It’s a frantic battle, with the game stressing under the sheer amount of attacks being exchanged. In amongst the mess Bullseye, one of the games many antagonists, gives as good as he takes despite the fact his health bar is plunging faster than the value of sterling. The lunacy only increases, as more and more players join the fray and soon it’s almost impossible to see where the enemies let alone where you are. The battles end is signalled by an explosion of items, orbs and gold and soon the view clears up revealing the aftermath of the fight, nothing more than a mass of comic book superheroes. The whole thing is just outright bonkers, but so so fun. This is Marvel Heroes Omega, an online action-RPG set in the Marvel universe that lets you play as your favourite super heroes and battle alongside other players for glory and of course, loot.
Developer Gazillion first released the game on the PC back in June 2013 to rather mixed reception. But since then the game has been steadily refactored and refined based on feedback and 4 years later has now made it’s way to consoles under the ‘Omega’ sub brand. The game has been in both closed and open betas on the PS4 since earlier this year, during which feedback has been gathered and the game tuned. Some of the heroes have been re-balanced, bugs fixed and some more subtle changes made to improve the user experience.
The games main story, penned by Marvel stalwart Brian Michael Bendis, is focused around stopping Doctor Victor Von Doom who is now now in possession of ‘The Cosmic Cube’, an artifact of untold power. This sets the scene for a story that sees you the player and your chosen hero battle through a vast number of Marvel villains across many well known locations to try and stop Doom and save the day.
After a short tutorial, which introduces you the games basic mechanics and controls you’ll need to choose a hero from a selection of roughly 40. Each hero starts with 3 basic moves, but quickly you’ll unlock the full set from which you’ll need to pick 8 to equip. Beyond this, further perks and ultimate abilities become available as you hit the higher levels. The pacing I found quite clever, as the complexity of the RPG elements is steadily made available as you progress up the levels. Each builds upon the previous, so initially you’ll unlock your heroes moves and abilities and then later once you’ve settled on a set that suits your play style you’ll be granted access to a perks tree that will allow you to focus on those abilities. I found it particularly nice to have each RPG element steadily unwrap layer by layer rather than having to muddle through it all at once, but for other more seasoned players this might prove a slight annoyance although it won’t take you very long at all to hit level 32 where the majority of things become available.
Beyond the story, the game offers up other game modes designed to help you level up or get better loot. Patrols are straight forward public arenas littered with plenty of cannon fodder and bosses which allow you to quickly level up characters, try out new heroes or test new moves and abilities. They are frantically fun, and almost certainly where you’ll spend a large amount of time as you are getting started with the game.
For those seeking out better loot, there is the ‘Operations’ and ‘Trials’ modes which see you either replaying previous story chapters with greatly enhanced enemies or battling through waves of enemies and bosses. Finally there is a ‘Danger Scenario’ mode, which are similar to the ‘Operations’ and ‘Trails’ modes with the difference being that you can craft these yourself, selecting an appropriate difficulty and theme seasoned with some of the games crafting items to create a more tailored experience.
As I stressed in the preview, this is very much a case of the Free to Play model done well. Apart from a couple of heroes, each is available freely to play up to a level cap of 10 which allows you ample time to try a hero before you buy. Alongside this, the game credits you with enough of the in game currency ‘Eternity Shards’ to purchase one of what they call the ‘Classic Heroes’, which includes the more mainstream characters such as The Hulk, … and … . Eternity Shards can be ground out during gameplay, and as such it is possible to unlock all the characters without ever needing to open your wallet. However an alternative currency, G’s, can be purchased and used to unlock heroes, booster packs and new costumes for characters for a reasonable price. Overall it’s very fair, and the disappointment of purchasing a character only to realise they don’t suit your play style is easily avoided by giving them a thorough road test first.
In summary, the game plays very well. There is still some work to do, with both the Xbox and PlayStation versions suffering during the more intense moments. But that aside, the cinematic sequences look fantastic and the gameplay although simple is, most importantly, fun. The game is best played with others, with not enough beyond the games main story to really draw you back alone. With others however there is a vast amount of content to play/replay through to better your heroes and provide a sterner challenge. Considering the entire experience is free, what you get represents fantastic value for money and if you are a fan of other similar games like the Diablo series, then you have nothing to loose by giving this a try.
Marvel Heroes: Omega was provided to us by Gazillion on PS4 and via F2P on Xbox.