A free-to-play multiplayer action RPG that’ll work on most modern PCs after an arduous installation process, Marvel Heroes is a rather dull yet still somehow compelling title that offers pretty amazing value if you’re willing to circumnavigate all the things it wants you to pay crazy money for.
Marvel Heroes lets you choose one main character for free then pay for the rest (there are also a few rare opportunities in-game to pick up others).
So, if you want to play as Spider-Man, that’ll cost you a baffling £20 of real money – if you’re happy playing as the likes of Daredevil or Hawkeye from the start, though, which we certainly were, you can play through the entire story for free.
Not bad at all, then – in this case it’s all about the quality of the time invested, and it’s here that Marvel Heroes falls apart. The combat essentially comes down to mashing your mouse buttons and keyboard keys again and again until leagues of identical enemies stop spawning.
Meanwhile, each level has bundles of other players running around and fighting similar conflicts in your vicinity, the idea being to create an Avengers Assemble-style feeling of costumed camaraderie; instead, it usually descends into a messy melee where two Hawkeyes and three Storms join the fray in a visually unexciting, immersion-squandering way that even comic-book fans will shrug at.
Ironically, it’s a lot more fun when everyone else pisses off and you can just get on with the levels yourself. Marvel Heroes is problematic, then, in that the reason behind its online-only features do not really work in any way that actually enhances the game the developers have created.
Customising your character is genuinely fun, especially if you feel an affinity with your chosen Marvel icon, and the prevalence of voice-acting is a nice bonus considering the non-existent price tag.
Yet the choice of what games you play should be about time spent as much as it’s about money, and the thin combat in Marvel Heroes fails to justify any long-term investment, even if the amount of free content is undoubtedly generous.