UPDATE: Disney has pulled their license from Gazillion Entertainment for the Marvel franchise, so Marvel Heroes Omega will be shutting their servers down on the 31st of December, 2017. I still stand by what I said below as far as the game goes, but you should be aware of this before you jump in, and EVERYTHING is going to go free before they shut down, so if you do want to try it, you better hurry...and try not to get too invested as it's not going to be around much longer.
I had been keeping an eye on Gazillion Entertainment's Marvel Heroes Omega when it came to PC five-some years ago with a hope that it would maybe appear on PlayStation, because I was a pretty big sucker for Diablo III, and this seemed like it could scratch the same, loot-grinding, (near) mindless action RPG itch that I sometimes get (and I spend more time on PC than I really want to already, so I take a pretty hard pass on most PC Gaming these days, so I am console or nothing for the most part...).
Typically, I just went back to Diablo, or was...just...sad, but the idea of being able to play an action RPG in a similar style, but set in the Marvel universe with 30+ playable characters AND I can play online with friends, or do couch co-op....that all sounded perfect to me, so when the Beta started at the end of May, I signed up and downloaded it, cautiously optimistic.
Well, considering I'm not talking about it until July, you're probably not going to be surprised that I've had a pretty positive experience, but here's why I feel that it all works:
Marvel Heroes Omega is an ARPG which takes place in the Marvel Universe, largely revolving around a story involving Doctor Doom (a favourite villain around here) getting control of the Cosmic Cube, and the ripple effects that has with some of the lower-level villains across the MU, many of whom are fighting over the Tablet of Life and Time. Standing in their way is an MMORPG mound of players who have access to (today) 40 heroes (and anti-heroes) to fight this wave of villainy.
Check the Open Beta Trailer below:
I think the first thing that I need to flag is the fact that the game is free-to-play. Meaning that anyone (with any console) could finish this article and then go download it without spending any money--understanding that because it is a MMO, that you would need online gaming access. Once you have played the tutorial, you get enough in-game currency to unlock one of the following characters (many of whom you probably recognize):
What I mean by unlock is: you would be able to play the entire game, and undertake all of the content in Omega, without spending any money with one of those characters, just by finishing the tutorial.
You are able to play any character up to level 10, but then you stop gaining experience points and unlocking things until you unlock the character, with either real-world currency or in-game "eternity splinters"...this i important as it means that you can try (most of) the characters before putting money in. There are a few that are locked behind packs (which you need to buy with that real money), but I cannot really speak to them because they are not really any characters I care about, thus I have not spent any time with them.
All that rambling there? That's specifically to let you know that this is not one of those free-to-play games that you have to sink money in right away in order to get started; as long as you are down with playing one of those characters, you can play the whole thing without paying a cent.
Now, I think the best thing I can do at this point, is to just let you know what my experience with the game has been like, and then you can judge for yourselves what you think about that.
Playing since May, I have (to date) paid 26$ to grab some currency to unlock a few things in game, and because I have played this game enough that I felt like chipping in to support the company who made it. I largely did this because I was having a super bad day once, and decided that I wanted my favourite Marvel character to play (Doctor Strange) and did not have the in-game currency to do so, and I wanted to expand my inventory because I have stuff for 10 different characters.
Basically what I am saying is I have only put in money because I have chosen to support the developers of a game that I have spent a surprising amount of time with, and because I really wanted my favourite hero. I have never felt like I needed to put money in, at any point, to compete with the events/operations/legendary/story.
This is not a MMORPG that has PVP in it, so you are not competing with people who have maybe poured money in in order to get super good, super fast; honestly, while the game is an MMORPG, I have not had any need to run anything with other people--long-time readers know that I am more of a solo gamer, and Omega has just the right balance where I can play with my friends when I can, and do not need anyone else to get through any of the content. Period. However, when on a public map, the way the game is set up, swarms of players can work together to take down a supervillain, and everyone gets appropriate experience and loot drops.
The gameplay loop is rather mindless; I have finished the story twice (once in couch co-op with Nova and Angela, solo with Daredevil) and enjoyed my time with it, but largely the game revolves around fighting swarms of enemies using your heroes specific powers, levelling a character to unlock all of their powers, and finding sweet equipment. The story becomes rather secondary at a point, as once you hit the level cap, there is very little post-cap content, other than special events.
Honestly, when I was levelling my latest character (Nightcrawler, because Bamf), I even would say to myself "I've got an hour, I'll mute my speakers, listen to a podcast and level Kurt for a while", and i have never done that with a game before.
Every character has a different power set, and feels different enough (within reason) that I have no real struggle with any of my heroes feeling too same-y when switching between them. Every hero has more powers than you are able to use (you can have 8 active at one time, plus your character's super specific and cool "ultimate" power), and they unlock as you level a character up and that is, frankly, the best part of the game.
If you like a loot grind, or ARPG's are your bag, you need to give Marvel Heroes Omega a shot, as it is exactly what it needs to be, but that's not to say that there are not problems.
It's a MMORPG: there are glitches, occasionally there are little problems every once in a while with nothing hitting me as game-breaking. You are reliant on the servers, and having good internet, and it can get a little bit frustrating if you are suddenly kicked off of a co-op mission. This has only happened a couple of times, thankfully, so I'm not saying that you have to worry about it, I just think you have to be accepting of there being a few little things that don't make sense, or don't work the way you want them to--some day, my Relics will show on the stack....some day....
Earning the eternity splinters (the currency to unlock characters that you can earn) takes a long time, but it's not insane...just...if you do not want to pay any money in, and are looking to get Wolverine, or Deadpool...you will need to grind for a long while.
I can completely understand if this game falls off for anyone who plays it if they are not in for the gaming loop--having little post-game content (at the moment) makes the game feel rather flat once you have finished the story (which you only have to do once), and have your character level capped--once you have done the story and a few ops, unless you're thinking about trophies, there's not a lot to do there.
This, however, is not necessarily a terrible thing as the game is still very new, and Gazillion has already added in a new operation (a mission on a new map with a few new enemies) as well as a couple more characters, so frankly, I think that once I am done (as there is a part of me that's thinking about a Platinum in it, over time, as it's a massive commitment), I will probably always pop back in whenever I see a "new event" announcement, and take my characters in just to see what is up....and then probably end up playing for a few days, and then wander off again. I don't have another game like that, and I think it might just be Omega for me.
I also want to give a quick shoutout to Gazillion for the upgrade to a VIP account (apparently for investing in the game) for getting the daily splinters, and the free Nightcrawler--he's awesome.
If you have...any console, and you like ARPG's, you literally have nothing to lose in trying it, other than your time...I have had a great deal of fun with this game, and it's been awesome for the busy, busy summer.
If you're playing and want to chat MHO, or, have a question, hit me up on Twitter.
PS: I realized that I went through all of this and never bothered letting y'all know what I have for characters:
Daredevil (free for PS Plus by the way)
The only one missing from my "favourite" Marvel heroes list is Storm, but I feel like she would be pretty close in feeling to Doctor Strange (my primary character) so I've been waiting for when I bounce out for a while, and then grab her when I come back if I'm feeling the urge to level a new character.
Which I probably will, as it is the best part of the game as it stands today.