It’s time to suit up in your flashiest pair of spandex and argue with your friends on why they are wrong for liking Deadpool more than Moon Knight all while taking out Taskmaster’s thugs at an abandoned construction site. That’s right Marvel Heroes Omega also known as Marvel Heroes and then as Marvel Heroes 2016 on the PC has finally made the jump to consoles in a closed beta and this PC-less console player couldn’t be happier!
For those who may not be familiar with Gazillion Entertainment’s creation, Marvel Heroes Omega is a F2P title that plays very similar to games such as Diablo 3 or Marvel Ultimate Alliance/X-Men Legends and all the other hack&slash/loot hunt style of games. If you have ever played X-Men Legends or Ultimate Alliance and are a big Marvel fan like me, you probably still remember the excitement of loading up that roster for the first time and seeing the likes of Jubilee, Ghost Rider, Emma Frost and Luke Cage all as playable characters. Gazillion Entertainment has managed to bring that same feeling back for me with the current list of playable heroes (more of which will be added after the closed beta) ranging from the likes of Nova (Richard Rider version) to Angela one of the original antagonists in the Spawn comics. She was created by Todd Macfarlane and Neil Gaiman and only came to the Marvel universe after Gaiman won her character rights in a legal battle and sold them to Marvel in 2013, talk about varied roster!
With such a varied and diverse cast of characters, it’s important to make them all feel unique in playstyles and abilities. All heroes learn new abilities and skills as they level up and strengthen their characters. Normally games that have originated on PC are a little rough when transitioning to console, especially when PC users can set up various hotkeys and hotbars to help keep ability rotations nice and smooth. Gazillion, however, has managed to smoothly transfer the hotbar system over to console by allowing players to map out 8 abilities to their face buttons across two hotbars. By simply holding the L2 or LT on your controller you will bring up your second hotbar of abilities allowing you to easily weave in various combos.
Getting this technique down will be pivotal to clearing out the rooms of enemies at higher levels as many of your powers have special interactions with each other, a fairly good example from while I was playing as Psylocke is her ability to make psychic clones of herself which distract enemies and copy your abilities. Using her Psionic vortex to pull the enemies together and debuffing them with “weakness” you can then follow up Psionic Assault which then “slows” the grouped enemies, Psi-Thrust to dash through all of them and get close, Psionic Projection to go into stealth and leave a clone, Psi-Thrust to dash through again (which your clone will copy doing damage as well) then follow up with a Psycho Blast (which will deal damage twice and stun for 3s thanks to the debuffs from earlier) which will be copied by your clone. By this time your clone has come off cooldown and you have enough time to drop a 2nd and finish up with her ability Falling Lotus which deals dmg and leaves a bleed dot on enemies (which is copied immediately by your two clones hitting them again twice) and this will all take place in under 5 seconds and it’s just glorious seeing all those damage numbers pop on screen.
What Marvel Heroes Omega nails in the gameplay department it falls a bit short on story, it’s hard to fault them too much for this as it is a F2P game and not some AAA juggernaut put out by a large studio so I didn’t go in expecting to be drawn in or intrigued and truthfully I think that’s the best way to head into it. There is nothing new here, it’s the same old story of stopping a small time super villain stuff only to find out that yup 2 of the 3 constant annoyances to the Marvel Heroes are messing with time (that’s how they explain the multiple other Black Widows in the shared hub areas&zones) and the infinity stones because power, you know the usual Marvel storyline when you need something quick.
My biggest complaint about the story, regardless of how cliché it is I don’t think I would have minded if the dialogue was either voiced or appeared in the text boxes a little larger than what it does. I found myself blazing through the text and not paying much attention to it. There are voiced cut scenes done in a still-shot comic panel style which lends itself nicely to the story and aesthetic of the game. It doesn’t ruin the game by any means but it certainly made me feel like I was just there to punch enemies and collect loot, which admittedly is true but it’s nice feeling as you’re working towards finishing a “campaign”. End game content comes in the form of running “ops” and “Danger Room Scenarios” which act as the game’s dungeons for your heroes. There is also a “Midtown Patrol” which you can join multiple other heroes in Midtown stopping randomly generated boss enemies and collecting loot to power up your character and make your way to the cosmic trials and level of difficulty to find even better loot and so on.
