Friday, May 10, 2013

Review - Marvel Heroes F2P MMO

Today in Gaming: this weekend, the brand new Marvel Heroes MMO game is available to play as a beta test. So, before we even begin, I have to say that this is a beta and many if not all of what you see here can change.

With that being said, some of the things here need to change.

I attempted to sign up and was told that "angelikmayhem" is an invalid name. They didn't tell me why, just that it was bad.


To begin, you get a tutorial. After that is over and you feel comfortable with the controls, you get eight "chapters" that take you to various locations. Of course, there's your super-secret tower where you can go to heal, craft, and boost your skills.

The tutorial is a very on-rails affair. I played the entire thing and it went like this: you arrived at a prison from which there was a prison escape, you enter the prison, you kill four dozen mooks or so -- never more than three at a time -- and then you meet the Green Goblin. Apparently the Green Goblin had nothing better to do than to hang around inside the prison from which he was escaping.

At the start of each mission, there's a cutscene. These are disjointed and puzzling. My cutscene featured another character (the blind guy) defeating Rhino for me, so that was a let down. I'd like to defeat these people myself, thank you.

Chapter one is hell's kitchen and frankly I could not imagine a more boring level. It's almost perfectly square. You farm mindless creeps for tons and tons of loot and then walking the stuff back to the "store" character to exchange it for money. Apparently there is an arsonist, but by this point I was so bored that I couldn't bear to find him.

Game Mechanics

Click on guy, beat up guy. Click on next guy, beat him up too. No loot chests, no exploration, no -- MMO stuff.

Your character can take hundreds of bullets, attacks with chains, punches to the face -- all without dying or even getting stunned. I did find some "deadly"-rated creeps, but I have no idea how powerful they were because the game was glitched and they refused to agro me.

Taking out twenty guys was no problem for anyone -- and that's a problem. Why? Because what happens when one hundred people are all playing the same level and each of them only has one guy to kill. They're going to be bored out of their minds.

I only found one boss -- the Green Goblin. He was quite easy, but he was also the tutorial so I can understand you not wanting to crush people's spirits going in. That being said, he's the Green Goblin. For the love of James Lipton, people, he probably shouldn't be the easiest boss in the game. Nor the first. You know who would have been great here: Rhino -- a demi-villain who is obviously too stupid to escape during a jailbreak.

Graphics and Settings

The graphics look fine. 30FPS all the way through except for the long, un-skipable cut scenes in between chapters, which ran at 24FPS - no reason given, though this appears to be a creative choice not a technical flaw. The graphics aren't in any way "amazing". It's standard MMO style stuff.

The settings menu is spartan at best. I tried to change the settings to 1280x720, but the game changed them back. Then I tried to change the audio and the game changed that back too.

There is no way to zoom out to a reasonable distance, so you can never get a good look at the surrounding area. In walking around I noticed that there were dozens of places where enemies were obscured by the terrain and walls and stuff because the terrain and walls don't go away unless you personally are behind them. That was crazy annoying! The camera is locked in an isometric view with a map you can't get rid of in the upper right-hand corner -- so when you're heading northeast you're pretty much screwed because the map is always in your way and you can't see the enemies until they are right on top of you.

The rest of the HUD is beautiful -- clean and elegant. If they put away their stupid map and let me pull it out only when I need it, my opinion of the game may have been decidedly kinder.

The popups for your inventory and character screen are great; almost identical to SW:TOR.


This game barely qualifies as an MMO and any thoughts of replayability seems ludicrous. In fact, if you told me that it was an isometric adventure game, I'd have a completely different opinion of it.

You could also tell me that this game was made for kids or teens, but I played as Black Widow and I unlocked her fishnet dominatrix outfit for 600 of the 2000 credits they gave me. So that excuse is out the window.

Comic books, at their heart, are linear stories that impart messages and philosophy. The comic book guys who were clearly behind this game failed to adapt to the differences between comic book and MMO styles.

I was impressed by neither the licensed characters nor the technical prowess of this game. I got a look at all five of the characters unlocked for the beta and, frankly, not a single one of them was impressive in their abilities. Finally, let me just remind you that this is a beta. I will check this title again after it launches, but don't expect that I will be spending any more time with this title than is absolutely necessary for the review. Both in style and in substance, this one for me is a pass.

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