DJ's musings and misgivings
Some games are meant to be played as a distraction. There are games that leave a lasting impression on us - games that push the boundaries of what a game can be. Then, there are games that exist for mindless entertainment. While not revolutionary, they do have a time and a place, as sometimes you just want to zone out and blast enemies and pick up shiny loot.
Marvel Heroes is a shining example of the click now, worry later type of game. It is probably best classified as an MMO-ARPG. While this may sound like a cool concept, the result is anything but cool. Marvel Heroes takes the most basic elements of an ARPG like Diablo or Torchlight, and simplifies this concept into its purest form. The game boils down to a linear progression through a series of acts, using a variety of heroes from the Marvel Universe. There will be loot to find, and many enemies to slay, but something is missing from the equation.
The missing element is depth, and from putting in some time with the game, you will notice a serious lack of customization. Skill trees are linear and uninspired. Loot is boring and one-dimensional. Skills are sometimes cool, but very limited in application. The game essentially breaks down into a formulaic point-and-click fest with little to keep the player hooked. The developers hope to reel you in with cool characters that you will want to buy, but in the end, you will probably realize it is all the same.
Even the gameplay could be somewhat forgiven if the cooperative features were worthwhile in this game. The developers really had a chance to blend the best parts of an MMO with the fast paced action of an ARPG. Instead, what we get is a half-baked attempt at an open world. In each act, there are hub zones where you can interact with many different players. Upon first examination, you might find it cool to roam the streets with unknown allies in a masked crusade for vengeance. After some time, you will begin to feel that other players are getting in the way of your killing sprees. After a long time, you will want to fast forward through the hubs and into the instances.
The instances are the core of the game, and it is here that you can party with up to five players to tackle bosses and zones. Nothing really spectacular stands out about these instances, especially with partners. There is little skill synergy to be experienced with a group due mostly to the fact that heroes are not heavily specialized and ultimately lack impactful skills. In the end, you will be clicking more enemies, and grabbing more loot.
Marvel Heroes feels like a missed opportunity. There was some serious potential in this game, with a large universe of content to draw from and an interesting basis for social dynamics and cooperative gaming. Sadly, it is a shallow game, and the micro-transaction model is far too transparent. Overall, I do not recommend trying this game, not when there are better F2P ARPGs available, particularly Path of Exile.