If you’re a fan of Marvel comics and their characters, there’s every chance that you will end up liking Marvel Heroes Omega. This is a pretty standard dungeon crawler, and you often have to sit through long and arduous periods of repetitive grinding to be able to make any real progress, but underneath all that is a game that is full of content. There’s a ton of Marvel characters here, both iconic and obscure, and it feels like a lot of effort and care has been put into crafting each one of them, individually. Certainly, there’s enough to like here, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the game also suffers from a number of major issues.
Marvel Heroes Omega is, of course, a free-to-play game, and other than the Marvel license, it is that element of the game that will draw in majority of the players. However, it is also that very element that spawns one of the game’s most major issues. Being a free-to-play game, Omega obviously had to include microtransactions for it to be any kind of a viable business model for the developers, but it’s sad to see that the game doesn’t do this very well.
The majority of the microtransactions are, admittedly, restricted to aesthetic items- new costumes or skins for a number of characters which differ in terms of how they look and sound, but don’t change anything of significance. Long time fans of the comics and some of these characters might be tempted to buy these costumes, but they’re by no means essential to be able to progress in the game. As you can imagine, then, this is not where the problem is.
"There’s enough to like here, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the game also suffers from a number of major issues."
The issue arises when it comes to purchasing new characters in the game. And that is something that almost feels like a necessity, and not just to circumvent feelings of monotony and repetition. You don’t have to be an ardent, avid Marvel fan to want to play as Daredevil, or the Hulk, or Spider-Man, or Wolverine. It’s obvious that people will want to spend a lot of time with these characters, and while it’s commendable that all these and more are playable in Marvel Heroes Omega, the fact that the game puts severe restrictions on their playability is obviously an issue.
For the purposes of this review, we were provided with packs containing a number of characters to be able to play as, but that, of course, won’t be the case when players download the game to play it themselves. Marvel Heroes Omega allows players to play as every single character in the game- but only for a limited period of time. The level cap for all of them is 10, which is hardly enough to play the game for a significant period of time. After that, you have to spend money to be able to play as these characters further.
To be fair, the game does let you do this without having to spend real money- as with most microtransaction models, Marvel Omega Heroes allows you to spend in-game currency rather than actual money to purchase these characters. And while on paper that sounds like an excellent idea, the game makes it incredibly hard for you to be able to gather enough in-game money to purchase new characters. These costs are incredibly high, and result in you having to settle into a long grind of attrition. We realize that being a free-to-play title, microtransactions are unavoidable for Marvel Heroes Omega, but when the game balances them in such a way, it’s hard not to be critical.
And it really is a shame that the game doesn’t let you dive into its roster properly- and that’s because it’s a very impressive roster. From hugely popular characters like Deadpool, Captain America and Iron Man to lesser known ones like Moon Knight and Magik, from fan favourite villains such as Doctor Doom, Elektra and Kingpin to Marvel mainstays like The Hand, HYDRA and the Sinister Six, there is something for all sorts of Marvel fans here. This is a huge cast of characters, both playable and unplayable, and chances are, if you play Omega, you will find a bunch of characters you already know and love.
"This is a huge cast of characters, both playable and unplayable, and chances are, if you play Omega, you will find a bunch of characters you already know and love."
What’s even better is the fact that all these playable characters feel markedly different from each other- in such a large roster, you’d expect there to be a cutting of some corners here and there, but developers Gazillion Entertainment have shown great love and respect for all these characters. They all have their own unique special abilities, skill trees, moves, skill sets, and playing as each of them feels different. As you can imagine, this makes the player want to experiment and try out all the characters- circling back to the issue with unlocking them.
The story that encompasses all these characters is nothing special- it’s delightfully cheesy and seems like pretty a pretty regular comic book affair- which makes sense, considering the fact that it has been written by the same person who wrote the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. The story is told through comic book style cutscenes, but unfortunately, these often fall flat and seem quite low budget. When you think of games like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, you realize that it’s not as if comic book-style cutscenes cannot be done properly, so to see a game based on Marvel characters featuring underwhelming comic book-style cutscenes is a little disappointing. If ever you’d expect a game to have amazing cutscenes of that ilk, you’d think it’d be a Marvel game.
If you’re not feeling like playing through the game’s story though, there are other modes for you to tackle. Much like its characters, Omega has an impressive amount of content in terms of game modes. There’s a regular horde-mode like feature, there’s a mode which sees you patrolling the streets of cities as superheroes and fighting off bad guys, as well as an Operations. The Operations mode is perhaps the best out of all these extra modes- it gives players a variety of different objectives, putting them in the middle of familiar locations and pitting them against memorable villains and antagonists.
However, in spite of its richness in content, much like so many games of the dungeon crawler variety, Marvel Heroes Omega is quite repetitive. It’s bad enough that the game practically forces you into an exhausting grind, as this review has already mentioned. What makes matters worse is that there is very little variation on offer. All there is is this loop of fighting and looting, and nothing at all in between to break the monotony or change the pace. It doesn’t help that the gameplay itself is quite unoriginal, in that it doesn’t try to do anything new, and is mostly satisfied with following in the footsteps of prior trailblazing games in the genre.
"To see a game based on Marvel characters featuring underwhelming comic book-style cutscenes is a little disappointing. If ever you’d expect a game to have amazing cutscenes of that ilk, you’d think it’d be a Marvel game."
But that can work in Omega’s favour at times as well- because being a decent, run off the mill dungeon crawler in terms of moment to moment to gameplay isn’t so bad. There is tons of loot in this game, ranging across all sorts of equipment, items and upgrades, and if you’ve ever been addicted to looting in similar games before, there’s every chance that that might happen with Omega too.
One area where Marvel Heroes Omega falters significantly, though, is the technical side. From a visuals perspective, there’s nothing impressive going on here. The visuals are passable at best and bland at worst, with not much detail in the environments, and you will spot countless instances where you see bland textures or unseemly, pixelized blocks. The game also fails to run at a stable frame rate. There are awful stutters and freezes at times. That would have been bad enough no matter what, and the fact that this is a game that is hugely reliant on online play and connectivity makes the matters even worse.
Marvel Alliance Omega is a game that should, on paper, be quite the catch, and in a lot of ways, it’s a great deal of fun. The generic but enjoyable addictiveness of its loot based dungeon crawling gameplay will interest fans of the genre, while its large roster of characters has to be applauded. But it’s severely flawed in other areas, not least of all in terms of performance issues, repetitiveness, and its frustrating microtransactions model. If you can look past those issues, Omega will provide you with several good hours of fun. But these are significant issues, so not everyone might be able to overlook them.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Large roster that features a great variety of Marvel characters; Operations mode can be a lot of fun; Looting can be addictive and fun
Poor microtransactions model essentially locks out most of the roster of characters; Repetitive; Visuals are bland and unimpressive; Frame rate drops and performance issues; Poor quality cutscenes
A large roster of characters and the lure of addictive looting are not enough to salvage Marvel Heroes Omega from a number of significant issues.