(As someone who has spent almost 800 hours playing Marvel Heroes since its launch, this article is obviously going to be biased, because I give this game the love it deserves.)
It was in the middle of my childhood when Diablo came out and began its ascent among the pantheon of legendary games. It was during my first year of high school that Diablo II was released and caused a few of my friends who normally hung out after school, to disappear back to their houses to play the addicting top down Action RPG. Ever since the final Diablo II expansion there have been many, many attempts to recreate or improve upon the game model that David Brevik had created so many years ago. Some people might argue that this game or that game is the next best ARPG or that this game is the successor so it’s automatically the best, but in my eyes there is only one game to finally achieve matching Diablo’s former greatness… Marvel Heroes (or Marvel Heroes 2015 as it’s now going by to signify that it’s a completely different game than it was in 2014).
A few of you just guffawed out loud and I hear you, this game DID NOT get good initial reviews, but things have changed. Marvel Heroes (like many other games) ended up running out of time and released their game about two months too early and suffered because of it, but a few months after release the game developers did a huge repair patch. It included a UI overhaul, fixed some major performance issues and added a few new heroes. Immediately the Marvel Heroes community that stuck with the game (because they hadn’t bought into what their token youtube-er/streamer had said during their “reviews”) knew that Gazillion Entertainment was doing everything in their power to fix the issues the players were having and were trying to add in the stuff players requested. This fact alone makes Marvel Heroes worth playing. Gazillion Entertainment is a paragon of video game community interaction. Every single aspect of the game gets developed with community input included. Every hero forum has multiple posts where developers are chatting with players about what they would love to see for a certain hero and in other forums they comment on player posts about various topics. The fact that Gazillion has such an incredible reputation now for communication and openness to their community puts them miles above the rest of the ARPG game developers without even taking the game into account. While playing Marvel Heroes you feel that the dev team is constantly around to help and hear you out, so if you begin to feel Cyclops is a one button character and is getting boring, you can tell the devs directly your thoughts and they will fix it! This is the case with almost every hero since launch. Alongside new heroes being released every month, the design team at Gazillion has been revamping every single hero already in the game, giving each a “52 review” where they either fix a few aspects of a character or they completely overhaul someone like Iron Man, giving him a whole load of new powers to make him feel epic like he is in the movies/comics.
This brings me to another reason you need to give Marvel Heroes another try if you haven’t since their initial launch… heroes! While other ARPG’s give you a choice of 6-7 classes or a couple dozen combinations you can “spec” your character in, Marvel Heroes gives you the choice of currently 39 completely different heroes to play as! Of course I must say you don’t have immediate access to all 39 heroes from the get go, but you get to pick from: Captain America, Black Panther, Punisher, Black Widow, Luke Cage, Human Torch, Colossus, Storm, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon & Daredevil. So that’s 11 heroes you get to pick from to start with, that’s already more than most ARPG’s give you in the whole game. Once you pick your first hero, it’s the hero you’ll have for at least the normal story mode. Once you defeat Green Goblin in the tutorial you get 100 Eternity Splinters, which are in game currency used to purchase new heroes. Defeating Dr. Doom at the end of the Story mode gets you another 100 splinters as well. There are a few heroes like Taskmaster and Scarlet Witch who cost 200 splinters to purchase, as well as ALL of the other starter heroes, or you can test your luck and spend 175 splinters for a random hero (this can get you a 600 splinter hero if you’re lucky!). Eternity Splinters are also dropped randomly by enemies throughout the game in drops of 1, 2, 5, and 10, so by the time you’ve finished your first run of Story Mode you’ll have enough splinters to pick your next hero you want to play! So it’s possible to get all 39 heroes in the game without spending a single penny, and unlike the original purchase model Gazillion had at launch where heroes just dropped randomly, this new Eternity Splinter model allows you to save up splinters and pick which hero you want to play. Of course, if you have money to spend want to get right into playing as the Hulk without saving up for him in game, you can easily purchase him with real money at an affordable price.
You’ll hear a ton of people crying online about how Marvel Heroes isn’t really 100% free-to-play, but I can tell you as a long time player of the game that those people are full of it. There isn’t a single thing behind a pay wall in this game. Sure I’ll admit that it may take a long time to get that Enhanced Superior Spider-Man costume that you desperately want without paying for it, but it IS possible to get it with luck and time. This is called pay-for-convenience not pay-to-play. All the costumes in the game are purely cosmetic and don’t benefit you in any other way than being eye candy. Someone wearing an Enhanced Beta Ray Bill costume can do everything someone wearing Thor’s default costume can and visa-versa. There are boosts to xp, rarity find and such in the cash shop as well, but still this is pay-for-convenience not pay-to-win. You can still hit level 60 and find unique items as someone buying boosts, it just takes more time and less money (time is money friends). So if you’re someone who doesn’t have the cash to subscribe to other online games and just wants to play an amazing game that doesn’t hide content behind a pay wall, give Marvel Heroes a download and try it out.
