I don't attempt to hide my appetite for various vices on this blog. I don't shy away from fucking up various organs if it means I can get a good buzz and maybe get laid. But I know my limits. I know there is only so much shit the body and brain can take. That's why I have avoided getting hooked on a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO as they're called. I've heard many a horror stories about people treating MMOs like crack to the point where they would gladly blow their own grandfather to help them level up their character in World of Warcraft. While crack is nice and all, I haven't completely shied away from the world of MMOs. I have just been waiting for that one awesome game to come along that will make me put down my bong, drop my boner, and plant my ass in front of my computer to the point where moss starts forming in my ass crack. And with the recent release of Marvel Heroes, I think I've found that game.
For years now, Marvel has been developing an MMO with Gazillion Entertainment. They already got the ball rolling with the Super Hero Squad MMO, a game that is mostly for kids and won't excite Marvel fans that aren't still wearing diapers. Marvel Heroes promised to create a massive Marvel universe where fans could actually play as their favorite characters, explore a wide range of worlds, and generally become one with their own Marvel universe. It's as close as any fans will come to actually having sex with Stan Lee's genius and without spoiling too much, this game fucking delivers and here's why.
First and foremost, the setup is pretty simple. You don't get to customize your characters like World of Warcraft. You just get to select from one of 22 major Marvel characters. But you only start out with 5. You can unlock others as you play through the game or you can just bite the bullet and buy them, which is brilliant on the part of Marvel's part while frustrating on the part of the player. But whatever character you choose, the gameplay is fairly similar.
Like most MMOs, you start out with a few basic abilities and a simple power. From there, you beat the shit out of waves of enemies that include AIM agents, Hydra agents, Kingpin thugs, ninjas, and killer robots to help you level up. The skill system isn't as complex as a Final Fantasy game, but it does allow players to customize their character to a unique style. You can be the Baltimore Ravens and have a defensive character or be the New England Patriots and play offense. The game works so that both methods will help you win a Superbowl and every character has their own way of contributing. There are certain limits to leveling up at the moment, but I'm sure Marvel knows that once fans treat their characters like extra limbs they'll be able to shell out more cash for expansion packs.
If you can click a mouse, you can use your character's power. Right click does one move. Left click does another. And as you gain more moves, you can add them to your keyboard to mix things up. There's no complex motions or button combinations. This isn't Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. If you can push buttons, you can play this game. It may be overly general for some, but the strategy and the diversity of moves allow players to use as much or as little brainpower as necessary.
|Mastering Storms's power with a mouse is even better than you think it is.|
And once you get this basic system down, you're off and running through a wide array of environments. Want to visit the Rock? Or the Avengers Tower? Or the Savage Land? Dr. Doom's backyard? Or even the Jersey docks? Those are all locales in this game, taken right from the pages of the Marvel universe. These worlds are big and there's a lot of shit in them that blows up. So you can just run around and go nuts or you can actually play through the story. Either way, it has a lot to offer and nobody has an excuse for being underwhelmed.
In terms of story, you're not going to find any high-res cut-scenes like Injustice Gods Among Us or any elaborately rendered teasers like the opening for a World of Warcraft expansion. In fact, the entire story plays out mostly as a motion comic, which is pretty damn cheap on the surface. However, it does still convey a detailed story, which was penned by Brian Michael Bendis, who has a solid reputation of giving Marvel comics fans plenty to jerk off to.
The story itself focuses on Dr. Doom, who is the one that kick started the events that triggered this game. He's got a raging hard-on for the Cosmic Cube, which anyone who saw the Avengers movie (ie everyone) knows can tear the universe several assholes when in the wrong hands. And there are few hands more wrong than Dr. Doom.
|Giant Robots. The envy of every tyrant.|
Over the course of the story, he interacts with numerous other villains like Hydra, AIM, and the Purifiers. They all get roped into a battle that spans those many Marvel locales I mentioned. So it isn't just a case of Marvel creating these worlds and throwing the characters into it. They actually do factor into the story, albeit on a very basic level. But that basic kind of storytelling is part of what makes the game so accessible. You don't need to be a hardcore Marvel fan to understand it. You just need to know that Dr. Doom is an asshole him having the Cosmic Cube is like North Korea having an unlimited supply of weapons grade plutonium.
But still, some fans may be disappointed by the basic story and its linear nature. This isn't the kind of game where fans can sort of craft their own story like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or Dragon Age. There really isn't anything you can do to change how it turns out. That may be disappointing to some, but it still gets the job done in terms of making this feel like a real Marvel universe.
And since gamers are like stoners in that they can't get enough pretty pictures, I'll say that the graphics of Marvel Heroes are average to somewhat above average. Make no mistake, this game will not blow anyone away with deep rendered characters where you can count the number of hair follicles on Wolverine's beard or see the split ends of Thor's golden locks. But it will still create visually appealing worlds with plenty of detail. It also helps that you can blow up a lot of the shit in those worlds, as I mentioned earlier.
Also, if you want to play this game, make sure you got a decent graphics card. I had to update the drivers on mine because there were times when animations would get choppy and the sound wouldn't line up with the actions. It was like the lip motions of an old Jackie Chan movie that was badly dubbed in English at times. However, those times were fairly rare. The animations themselves were fluid for the most part. You could also zoom in and see more of the intimate details of the characters, but not to the point where you can look down Black Widow or Miss Marvel's dress I'm afraid.
|It's still hot enough for most fans.|
Now maybe it's because my computer isn't built as one of these custom gaming computers. I've seen some MMO fans treat their computers the same way NASCAR drivers treat their cars. I don't know why my computer needs a fucking racing stripe or more lights than a Christmas tree, but I don't see how it would help make any of the graphics in Marvel Heroes much better. It's not a game where detailed graphics are the focus. It's a game where you get to play as your favorite character and kick ass with a wide range of powers.
That said, the motion comics that play out the story still come off as a cheap cost-cutting measure that Marvel and Gazillion agreed on. There aren't any cut scenes that are nicely rendered where you can get that extra level of detail that you can't get from the comics. Since there are a number of MMOs that put some serious gold into giving needy gamers something pretty to look at, Marvel Heroes feels like it's behind the curve. But like I said, that doesn't take away from the gameplay or the enjoyment factor.
Perhaps there's another reason why the gameplay is basic and the graphics are not over-the-top. Marvel Heroes is a free to play MMO. Yes, you heard right. Marvel Heroes is FREE. Somewhere out there Mitt Romeny is shitting himself. For a game that's free to play, you get a ton of shit to enjoy with Marvel Heroes. You don't have to buy the extra costumes or characters. You can, if you're patient, get all this shit by playing through the game. Years of weed has killed my attention span, but that may not be the same for others so they may not give as many fucks about the shortcomings. Like free pizza you find in a dumpster, you get what you pay for.
If you're a Marvel fan of any level, you'll find something to enjoy about this game. Whether you've only seen the movies or have collected every comic and worship Stan Lee as the second coming of Christ, you'll find a lot to enjoy about this game. Even if you generally don't give a shit about computer games, you'll be able to play this one and enjoy it to the point where you'll gladly waste hours of life and productivity in this immerse Marvel universe.
|Where else can you play as Squirrel Girl and Not Get Criticized?|