The first time I tried my hand at Marvel Heroes was on PC shortly after it’s original release back on June 4 2013. It was a mixed title back then. Its menus could be difficult to navigate, combat could feel monotonous, and the game had yet to master the idea of how to offer such a huge roster of characters to players effectively.
Since then Gazillion have been working tirelessly to perfect their flawed original concept, and years later, and under their new title Marvel Heroes Omega they’re bringing their title to PS4 and Xbox One titles. Through their extensive work and engagement with their fan base, they have succeeded to turn their fledgling action RPG, with elements of MMO, into a real gem. Not to mention, Marvel Heroes is entirely free to play.
Its cost is one of the key selling points of the title, as it’s far from the typical “pay to win”, “free for the first 20 levels” or “free for the first week” titles that like to throw the “free to play” phrase around. Everything but additional costumes is earnable through simply playing Marvel Heroes, and there’s usually some free giveaways of codes for in-game currency that you can save up for a while if you’re dead set on earning a costume for free. Other than that, every character and item can be earned simply through playing through the title in any way you see fit. That’s a hard sell to ignore.
For those new to the Marvel Heroes title, it can be summarised simply as “a Diablo style action RPG and MMO combo, with a larger roster of Marvel characters playable than any other console or PC title has ever offered.”
The story of Marvel Heroes has been penned by iconic comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis, famous for his Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, House of M, Secret Invasion, Avengers vs X-Men storylines, among others. Marvel Heroes storyline isn’t anything that’s going to break the video game industry, but it does manage to tie the game’s variety of iconic areas together including: Hells Kitchen, Asgard, Mutant Town, and Madripoor. The cut scenes are animated in a comic book style, which is also a nice touch, and this link to both the Marvel comic book and cinematic worlds is a particular stand out for the title.
With the popularity of the current Marvel movies it would have been easy to forgive developers Gazillion for focusing on the current screen iterations of the classic Marvel characters, yet Marvel Heroes strikes a smooth balance between the two worlds. Hawkeye, for example, can choose between his classic comic book purple outfit or a much more functional black version, based on the costume sported by Jeremy Renner in the movies. It’s representative of a game that aims to appeal to a variety of Marvel fans, whether you’re a comic book reader or movie goer, X-Men fan or avid Avenger.
Characters have some interesting play styles even with the huge roster of characters (37 currently in the closed beta, but there’s plenty more expected to be on the way that are currently available on the PC version). They’re well themed to the characters traits and personalities as well, for example Jean Grey being forced to stand still or move slowly as she concentrates on using her powers, while Ghost Rider has a variety of moves designed to pull a target closer with his chains. What’s more, every character is available to play for free up to level 10, with the currency used to purchase additional characters relatively easy to acquire, letting you pick up the entire roster just through playing. With Marvel having had so few successful titles on current gen consoles, Marvel Heroes Omega feels like a godsend.
Although the PC version of Marvel Heroes Omega currently has a larger roster of characters, missions, and large-scale “raid” content, these are expected to be brought over to the PS4 and XboxOne versions of the games as soon as both are officially released. As for the dates on that, the PS4 version moves from a closed beta, to open beta on the 23rd of May, but if you pick up a Founders Pack you’ll be able to start playing on closed beta immediately and open beta from the 19th. The packs range in price, with different packs containing different character unlocks (though remember all can be earned for free in game), with the cheapest being the Playstation Plus exclusive War Machine pack for £16.99. Nice little headstart if you’re determined to stay ahead of the competition, but be warned all closed beta progress will be wiped on the 18th. As for the XboxOne version, we’re still waiting for an exact date on when the closed beta will open.
Our advice is that Marvel Heroes Omega is looking so promising, that even for a potentially free game, you’re not going to feel guilty for sinking a few quid into it so you get early access. Treat yourself.