It’s not often that we at Geeks With Wives get to combine all of our interests into one article. Usually TV/Movies, video games and comic articles stick to their sections, but in this article I get the chance to talk about all three, because Marvel Heroes combines all these things into one game. Not only is Marvel Heroes’ story written by Marvel writers and canon with the Marvel Comic Universe, but it also responds to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the movies) as well. When Thor: The Dark World came out, we got a whole new chapter in the story mode where we go to Asgard to stop Malekith and Loki from taking over! When Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, we got Cap’s movie costume and the same goes with Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord when Guardians of the Galaxy came out. Now you can play as either Peter Quill from the Annihilation comic event or Chris Pratt as Peter Quill from the movie (along with movie Groot as a sidekick!). My favorite character Nova will be next to release in October, but he was announced over a year ago before launch. The reason he wasn’t able to release yet, is because the community demanded Richard Rider as a costume option (instead of just the younger Nova Sam), and Gazillion worked with Marvel to make this happen. Since the game is canon and goes along with the Marvel Universes, we had to wait until Richard Rider was back in the comic universe before Gazillion was given the green like to release him. That’s how involved this game is when the other medias. I don’t see the other ARPG’s doing this.
Then the final thing that makes Marvel Heroes so great is that it is truly a Marvel game that does everything the best they can in an ARPG format. Sure Spidey can’t crawl on walls because the top-down gaming platform doesn’t allow it, but he can web-swing. All heroes who can fly are able to and heroes like Ghost Rider and Wolverine (who stole Cyclops’ motorcycle) can summon their signature modes of transportation. Marvel has such an expansive universe to pull content from that Gazillion has full access to. Not only do you fight notable villains like Magneto, Venom, The Mandarin and Kingpin, but you also get to see lesser known villains like Man-Ape, Mole Man, Mr. Hyde and The Hood! You visit places like The Raft (Marvel’s version of Arkham Asylum), Midtown Manhattan, the Jersey Docks, Madripoor, the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and many more you will know from reading comics. Marvel Heroes doesn’t just make you play as the heroes as well! People asked for it and ever since Thor: The Dark World came out, Gazillion has been starting to release anti-heroes or “sometimes a hero” characters like Loki, Taskmaster, Venom, Magneto, Juggernaut, Black Cat & Dr. Doom himself! For the first time in video game history Gazillion managed to pull off a fan favorite hero Rogue in a way that pleased everyone wanting to play her. She can go around and steal a power from any hero, team up or boss in the game and add them to her arsenal.
There is more I could say about this game (and I will in future articles!) but for now if I haven’t convinced you to give Marvel Heroes a shot, then you’re probably just not into ARPG on the computer or you’re too busy playing Destiny to completely give 100% to reading this. Marvel Heroes is a game that deserves more praise and players not only for how entertaining it is to play, but also for all the effort and time that’s gone into shaping it around players’ hopes and wishes. Gazillion has a TON of things in store for Marvel Heroes’ future. Last week they just announced 11 new playable heroes to be released in 2015. These include: Iceman, Dr. Doom, War Machine, Kitty Pryde/Lockheed, Vision, She-Hulk, The Winter Soldier, Blade, Iron Fist, Black Cat and X-23 and that doesn’t even include the heroes still on the way this year like Nova, Magneto, Venom & Juggernaut! This doesn’t mean you won’t see your favorite unnamed characters in the game. Every month we’ve been getting a steady slew of Team-Up heroes who act as CPU companions in the game (the most recent ones being Drax, Gamora, Groot, Domino and She-Hulk), so there is a chance you’ll see heroes like Angel and Beast in the near future as companions. This game offers a ton of different ways to play, including story mode with three different difficulties, three difficulties of challenge modes, two different survival modes, an endless kill mode, pvp (think ARAM or MOBA style fighting) that’s still in live-beta currently and an EPIC raid that is just as difficult as the old WoW raids back in the day (with hard mode and achievements incoming!). With 16 different slots for items on each character, when you’re in the game killing enemies you will see a lootsplosion of stuff for you to equip or to vacuum up and sell for coin. Not only does Gazillion listen to the Marvel Heroes community but they thank us in monthly events that boost xp and drop %’s and give us fun objectives to do for a week or so. I could go on and on telling you why I love this game, but the only thing you need to really gather from this piece overall is… you need to go play this game.
Here is a slideshow of the games current heroes and team ups: