Comic Con Hands On: Marvel Heroes

When thinking about Marvel Heroes, I want you to remember one name: David Brevik. If you already know who David Brevik is, then my mention of his name should automatically make you think of Diablo, and that is where I would like to begin. For a while now, you may have heard of Marvel: Heroes be referred to as “Marvel Ultimate Alliance Online.” It isn’t, at least in the sense that the two don’t carry much resemblance. Instead, I think it would be more suitable to think of Heroes as the spiritual successor to Diablo. Born of the same mind, and although vastly different in many ways, it feels quite familiar.

As I’ve already mentioned, I had an opportunity to head over to New York Comic Con, and I made a note of going to the Marvel: Heroes booth and taking the game for a couple of spins. And the folks handing out cards and helping out players wanted me to be absolutely clear: Marvel: Heroes is completely free to play, and not at all pay to win. You don’t have to pay to continue through the story, you won’t have to pay to unlock heroes, and you won’t have to worry about pay to win equipment.

The demo I was able to play was rather short, a condensed version of the level that took about ten minutes to play through. Starting out on the rooftop of a city building, I was given a quest to head down into the subway and defeat Electro. Down in the city below, I took to the streets with my fellow heroes (with usernames like NYCC19), on an expansive but linear street filled with gang members. Along the way, our heroes grouped up momentarily to take down Shocker, who cut through our group of newbie players like a hot knife through butter. But through diligence (and an incredibly lenient revival system for the sake of the demo), we managed to take him down.

Heading into the sewer, I found myself in one of Marvel’s instanced areas. It was just Electro, myself, and a whole bunch of grunts in the way. The inspiration that Marvel: Heroes draws from Diablo is obvious, the player moves around by clicking the left mouse button on the scenery, which also translates to the character’s primary attack. Each character has a secondary attack made possible with the right mouse button, and additional powers that are unlocked and used with the ASDF keys.

The game looks fantastic, and handles just as fluidly. Heroes handle pretty much just like you’d expect them to. For instance, Tony Stark is more suited to ranged combat, and while he isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, I wouldn’t recommend staying in melee distance for too long. The Hulk doesn’t have much on the side of ranged combat, but he does have a knack for smashing things. And Deadpool carries both his trademark swords and pistols, making him useful in melee or ranged situations. In total there will be a few dozen heroes to choose from, each with a massive range of costumes, with the possibility of more heroes post-launch.

Overall, Marvel: Heroes is turning out to be a great game. I’ll be looking forward to covering the game as it progresses closer to launch.

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