Updated Fri, Jun 21, 2013 by Dalmarus
Unless you've either sped your way through some storyline and are hunting in places a little too high for your level, or are grouping together to take down an event boss in the open world, there's not a lot of reason to group together with other players until you start playing endgame content. You can easily solo your way through the entire game if you like. That being said, you will have other heroes running around kicking enemy asses alongside you for the majority of your playing time.Loot drops independently for you, so there's no need to worry about someone stealing your kills or about you interfering in their fights. As you progress further in the game, it's possible to fight through everything on your own with some judicial use of movement and skill, but you're going to be glad to have some help when you're in the thick of it and late in the game, trust me... things will be plenty thick!
While there's no overwhelming need to group up, it certainly doesn't hurt. The enemies will come faster, and in larger numbers, but there's something especially satisfying about having a number of heroes at your side beating the holy living hell out of everything that moves.
What can I say? It's a free-to-play game. Outside of your household's everyday internet fees, there is absolutely no cost to download the game or to play it. For that reason alone, any person who has a remote interesting in the Marvel universe or is a fan of Diablo-esque gameplay needs to play this game. It's a great stress reliever at the end of a busy day. It doesn't require tons of intense thought and the sheer amount of destruction and mayhem you can unleash (especially as you begin gaining more powerful skills) can be downright therapeutic.
If you choose to, there are items in the store you can buy -- new heroes, new costumes, potions, experience boosters, etc. Minus a few items, such as mini-pets and some special costumes that are exclusive to Fortune Cards (Marvel Heroes version of lockboxes), there is no reason you have to pay a single penny to enjoy the game. For these reasons alone, the value for Marvel Heroes is extraordinary if you have enough patience and a bit of luck.
If you want to skip the wait and the fickleness of the Fates, then you can spend some real-life cash to buy Gazillion Points and use those to purchase new heroes, costumes, and a wide array of other items from the in-game store. As with all things, the bang you get for your buck all depends on how you want to spend your money. Every game needs to make money, so I'm the type of person who doesn't fault an in-game store. If you want to acquire cool things quickly and are willing to spend some cash, go for it. If not, ignoring the cash shop completely shouldn’t affect your ability to enjoy the game in any way.
This is where things with Marvel Heroes can get a little tricky. Keep in mind that this review is not covering any aspect of endgame content (that article will be coming next week). That being said, it all depends on how many times you want to play through the game's storyline with a new hero, assuming you've got a new one to play. I can see playing through once or twice after having completed the main storyline, but needing to play through the game any more times than that in order to level up a hero you may have just gotten may prove too much. Perhaps new maps, alternate leveling areas, or even an "instant max level" potion after you've played through the game a few times would make the endeavor worthwhile. As it stands though, I can't see myself playing through more than a few times.
I recently spoke with Gazillion Community Manager, Stephen Reid, and there are a number of things in the works to improve the game play experience when using multiple heroes. While those plans can’t affect our current score, I think they’re important enough to mention – automatic story tracking per individual hero, a method of leveling characters outside of playing through the full game again once the main storyline has already been completed, and some other items of interest we can’t talk about yet.
At the end of the day, every review score for any topic or section revolves around answering the following question I always ask myself: "How much fun am I having?” I know some reviewers try to guess what the public wants. Others feel a need to be technical and nitpicky in their reviews. I've never been that way and never will be. So if I've had fun with a game, the scores will reflect just how much.
Marvel Heroes is a must-play for any fan of the Marvel universe. The amount of lore and hidden gems of insider knowledge scattered throughout for your discovery, the story penned by one of Marvel's most iconic writers and, and the level of sheer destruction available for you to dish out is too entertaining to pass up. Never mind the fact that the game is free to play. For anyone other than the enthusiastic Marvel fan, I'd still say that Marvel Heroes is worth a shot, but unless you’re invested in some way with the massive amount of villain and superhero cameos littered throughout the game, your level of excitement may vary.
As a side note, if you've been looking for a fun action game for your kids, I've got a number of friends who state that their young children are having an absolute blast with the game. They haven't been allowed to play Diablo III due to the blood and gore, but they’re all over a family-friendly Marvel game in which they get to play their favorite superhero and save the day.