hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Marvel Heroes

Preview: Catching up with Marvel Heroes' closed beta

5:00 PM on 12.18.2012 // Jordan Devore

So much potential

In our prior coverage of Marvel Heroes, Steven set the stage for the free-to-play MMO. On paper, it all sounds rather good: an action-RPG starring iconic heroes and villains being worked on by Diablo creator David Brevik with a story penned by Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man). Yes, please!

Conceptually, there is so much potential here -- when we got the opportunity to join the game's closed beta, I was more than willing to set aside the time to play Marvel Heroes. Execution is another matter, especially for an honest-to-goodness beta such as this. While I remain hopeful about this project even as someone who isn't that into comics, there are some concerns I'd love to see addressed before the to-be-announced full release happens.

Marvel Heroes (PC)
Developer: Secret Identity Studios
Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment
Release: TBA

Since the obligatory tie to Diablo has already been mentioned, I'll attempt to not bring that series up again. It is, however, an entirely warranted comparison. Fans of action-RPGs will feel right at home with Marvel Heroes, from its overhead view to its colored loot to its health and spirit meters. This specific approach to the genre has not yet outstayed its welcome, but there has been iteration in the past few years to keep things somewhat fresh.

Unfortunately, Marvel Heroes does little if anything to build upon the foundation. While this might not be a major problem for all of you -- particularly in the context of the game's price, or lack thereof -- I'm surely not alone in only being able to handle so many of these titles in a given year. Based on my closed-beta experience, the vast majority of your time here will be spent wandering around, clicking on enemies until they keel over, and occasionally picking up promising-looking loot. Well, yeah. Of course.

This would be perfectly acceptable if the game's environments weren't so bland and lifeless, the enemies were significantly more varied in appearance and attack patterns, and the loot itself was cosmetic rather than merely serving as an equippable bundle of stats. Thankfully, those first two complaints were to some extent addressed as I got further into the beta. Fighting street thugs in a dreary take on Hell's Kitchen got old, fast, but taking down ninja members of The Hand on the Southeast Asian island of Madripoor was far more interesting.

With moment-to-moment combat that, in my experience as The Punisher, generally came down to using my primary attack (i.e., left clicking) almost exclusively for its pure damage-per-second output, the onus was on the environments and enemies to be engaging. As one would expect, Marvel Heroes does make use of skill trees, but the implementation here was said to be an early prototype. My Frank Castle could use a rocket launcher, or kick foes back when they got too close, or whip out a shotgun for crowd control, but it was his basic rifle attack -- not an actual power -- that ended up being most effective.

While he was my main character, we were given enough funds to check out the in-game shop where players can purchase more heroes (I went with Iron Man and the Hulk) in addition to alternate costumes. That's where the free-to-play aspect comes in and why loot you pick up has no bearing on your appearance. Which is not entirely unreasonable, all told; they have to make money somehow. In the brief time spent with these other two characters, I did get the sense that their respective powers were more differentiated and useful than the Punisher's, for what it's worth.

Once you have multiple characters, you can swap between them anywhere (provided you aren't hit by an attack during the brief transfer time). They start off at level one, however, so I wasn't terribly interested in catching Iron Man or the Hulk up to my main by replaying the unexciting introductory levels. Not for the purposes of this preview, anyway. Regrettably, the times when the servers were up and Marvel Heroes was playable as an MMO clashed with my bizarre schedule more often than not; perhaps I would have had more fun rolling through Hell's Kitchen or fighting untold Hydra members a second time with some partners. That's usually the case. There are randomized boss encounters (such as Electro, early on) designed to require teamwork, and that's where the game could really shine.

It's difficult to know exactly how much work on Marvel Heroes remains. As it stands, the game is something I wouldn't mind playing for a few hours given its free nature, but certainly not much more. We were told that, specifically, the costume system and skill trees were works-in-progress, with plans for the latter to be greatly expanded upon. Fleshing out those two major elements would certainly go a long way in bringing me back on board.

The real driving force here is unsurprisingly the huge catalog of characters available to Gazillion and Secret Identity Studios, both in terms of overall narrative (which is told through voiced motion comics) and the heroes you're able to play as. On some level, it's just plain cool to see some of these familiar and not-so-familiar faces show up -- but it isn't enough to carry the game alone. Watching a video dropped by a slain foe in which the Taskmaster tries to recruit criminal scum for his institute was genuinely fun. I wish the same held true for the combat itself.

For as much criticism as I've presented here, Marvel Heroes is still something I'll watch very closely as further patches roll in. As is, this will be worth checking out for Marvel fans, but I'm done giving games a free pass simply because they don't cost anything up front. They do cost something -- the time and energy we put into them. With additional development time (again, we don't even have a rough release date), I'm confident this could be the game its highly promising premise deserves. Until then, I recommend joining me in keeping up with Marvel Heroes' progress.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
The new Bloggers Wanted prompt will post on Monday!
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
For Occams: [img][/img]
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
I routinely listen to the Dustforce soundtrack every week. Incredible sounds. [youtube][/youtube]
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Steam rejected the DP refund. Meh, It's been a long time between when I bought and played it, don't care anymore, heh. Decided to play more MGS4 on PS3 and start replaying Rayman Origins on PC. Fun games that actually work.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Being an asshole, watching this Star Citizen debacle unfold and seeing Cloud Imperium's meltdown about the whole ordeal is incredibly entertaining. Even if the allegations ARE false, CI's official statement comes off as wonderfully bitter and petty.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Alright. Playing off of the Avatar question, why did you choose your username?
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I tried playing Deadly Premonition on Steam from my backlog today and it's a GODAWFUL pc port. I bought it forever ago but I requested a refund. If anything I don't want it in my library....
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
If you ever dipped a cookie in your coffee, I promise you're doing it right.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Why did you pick your avatar? What about you does it represent?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Wanna eat some meat ? [youtube][/youtube]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Why is it that Sundays always feel so lazy? I always tell myself I'm going to get things done and then...well....
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
So, I plan on using my GameStop Power-Up Rewards points (yes) to buy all the eventual P4DAN DLC. Even though the practices are very suspect. I am so not made of stone. Moreso blubber and Dr. Pepper.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Having a puppy and trying to play legend of grimrock 2 somewhere the puppy normally doesn't get to hang out is a futile effort.
gajknight avatargajknight
Shafts of light emanated from Robo Panda Z's eyes, illuminating the intricately engraved obelisks looming impossibly above him. A whispered voice spoke from the obelisk. Do you pay too much for your Internet? Comcast. Like you have a choice.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I miss Kill la Kill - I think mostly because it was so damn entertaining to have a bunch of people drawling, "Nuuuuuuuuudiiiiiiiist Beeeeeeeeeeeaaaach" at each other.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I took a homeopathic shower this morning. I used extra water.
Shinta avatarShinta
Shinta avatarShinta
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
It's 2am and I'm watching this emulator whiz play Xenia (360 emilator) on PC albeit glitchy This video is hilarious
Shinta avatarShinta
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Marvel Heroes

  Mar 22

Marvel Heroes launches in June

You're free to pay for early access

  Jan 09

Gazillion initiates Marvel Heroes Founders Program

Game launching spring 2013 for PC, Mac version coming later

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -