The
super hero genre is finally stepping out of the shadows of fantasy
and sci-fi to become a staple of the massively multiplayer scene much
like it has in Hollywood over the past decade. Now that a handful of
the Marvel characters whose adventures I spent an obsessive amount of
time collecting and reading in the 80s have finally begun to break the
mainstream barrier thanks to the likes of the insanely successful
Spiderman, X-Men and Ironman films, these same beloved characters are
familiar enough with most of the western world that creating an MMOG
experience based on them seems like a no brainer.

As I made my way to the
Gazillion Entertainment meeting rooms at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010">E3
2010, little did I know that one
of the biggest surprises of the show
awaited in the form of a little game called href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2530">Marvel
Super
Hero Squad Online
.
Don’t let the kind-friendly nature of this game fool you
– it’s easily one of the most fun gameplay
experiences I had at the show, which left me wanting more by the time
our hands-on time had come to a close. Between the superb graphics,
simple control scheme and clever combat system, this is one title
that’s sure to bring out the super hero obsessed kid in all
of us, regardless of age.

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style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/85835"> src="/image/view/85835/preview"
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Developed by the Amazing
Society, Super Hero Squad
Online
will allow
players to collect and play as their favorite Marvel characters. While
the game is based on the animated series of the same name and bears
more than a few graphical styling elements in terms of the look and
feel of the various heroes and villains, thanks to some incredibly
crisp graphics, intuitive controls and socialization tools SHSO players
won’t really need to be fans of the show to enjoy the overall
gameplay experience.

The Game World and
Socialization

Gameplay is neatly broken up
into large social zones and combat zones.
One thing I really liked in the larger city zone is that there are
plenty of exploration elements and minigames waiting to be discovered,
making this more than just a lobby where you wait around to find a
group. For example, clicking on any of the doors might lead you to the
roof of the building where another door might actually lead you to a
“secret area” of some sort. Travel within the city
is also a breeze thanks to flight markers scattered throughout the
zone. A simple mouse click will send you flying towards another marker
allowing for hands-free flight. Thanks to the use of depth of field,
traveling along these flight paths still looks and feels epic even if
you’re not in direct control of your chosen hero.

Speaking of the heroes, rather
than creating a generic hero that gets
to play alongside the likes of the Hulk, the X-Men or the Fantastic
Four, you’ll actually be able to collect and play as each of
them. They will all have a unique combat style with both normal and
powered attacks based on their character’s standard
abilities.

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As you travel around the city,
you’ll have the chance to
participate in a number of shorter mini-games as well as socialize with
other players. On the socialization front, Super
Hero Squad Online
aims
to make emotes a more prominent aspect of gameplay, essentially
allowing you to use them to communicate with other players with a
single key press. One emote that was particularly awesome was the Thing
creating a snow angel… in concrete. Each hero you collect
has a pile of different emotes that they can perform, and thanks to the
simplicity of combat and movement these can all be triggered by a
single, simple key press on the keyboard.

Mission Combat

Combat in Super
Hero Squad Online
is
deceptively simple, but is still
an incredibly rewarding experience. In fact, it reminded me of
2009’s kickass
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2036">Torchlight
or similar dungeon crawlers.
This is due to the fact that movement, combat and even interaction with
the world can all be accomplished with the mouse rather than being
mapped to the keyboard. So while the gameplay and camera may deviate
from being a true dungeon crawler experience, the way you interact with
it will feel right at home for those of you who enjoy that style of
gameplay.

To move you simply left click
and drag your mouse and your character
will follow. Combat is then just as easy to navigate, with left clicks
used for basic attack combos and right clicks unleashing bigger
attacks. During our hands-on time with the game, Ben and I also got to
experience group play in one of the combat zones which ended up being
incredibly fun as we dodged giant claws dropping down from above as we
battled our way to Dr. Octopus for a final confrontation.

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border="0">
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Overall Impressions

Super
Hero Squad Online
is one of
those few titles at E3 where I walked
in unsure of what to expect, but by the time I left I knew that
I’d be looking forward to playing more. The Amazing Society
isn’t quite ready to release info on pricing, though given
the collectible nature of new heroes to place in your squad I
wouldn’t be all too surprised to see SHSO as a free-to-play
title with players able to purchase additional, rare heroes to round
out their collections.

As things stand currently
though, I’m much less concerned
with pricing models and more excited to see the title launch. While it
may not be a “hardcore” or even
“core” MMOG experience, Super
Hero Squad Online

delivers plenty in the fun department to be worth a closer look.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Super Hero Squad Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.

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