Marvel Heroes went public recently as a free-to-play title on PC. Developed by Gazillion, the dungeon-looting style MMORPG features 21 different Marvel Heroes at launch, with the ability to buy alternate costumes. All the Avengers are able to be purchased, along with Wolverine, Cyclops, Deadpool, Storm, Daredevil, and others. Six characters are available at the start as each one will either featured range or melee attacks. Tokens can be granted throughout the game to unlock other characters as everyone is technically playable.
Marvel Heroes plays much like Diablo or Baldur's Gate. Lacking the depth of those titles, this game still has a lot to offer. You will mouse click your way around areas related to the Marvel Universe. The hub of all activities is Avengers Tower. Players can purchase weapons and craft costumes, gear, and other materials with atoms picked up throughout the game. Players earn experience by killing opponents and collecting bonus orbs. Each character has a skill tree that's broken down into three section. Leveling up earns power points to add to each trait or skill. Skills can be mapped to either mouse button.
The story involves the Cube from the Avengers movie that keeps getting into the wrong hands. Awesome animated comics help narrate the story with some pretty good voice acting. You'll hear random quotes from characters while you play, especially if those with a more popular relationship cross paths. Marvel Heroes contains 9 chapters with side missions included.
Enemies in the game are pretty generic early on. Street thugs, scientists and mafioso's hail early as the enemies with ninjas from The Hand coming later. Boss battles can be a bit of a mess as everyone on that specific map at that time will try and take down whatever boss it is. The more people, the longer it takes to take the boss down. Get involved and wait around long enough, a hefty experience bonus will come your way.
Graphically, Marvel Heroes runs on the Unreal Engine. It's definitely not taxing, but it looks good and runs smooth. The frames will drop if a lot is going on and you have other people's effects turned up. If a car is blown up or used, it pops up a new one instantaneously. The camera will sometimes cause clipping with the inside of buildings. However, I've seen worse looking games running on this engine that actually cost money. Kudos really goes to the animated comic cut scenes.
As for the sound, the voice acting is really well, even though some of the voice actors don't seem fitting. The orchestrated sound track is good enough as the music will change when a boss battle is close to happening. Sound effects are another plus as well as explosions and magic sounds good. During some of the cut scenes, the sound what cut in and out.
With 21 characters that can either be bought or unlocked, Marvel Heroes offers a game that's worth paying for, but is actually free. It's not flashy, but it's time consuming and offers replay value. It might get a bit redundant at times, but switching characters on the fly can help with that. This is a better game than the Ultimate Alliance games were, and this is free.
GRAPHICS: 7 - Marvel Heroes is colorful and runs smooth with solid looking player models. The motion comics aren't part of the gameplay, but they look great.
SOUND: 8 - Really good voice acting at times does not seem fitting to some characters. Explosions and magical effects are solid and the soundtrack works for the most part.
GAMEPLAY: 7 - The typical dungeon crawler gameplay. Hold mouse button on enemy and attack until dead. Loot anything they drop, and keep doing it until your character levels up. Unlock more traits and skills.
ONLINE: 7 - Moments of lag will pop up when a lot of people are on the server. Things can get real ugly during boss fights, as well. Otherwise, there were no issues and runs consistent enough online not to ruin the experience.
REPLAY: 7 - It really comes down to the number of characters to play with. If you're a Marvel fan, and want to play an MMORPG as multiple characters, you'll keep coming back to level up. The story doesn't change, but it has 9 chapters plus side missions. As of now, nothing is being added for missions, and there's no dynamic missions.
OVERALL: 7 - When it comes to free-to-play titles, I don't think anyone has a right to complain. Marvel Heroes is no DC Universe, but it's more than some card-based Facebook game that actually as depth to it. While DCUO feels more like a WOW, Marvel Heroes is geared towards the traditional RPG players. It a fun and fully functional game where most people can play as their favorite heroes. Characters can be purchased, or rare tokens can drop for them over time. Either way, I feel it's still better than the Ultimate Alliance titles.