There have been a few things in the closed beta I haven’t even begun to wrap my head around yet as some things are very different from the PC version or completely changed so there still hasn’t been too much info out for the closed beta players in terms of how the crafting stations work in the bases. However at the time of writing this, I have found a write-up by a fellow PS4 player explaining the crafting which can be found on the official forums here. It just goes to show you that the saying is true, not all heroes wear capes (big thanks as a console player to PolarBearKing10 on the forums for taking the time to figure this out for other players)
Now as everyone knows F2P games need to make money somehow and often times the only way to do that is through various micro-transactions and Marvel Heroes Omega is no different. The “premium” currency in Marvel Heroes Omega is called G’s and must be purchased with real world cash, G’s are purchased from the PSN store in bundles starting at $6.99 CDN for a bundle of 500 all the way up to $133.49 CDN for a bundle of 11500 G’s. Thankfully there are only two types of items which can only be obtained with the premium currency neither of which are needed to play the game. First the one that will provide the most and only utility is extra storage space, you can only carry 60 items on your hero at once (this includes crafting materials) but have a storage chest located in all of your bases where you can dump excess crafting materials or artifacts for heroes you haven’t unlocked yet, with the game still being in closed beta, however, I can’t really say how much storage you will require when the full game comes out as that will truthfully depend on your own packrat tendencies in games like this.
Second premium currency only item on the list is *drum roll* SKINS! That’s right, as, with most F2P games that aren’t shovelware, the majority of their income will come from the purchasing of skins for your characters. Skins vary in appearance from a character’s classic appearance such as Jean Grey’s yellow&blue suit from the 90’s or Kitty Pryde’s Age of Apocalypse outfit from the comics to the more expensive “enhanced” skins which while not providing any bonuses to change either the characters model or ability effects such as the enhanced Jane Foster skin for Thor or Wiccan skin for Scarlett Witch. I’ve heard that skin drops are a thing on PC but it is VERY rare, like play for three years and not see a skin drop rare, so if you’re a really big Wolverine fan and absolutely have to play with him in his Old Man Logan skin you’re going to have to put up the money.If you put in over 1000 hrs into the game as some have, a one-time drop of $15 isn’t too bad considering some people only get 15 hours out of a $79 AAA title. The beauty of this game is that you can decide if and when you want to spend money on it though, it’s your choice and you aren’t strong-armed into feeling like you need to in order to keep your character strong.
Marvel Heroes Omega is currently in closed beta and is only accessible to those who have purchased a founders pack on the PSN store ranging from the special PS+ War Machine pack at $16, Deadpool or Spider-Man pack at $26.99, GOTG pack for $53.49 (Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon + movie skins), the Avengers pack (Thor, Black Widow, Cap, Iron-Man and Hulk) or the X-men pack (Storm, Beast, Psylocke, Wolverine and Jean Grey) both priced at $79.99.
Purchasing any one of the above packs will get you instant access into the closed beta (which is ending on May 18th, so I’d suggest saving your money) as well as unlock all the characters associated with said pack for full use in the game, as mentioned while all characters are free to use they will stop leveling up at level 10 unless fully unlocked with Eternity Splinters. Eternity Splinters are the in-game currency used to unlock heroes. Standard enemies drop Eternity Splinters upon defeat and I’ve found that on average I was seeing Eternity Splinters drop every 4-5 minutes. Hero unlocks start at the low cost of 200 Eternity Splinters for characters such as Nova, Squirrel Girl or Angela, the price increases to 400 for characters like Gambit, Psylocke, She-Hulk and finally the most expensive (currently on PS4) are the heroes at 600 splinters like Jean Grey, Rocket Raccoon etc.
Once the tutorial has been finished you are given 400 Eternity Splinters to get your first hero. Over the course of my time in the closed beta I have managed to unlock War Machine (the founders pack I purchased) Psylocke (400 splinters from tutorial) Nova (200 splinters) and Angela (200 splinters) I was able to obtain and unlock two full characters by just playing through the story and leveling Psylocke to 60. So for those of you who might be worried, fear not, unlocking all of the characters will take some time, yes but it is absolutely do-able without spending a single dime, as long as you take those new characters through the campaign too, you should have no issue getting Eternity Splinters for hero unlocks.
With all of that said, I’ve got to say I have really been enjoying my time with Marvel Heroes Omega. It’s not a perfect game by any means but it fills my love of Marvel characters and Diablo-esque loot hunting all for the low low cost of free.99 (if you’re patient and wait for the open beta) and with the addition of couch-coop it’s the perfect way to get your marvel-loving partner into a nice weekend of gaming.
Tl;DR – Alright here’s the nitty-gritty for those who don’t want the full spiel (The last two in “The Good” category are totally subjective) do keep in mind that the game is still currently in closed beta and any issues may be addressed come the full release. We will also be slowly getting the other heroes on PC as the game comes out. Any current mechanics or pricing listed in this review may change by the time the full release comes out