Not quite heroic, but still a good time for Marvel fans.
Imagine for a moment that you're Spider-Man. You wake up, have your coffee, and look out the window. What you see before you is utter, inexplicable chaos. If you're a modern comics reader, you probably recognize this as an early moment from Age of Ultron. If you're a gamer, this is a perfect analogy for the experience you'll find in Marvel Heroes.
Created by Gazillion Entertainment (a company currently headed up by Diablo creator David Brevik), Marvel Heroes promised to channel Brevik's hack'n'slash RPG formula into a free-to-play superhero MMO. It's like they put Diablo and the Fantastic Four into a blender just to see what would happen, and then poured the contents into a F2PMMO mold.
The end result is everything you were hoping for, and yet nothing to get excited about.
The core of the gameplay is solid, even though it's nothing more than what you'd expect from a Marvel-themedDiablo-a-like. You'll left click to move, right click to attack, and map all of your fancy superpowers to different keys, making it easy to bust them out in the heat of battle.
Different characters feel unique, and unlocking new powers for each character feels like unwrapping a new present on Christmas morning. In terms of fan service, Marvel Heroes knows exactly which buttons to push. Sure the game has plenty of A-listers to choose from, but why pick Iron Man or Wolverine when you could just as easily go with Cable or Rocket Racoon? Alternate costumes also managed to make my inner comics nerd squeal with delight, allowing me to purchase a Joe Fixit costume for the Hulk, or the current rebel leader version of Cyclops.
"Purchase" is the key word here – asides from a few early characters, you'll find yourself in need of cold hard cash if you want to expand your roster. But since the game is free to begin with (and can be enjoyed to its fullest without spending a dime), it's not hard to see why such costs have been built into the game.
What's hard to understand, though, is why switching between the characters you buy has to be such a burden. Each character comes with their own levels, XP, etc – so if you're a level 15 Thor and you just bought a level 1 Deadpool, he's not going to be much good to you at this point in your quest. You can go back to the beginning with your new character, but it would have been much nicer if there was a single XP pool that was shared between a player's characters.