Marvel Heroes 2016 Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


I’ve always had a soft spot for hero games. Whether it’s the more serious and grounded Spiderman games, or the more zany and whacky Saints Row 4; I’ve always admired the sheer amount of exhilaration and exploration presented to me in each game. Of course, from time to time there’s a flop, but for the most part, it’s rare for me to play a game about superheroes and not have some modicum of fun while doing so. Thankfully, though, Marvel Heroes 2016 is more hero than zero.


Marvel Heroes roster pulls from both old and new versions of famous characters.

Developed and Published by Gazillion Interactive with licensing from Marvel Studios, Marvel Heroes 2016 is an ARPG with a story similar to that of most Ultimate Alliance games produced by Marvel in the past. Starting out about an alliance of villains threatening the world, featuring big names like Dr. Doom, Kingpin, and Venom, you have a huge roster of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains to choose from in fighting against them. Including such noteworthy playable characters like Iron Man, Deadpool, and Dr. Doom; players are tasked with exploring a variety of Marvel set pieces as they destroy enemies and collect equipment in a style similar to Diablo.

Dungeons and Drops aside, Marvel Heroes has plenty more in common with the Diablo series. Using a series of hotkeys to access a variety of different and flashy powers, you move and attack with the left mouse button while using the cursor to aim your abilities. Additionally, elite gangsters have additional effects, such as being immune to crowd control or more health. These things, combined with the equipment system, might make Marvel Heroes seem a bit too similar to the Diablo series to truly enjoy it as anything more than a clone, but Heroes does contain quite enough content to stand alone from being a simple reskin of an already popular series.

Being a game about Marvel Heroes, for instance, it’d be a shame if Marvel Heroes didn’t deliver on its namesake. With a roster of over 50 heroes, anti-heroes, and villains to choose from, and over ten different heroes given to players at the start for free, players will find themselves drowning from the sheer amount of choice they have. These characters are also widely varied, with different skills and animations between them, and few similarities.


Some villains appear as mini-bosses during raids.

Hulk, Deadpool, and Black Widow all have their own unique playstyles, and feel entirely different from each other, as they should. It would’ve been incredibly easy for Gazillion just to copy and paste a few abilities between different heroes with similar skillsets, but they showed amazing fortitude in creating these skill sets. Even in cases where the powers between heroes could be considered overly similar, the game keeps it classy by making each skill tied uniquely to each character. For instance, hero Luke Cage has an ability called “Sweet Christmas,” a reference to his catchphrase. Something I learned purely because playing the game and finding said skill caused me to cock an eyebrow at such an interesting skill name, so I had to look up more information on the hero Luke Cage.

Each hero also looks great in-game as well, with each character being rendered with a good deal of obvious care. Not limited to just standard outfits either, each hero has a few purchasable skins in the cash shop that reference movies, comics, and other obscure sources to a degree that only fans of the Marvel Universe will understand. Everything from Iron Man’s Mark I suit, to Spiderman wearing a Fantastic Four suit and paper bag over his head is included as purchasable attire, with some being limited time offers, that offer no in-game benefits aside from a few compliments and nerd street cred. The only real downside to these is that the alternate costumes can be unreasonably expensive for cosmetics, ranging from around 5-10$ in premium cash.

If you don’t want to drop a lot of money though and still want to look at something gorgeous, then worry not. Marvel Heroes has you covered with a variety of noteworthy, drop dead gorgeous set dressings from across the Marvel Universe. Whether it’s the early stages of The Raft prison, downtown Manhattan, or Asgard; Marvel Heroes has no shortage of jaw-droppingly beautiful stages, littered with interactive pieces and colours that make each stage of the game feel alive and vibrant to the players.

Not simply content with being gorgeous, though, each stage is a wonderfully animated piece of level design that tickles my eyes in all the right ways. While some stages and hubzones do contain a lot of static non-combatant NPCs and randomly spawning goon squads to keep players entertained, most raid dungeons have so much more to make the epic struggles of good vs evil feel exactly like that. My favorite example being during an early mission on The Raft, where Hydra Goons are breaking super villains out of the ultra high-security jail, you can actually see things going on with the lower levels of the stage as you’re fighting your way through wave after wave of meatshields; like a hapless Hydra goon being attacked by a released Symbiote.


Like a cross between Torchlight and Ultimate Alliance, Marvel Heroes has plenty of dungeon crawling goodness.

Just as fun is the level of destructiveness players are given when moving through zones, with explosions going off almost as often as they do in Marvel movies. Attacking a goon standing next to a computer terminal will likely bust both of them up, and while not to an especially big effect, it still feels incredibly satisfying and immersive. Sure, it’s not exactly realistic for me to be able to destroy every car in New York with impunity, but boy does it feel cathartically good.

Like I said before, though, not every level is fun and explosions in Marvel however. You do have a fair number of stages like Hell’s Kitchen, NY. Set up so that players can meet Daredevil and Kingpin, the stage is mostly subways and city streets at night, with a bunch of generic goons in wife beaters assaulting you with no care in the world. It’s large, boring, and repetitive to a point where I found myself just mindlessly moving from mob to mob after a point because I was too bored with the segment to really do much of anything else.

Although, I might’ve also been losing interest at that point due to another minor flaw that actually becomes a bit more major the longer you play. While I stuck to only a few of my favorite heroes in my playtime, I can’t say if anyone else shares this problem, but Iron Man has this rather annoying habit of using his repulsor jets to fly instead of walk during regular movement. It offers no in-game benefit, and he’s still bound to the rules of movement every other walking character uses, but Mr. Stark insists on using his obnoxiously noisy means of transport. Which while accurate to the character, had me reducing the sound so I could keep using his amazing Unibeam.

Speaking of staying in character, each character has a nice long list of reactions and idle banter to spout off during various points of gameplay. Originally, I was going to bring this up as a positive, but that was before I realized my heroes felt the need to comment on every single hero they passed by. It was cool hearing custom tailored responses to Thor and Loki walking past at first, and it definitely isn’t a major problem where the audio is overlapping or anything like that, but it does come up frequently enough that I (once again) found another reason to lower the sound volume.

Characters being obnoxious aside, though, Marvel Heroes has some lovely sound design attached to it. From character voices to stage background music, almost everything in the game was a joy to listen to. Even with my minor grievances directed towards Hero-specific sounds, overall Marvel Heroes has possibly some of the best sounding audio I’ve heard this year. Lovely sound design is also coupled with some decently crafted controls. While not always incredibly accurate, clicking on baddies to bust’em up worked 99% of the time, with a slight margin of error where clicking on a villain would move me next to them instead. Marvel Heroes does also offer controller support, but I was unfortunately unable to test this aspect of the game personally; due to my controller having some recognition issues with my laptop. When I get this fixed I will be returning to update this article.

Overall, Marvel Heroes is an excellently crafted MMO. It borrows a lot from other Action-RPGs such as Diablo and Torchlight, but still brings enough to the table for anyone to get a kick out of it. Whether you’re a casual gamer looking to blow something up, a fan of the movies who just got into the universe, or an old-school comic nerd, there’s something in here for almost everyone to enjoy. Since the game is even free-to-play, the only real gateway for entry is an internet connection, as any hero can be purchased without premium currency by using Eternity Splinters. If you have the free time, are a fan of the Marvel Universe, or just want a  fun MMO to run around in, I’d highly recommend at least giving Marvel Heroes a quick look, you can sign-up HERE for free