Posted Fri, Jun 28, 2013 by Dalmarus
Last week, I posted a Marvel Heroes review. While it's not the greatest game on the planet, it's not the worst by any means either. To its credit, it’s also extremely kid friendly. As promised, I finally got a chance to check out some of the endgame content this week and I'm here to deliver the goods on what I found.
As a side note, since I hadn't gotten to the very end of the main storyline last week, let me add this little bit in regards to the storyline gameplay. The developers at Gazillion have broken one of my personal cardinal rules when it comes to any video game, no matter what type it is: do not let me play the entire game in one manner without difficulty and then block me at the very end of the game by making me play in some other manner. Nothing drives me crazier than making my way through an entire game just to get road blocked at the very end. It isn't fun, it isn't cool, and it's incredibly frustrating.
The final battle with Doctor Doom should be done with a group (though there is no indication of this in the game). The fight has three phases and, while the first two are long and a bit tough to solo, they can be done without an extreme amount of effort. At level 28, I found it impossible to get past the last phase (and I spent hours trying). Finally, with a bunch of bothering people and begging, I eventually managed to gather a group together and we handled the fight with little trouble. Done with a group, the fight is not frustrating, and is actually pretty cool.
Here's my problem with that though. I was able to solo my way through everything else in the game up until that point, and I do mean everything. If you allow a player to solo his way through the entirety of your main storyline, DON'T CHANGE THE RULES FOR THE LAST BATTLE. Ever. Okay, final battle rant over. On to the endgame!
When you defeat Doctor Doom, the Cosmic Cube he had in his possession shatters into thousands of pieces. Each of these cube shards has the power to cause major trouble and is creating an increasing number of pocket universes. Left untouched, these alternate realities will destroy ours. That's where you come in. It's your job to go into each of these dimensions (accessed through the daily missions - the green and red terminals) and clean them up. The problem with this is that they're all places you've already played through. Problem number two is that by the time you finally get through the main storyline, you're high enough in level that there's no need to do anything more than stand and shoot for the most part.
That alone would make the gameplay in each of these areas boring enough, but the fact that they also take place in the exact same places you've already gone through is disheartening, even if well explained by the destruction of the cube. If you've only played through the storyline once, this may not be a complete deal breaker for you. Since all superheroes start out at level one though (even if you obtain a new one when you’re level 25), then anyone that has taken the time to level more than one character will have gone through each of these areas even more times. The combination of all these factors means that for me, the daily mission section of the endgame isn't worth playing.
There are two more categories of gameplay that may satisfy your needs. Using the purple terminal, you can access group challenges or survival challenges. If you choose a group mission, you'd better have a group ready to go. Otherwise, you're going to find yourself in an area with an incredible number of mobs to fight your way through by your very lonesome. It's not something I would recommend. While there aren't many of these maps, the fact that you can play them with a group and just destroy everything in your path instantly makes them a little more entertaining than the daily missions.
The other type of mission you can access through the purple terminal is called Survival. Once you've unlocked it (you need to complete the first group mission at least once to get access to the first survival map), you will randomly be paired with 10-15 other superheroes and pitted against wave after wave of various foes. I'd love to tell you all how this played out, but there's one problem... getting a group to complete the previously mentioned group challenge required to unlock this gameplay mode was a fruitless lesson in frustration.
If there were a group finding tool, or if the chat window wasn't defaulted to being closed, maybe this wouldn't be much of an issue. After repeatedly asking random players around me to join a group though, I eventually gave up. This is too bad, because I’ve heard the Survival Challenges are actually a lot of fun. Let this be yet another lesson to development teams - quit putting roadblocks in your game content unless you have a clear system in place to assist those players trying to progress.
If PvE isn't your bag, there is one last nugget of interest for the Marvel Heroes endgame crowd - PvP. It's currently in a beta stage, so don't expect much. Oh wait, there is one thing you can expect... to get ganked by a level 44 enemy when you're level 28. Seriously, the fact that there's no level separation in the PvP maps or teams is just ridiculous. So until you get high enough to start doing the ganking, I'd say avoid the PvP at all costs. That said, it is in a beta stage, so there’s no telling what kinds of changes we’re likely to see in the future.
So at the end of the day, has my previous verdict (score) for Marvel Heroes changed in light of all this? No. I stand by the score I gave and the reasons I gave it, all with the caveat of not having played the endgame. For myself, I think I'd have more fun bringing another hero up through the storyline than I would playing any of the endgame content in Marvel Heroes. Your mileage may vary, and for your sake, I hope it does. The main game is relatively solid and definitely worth checking out. Just don't expect a bed of roses to lie in once you defeat Doctor Doom.