heroes to choose from ranging from Spider-Man and Wolverine, to somewhat less popular (but extremely cool) heroes like Cyclops and Rocket Raccoon.

An unlikely team of Wolverine, The Hulk and Wonder Woman take on Sentinels

When I finally had a chance to play, needless to say, I was really excited. I was there before the servers opened anxiously awaiting my turn to get started. As soon as I logged in I was given the choice of 5 different super heroes: Captain America, Storm, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and the Thing. It took me a good 10 minutes to decide what direction I wanted to go, but I inevitably went with Storm because I felt like she would offer me the coolest powers to begin with. You’re then shipped off to the Heli-Carrier where you really started to realize how much this game was inspired by the Diablo games. The way you set up your character is exactly like Diablo in that you assign powers to your left and right click on your mouse and then you can assign more powers to letter keys later on. To begin with, you start off with only 2 powers. Visually, the game looks exactly like Diablo, but in a modern Marvel universe, which is extremely cool and how I hoped it would look.

I was sent to a prison outbreak next where I got to fight the likes of Living Laser and the Green Goblin. At this point, you’re still alone to battle the members of Hydra and the first mission was pretty enjoyable. The enemies were not extremely varied to this point, but that is to be expected in the first level of a closed beta. The combat was pretty fluid and the powers that I could unlock with Storm later on looked pretty sweet. The boss battles were cool and both bosses attacked my hero in different ways.

In game, after defeating enemies, they may drop items, and this too works a lot like Diablo. The items are color coordinated according to their rarity and whatever pops on your screen is yours. So you don’t need to rush to the item in battle to cut-off your teammates. You also receive in-game currency that you can use to purchase new characters and costumes. The game will have  monetary transactions, but gamers won’t have to spend anything to access the full game, they will just have the option to buy things.

An example of some of the alternate costumes for characters like The Hulk and Spider-Man.

In the second mission, you’re sent to the streets to find Shocker in the metro. This is where the fun begins because you can now team up with other players worldwide. As soon as I stepped to the streets, I formed a group party with Black Widow and Scarlet Witch (a feminist party?) which was pretty cool. We then added someone playing as The Thing to our ranks and set out to rid the streets of evil. The streets had more varied enemies and there were swarms of them everywhere. Problems with lag started to arise now and several players were complaining about it on the chat. However, I wouldn’t hold it against them because it is only a beta after all. If these problems persist after the full release, it may turn players away, but for now, it was understandable. I never made it to Shocker because I had to leave, but you can believe that I’ll make sure he gets his due soon.

The Avengers Assemble in Hells Kitchen

All in all, I was impressed with the direction so far. The game play was really cool and I can’t wait to have more characters to choose from, so I can try out all the different powers that they possess. The story is setting up to be a really cool one that will have gamers playing hours and hours, not just to level-up and find items, but to further the story. I definitely recommend applying for a beta key and inevitably downloading this game in the future. If you’re a Marvel fan and a gamer, this is the type of game you’ve been waiting for.

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