Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Marvel Heroes Review

Steam tells me I've spent 6 hours playing the fairly new (not even been officially released for a week) Free-to-Play MMO Marvel Heroes which, I reckon, is more than enough time to decide whether a game is good or not. It only took me 20 minutes, for instance, to decide the Lord of the Rings Online was rubbish (it really, really is), but I ended up playing that for 2 hours just to make sure.

While LOTRO was a straight-up clone of World of Warcraft, Marvel Heroes is taking its 'inspiration' from Diablo. You choose your favourite hero from the ones available and run off punching things in an MMO Acion-RPG.

This leads to the totally immersion-breaking experience of watching three Hawkeyes, two Things and a Daredevil running around beating up the various villains that populate every square inch of the game world. At least the further you get, the more diversity in characters there is, and the more likely a 'real' looking team is in the same place.

You can play it solo, you can play in a group, or you can do the odd combination of randomly auto-teaming with people who happen to be in the same instance as you. Thankfully (or should that be 'narrowly'), there's only ever one goal in these instances, which is beat someone up.
To start with I picked Hawkeye, who stands there shooting arrows at things, or occasionally kicking them in the nuts. Then I unlocked Thing as a mission reward, and he just hits things. Both of these guys were pretty boring and not really matched to my sort of gameplay. So, I browsed the extra, unlockable, for real money heroes. The A-Listers like Wolverine and Iron Man (who's obviously only been an A-Lister since the Robert Downey Jr. movies, but that's a different blog entirely) cost something like £15 of real money to unlock. Scanning through, I found some less well known heroes, like Rocket Racoon(!), but then there appears Ms Marvel.

In short, I love Ms. Marvel. There, I've said it, now moving on:

So out comes the wallet for £6.49 of my own real hard-earned money. Note that this is £6.49 more than I ever spent on Diablo 3, so I consider it worth it. Ms Marvel likes to punch things, and she also blasts things that she can't punch. She's your classic energy-wielding flying brick of super-strength and super-toughness, which is what everyone needs in their life. Six hours later she's in epic, purple-quality gear at level 13, applying half-Kree glowing energy fists to Kingpin's face. Excellent.

The story is told through Motion Comic cut scenes of an Avengers team (Cap, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Spidey and Black Widow), but as you're the one doing all the work, it looks like they're just turning up at the last minute and taking all the credit. That feels a little weird, but at least it's well done.

Marvel Heroes is fairly samey, in that you run missions, beat everything up, collect the loot and go and sell it. Whereas Diablo was all Auction House based, and depressing because of it, Marvel Heroes requires you to upgrade the vendors and crafters themselves so they sell you greater stuff. The in-game currency of Credits quickly becomes pointless, as you can afford everything you'll ever need after an hour or so, so every item you pick up that isn't an upgrade goes towards improving the vendors.

Yes, there are micro-transactions for heroes, costumes, pets and some items, but it's not in your face constantly (unlike Star Trek Online, 132 hours played, for instance) and you can go the entirety of your game with opening the Store. Yes it's a simple game (and does it really require 11GB of space? I doubt it) but for superhero fans, it's good, action-packed fun. And it's free. So go try it.

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