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Checking in with Marvel Heroes 2016

MarvelHeroes2016_KeyArtI’ve been spending time this month catching up with Marvel Heroes (now Marvel Heroes 2016) ever since its last major update, which brought with it controller support, visual overhauls to some characters, and reworked powers for characters like Deadpool. Developer Gazillion intends to roll out more and more updates this year, with various characters being reviewed and retooled, a fairly massive undertaking considering the size of the overall roster now.

I originally reviewed and played Marvel Heroes shortly after it came out of beta, which was back in 2013. I enjoyed it enough, but it didn’t feel quite like a complete experience. Much like another popular action-RPG, Diablo III, it’s taken a couple of years to really get rolling, with a number of additions and changes. I’m pretty amazed at how much Marvel Heroes has managed to improve compared to my last outing with the game, and I could easily see myself devoting hundreds of hours to this game going forward. As much as I still enjoy and play Diablo III, Marvel Heroes 2016 might actually take over my action-RPG hours going forward.

Gazillion was kind enough to give me a press account so I could check out the new features, characters, and so on that have been introduced to the game. What this means is that I’ve got all of the available roster and team-up characters at my disposal, along with some in-game currency to spend on costumes, fortune cards and a few other items. This has helped immensely, and is worth disclosing. That said, even if you’re coming at the game anew from a free-to-play angle, you won’t run out of things to do any time soon. The only real restriction comes from how many characters you’ll have at your disposal, but the currency necessary to get new characters (Eternity Shards) drops frequently enough that you’ll likely be able to buy a second character without spending a dime by the time you hit the max level of 60 on your first.

Also worth noting is that you’ll have a larger selection of starting characters to choose from when you first create an account. If I remember right, the selection was much smaller at launch, but now you can choose between pretty much every single character, except the newest, for your first ten levels. If you clear that prologue chapter and find out you’re not quite feeling Deadpool? Feel free to switch to Squirrel Girl, or any of the other 50+ heroes present. While 10 levels might not be enough to get a real solid feel for any single character, especially considering the number of abilities under each skill tree, it’s still a lot more freedom than the game originally offered.

And hey, those characters tend to look a lot better too! This visual update hasn’t rolled out for the entire roster just yet, but for the characters that have been improved, it makes quite a difference. Looking at Jean Grey or Captain America now compared to the original release, there’s a lot more detail on display, and faces look incredibly better here. It’s a much needed boost to the game, and ideally will look even better as more characters get this treatment.

The other big update coming from this 2016 patch is controller support, which paves the wave for console releases in the works. Upon plugging in a controller (I went with a 360 gamepad here) you’ll get the option to customize your toolbar in order to match up with face buttons. Right and left triggers act as optional slots for abilities, so you can easily switch between powers and have access to the same number that you’d get from a keyboard and mouse combo. Movement is tied to the analog stick, and the in-game menu when using a controller becomes radial, making it easy to navigate. I’m so used to playing the game via keyboard and mouse that I honestly have a tough time switching to a controller, but it’s good that the support is there and that it works. For consoles I think it’ll play out fine, but I’ll likely stick to keyboard and mouse on PC.

There’s plenty more that’s been added to the game since I originally spent time with it, things that aren’t necessarily exclusive to this patch. My next hope is to delve into raids, which I haven’t sampled yet as I’m trying to get geared up properly to check one out. My current focus is on building up synergies, done by leveling additional characters to 60, at which point I’ll likely have to settle on a main character to use. I’ve bounced between Captain America, Cable, Ant-Man, and Cyclops, all of which provide pretty unique powers and play styles. I’m certainly looking forward to delving into the roster more, and I’ll be sure to post another update when I’ve had time to experience more that Marvel Heroes 2016 has to offer.