Diablo 1 and 2 are hallmarks of the action RPG genre. While playing them as a youngster, I often imaged what it would be like to play with characters that had a lot more history to them: Wolverine, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. If you’re a fan of Diablo, you’ve likely had the same thoughts. Marvel Heroes is an opportunity to do just that! Hopefully you’ve only wanted to play as Marvel characters – you won’t find Batman here.
Marvel Heroes is a lighter, more accessible version of Diablo – less emphasis on loot finding and character min-maxing. Instead, it’s a fairly shallow game that you’ll love if you’re a fan of the deep lore of the Marvel Universe.
The lead designer of Marvel Heroes, David Brevik, was also the creator of Diablo 1 and 2. Naturally and intentionally, there are similarities between these 3 games. And I’m thankful for that. I had a ton of fun with my 30 minutes as Iron Man. I reached level 3 and upgraded my pulse beam (hand cannon) and shields. It may take 4-5 left-click shots to take down a basic A.I. enemy, but I feel powerful due to the well articulated animations and sound. Again, not unlike Diablo. Fortunately, my shield does not take away from my Spirit (mana) or Health meters. Instead, Iron Man has a separate meter for shields. Allowing the player to continue using Spirit-draining, awesome-looking powers with the right-mouse-button.
In my 30 minutes, I defeated 2 bosses: Living Laser and the Green Goblin. Defeating a boss yields a boss-specific medal that is character-bound upon equipping. The medals are like amulets that offer unique bonuses such as an increase in Spirit or extra damage while under 40% health. Between the health and spirit orbs are where you equip Powers, which are special abilities you may unlock as you gain experience. The skill tree is nothing like Diablo 2 or Path of Exile – another game in this genre which I feel improved upon Diablo’s gameplay. Instead, it keeps things simple. Making it accessible for young gamers or Marvel fans who may be new to action RPGs. I should mention, there is a sub-culture of action RPG players who focus on maximizing their character with as little experience as possible (min-maxing). This effort to “game” the game is admirable, but appears to be unnecessary with Marvel Heroes. If that is what compels you to play action RPGs, you won’t be thrilled with Marvel Heroes.
This weekend everyone is invited to a free beta. Considering the official release date is June 4th, I find it hard to believe this won’t be exactly what the release version is like. I’ll be sure to continue playing and report my feedback via Twitter. I’d love to hear yours as well!