mar­vel heroes omega

Hulk smash, Squir­rel Girl smash too

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Martin Kitts

Dozens of Mar­vel char­ac­ters in Di­ablostyle mul­ti­player dun­geon crawl that doesn’t cost a penny to play. It’s a tempt­ing propo­si­tion, but even in the world of ‘free’ games there’s usu­ally a price to pay.

So what do you get for the princely sum of zero pounds? You can pick al­most any char­ac­ter from the start and play as far as you want up to the level 10 cap, which will prob­a­bly take about an hour. Af­ter that, you can con­tinue play­ing but earn no more XP, you can start again with some­body new or you can opt to fully un­lock the char­ac­ter and ac­cess all of the game’s con­tent.

This is where you might have to start pay­ing, of course. As is typ­i­cal in this sort of thing there are mul­ti­ple ingame cur­ren­cies, one of which costs real money. Un­lock­ing char­ac­ters can be done with crys­tals that drop from de­feated en­e­mies, but th­ese are rel­a­tively rare. So while it’s tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble to see al­most ev­ery­thing us­ing only the fruits of your in-game labour, the time re­quired to earn those crys­tals is de­signed to be suf­fi­ciently vast as to make the prospect of shelling out some cash seem like a sen­si­ble op­tion. Un­lock­ing a ma­jor char­ac­ter like Spi­der-Man will cost many hours of grind­ing, or about £6.

Your free ac­count (an Xbox Live Gold sub is also re­quired) has enough starter funds to fully un­lock ei­ther the Hulk or one of the less pop­u­lar char­ac­ters, so you don’t have to stay stuck at level 10 if you’re on a tight (zero) bud­get. We opted for Squir­rel Girl, who has a giant bushy tail and floats around on a car­pet of deadly ninja squir­rels, and to be hon­est she seems ev­ery bit as ef­fec­tive as any of the oth­ers. Plus she isn’t Hulk, so at least she’s easy to spot among the hordes of identi-Hulks in the early ar­eas.

Rinse and re­peat

The game is ex­tremely repet­i­tive. Visit an area, smash some en­e­mies, grab some loot. It doesn’t seem to make much dif­fer­ence which char­ac­ters you join on a raid, as there are no rigid class roles to fol­low. Co­op­er­a­tion is def­i­nitely op­tional, and ev­ery­one just zooms around the screen, smash­ing ev­ery­thing in sight. If you want to pre­tend you’re in a team of su­per­heroes rather than just a mas­sive but­ton-bash­ing free-for-all, a party of friends is the only way.

Even then it’s not ex­actly sub­tle. Stand­ing still and spam­ming the at­tack but­tons takes care of most op­po­nents, as long as you re­mem­ber to dodge when big­ger en­e­mies are charg­ing up some sort of su­per weapon. Loot can be equipped when­ever you find a breath­ing space dur­ing bat­tle, but we were hard pressed to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween all the boots, gloves and ar­mour we swiftly amassed. And while there might be some vari­a­tion in stats, ev­ery­thing looks ex­actly the same when equipped, which is very poor in­deed.

The stilted an­i­ma­tion, low-res tex­tures and shud­der­ing fram­er­ate in busy ar­eas aren’t ex­actly pleas­ing to the eye, but it seems a bit mean to dis­miss the game for its lack of high-end pro­duc­tion val­ues. You can down­load it for free and make up your own mind – con­sider it an ex­tended demo – but we can’t imag­ine the take-up on those cur­rency packs is go­ing to be all that high.

“Un­lock­ing Spi­derMan will cost many hours of grind­ing, or about £ 6”

right Zoom in to get a good look at your hero, al­though the game is hard to play like this.

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