Yesterday I talked about the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and how much I, a huge Marvel fan, enjoyed it. Well apparently I'm not alone; the movie has set a new record for August openings. I'd be overjoyed to see it hold onto the number one spot next weekend over Michael Bay's upcoming travesty. In any case, today we're going to talk about a game that lets you play as Star-Lord or Rocket Raccoon (with the rest of the team as available sidekicks), Marvel Heroes!
I guess it's officially 'Marvel Heroes 2015' now, but whatever. This is a game that had a rough start, and aggressively mediocre reviews starting out. I didn't even bother giving it a shot until it had been out for 4 or 5 months, and then only because a friend was really talking it up. I think part of the problem was that Marvel Heroes was marketed as an MMO. It's not; not in the traditional sense. When you get down to it, Marvel Heroes is a Marvel-themed Diablo II. It's online-only, and gets content updates (new characters especially) on a regular basis, like an MMO, but the gameplay is ARPG all the way.
So to start with, Marvel Heroes is as much fun as you'd expect Diablo with superheroes to be. Flashy superpowers, fights against classic villains, and a surprisingly good storyline. Opponents can get a little samey on occasion (Savage Land, I'm looking at you), but there's a pretty good range of villains over the course of the game.
Also, Marvel Heroes has one of the better free-to-play setups I've seen. Gameplay isn't gated at all; no having to pay for quest packs or any of that. Characters can be bought in the store, or earned by collecting a resource called Eternity Splinters during normal gameplay. About 22 hours of play will get you enough splinters to buy a new random hero, or you can save up more to buy a specific hero. XP and item boosts are purchasable of course, though you don't really need them to feel like leveling and drop rates are rewarding.
The big money is in costumes and bank space. Bank space is, last I checked, the only thing that is only purchasable with cash. I've bought a few because I'm a pack-rat. If you don't hold onto every little thing like me, you can go a long way with just the freely available space. Costumes can drop, but they're absurdly rare. I've yet to get one as a drop. Also there's so many that the chance of the one you really want dropping for you is pretty much nil. So if you want a specific look other than the default for one of your characters you'll need to spend a few bucks. That said, costumes are cosmetic only and to my mind that's the ideal thing for a cash store to sell.
If you like Diablo-style gameplay and superheroes, you owe it yourself to give Marvel Heroes a shot. If you do, let me know what you think. I'll be interested to hear some other opinions.