Marvel Heroes will be celebrating its fourth anniversary on the PC in early June 2017, and just ahead of that occasion PlayStation 4 owners will have a chance to try the game out as Marvel Heroes Omega. As a free-to-play action-RPG in the Diablo style, Marvel Heroes Omega fills a void missing in the console experience right now (at least until Path of Exiles makes the jump). Unfortunately, the transition hasn’t been perfect, and the game suffers technical issues on the PlayStation. Gazillion, the game’s developers, have also taken the opportunity to make massive changes to the PC version of the game which has been a bitter pill for longtime fans. On top of that, the game features a shortened roster of playable characters, no pets or NPC companions, and a laundry list of missing modes and other features PC players have, the PlayStation 4 version is nonetheless worth checking out due to its price tag: FREE.
In the modern marketplace free-to-play games have virtually become synonymous with “pay-to-win”, and so it is refreshing to see Marvel Heroes Omega, like its PC fore-bearer, opt for a truly free gameplay experience. Every game mode is available without restrictions no matter how much or little money you put into the game. Instead, players are encouraged to spend money on cosmetic costumes; boosts to enhance experience gains, item drop rates, etc; and unlocking heroes faster than they can do it for free. Every character in the game is unlockable for free if you have the determination to do so, however, the amount of time required to do so per character is monumental. Fortunately, you will get one character for free after finishing the tutorial, which you will get to pick from almost the entire available roster. This game is absolutely playable for a true free-to-play gamer, and you will not miss out on any of the in-game experiences. There is one other additional item that the game is keen to charge you for, and I’ll cover that in a moment.
Unfortunately, not everything is cheery in the land of Marvel Heroes Omega. The game is rife with technical issues resulting in frequent framerate drops, and gameplay bugs can hamper the experience significantly. Items frequently disappeared from my inventory only to reappear later, and picking up a specific item off the ground can be difficult. The tutorial of the game is woefully inadequate and doesn’t cover many important gameplay facets. Unlocking difficulty levels? Figuring out crafting and crafting vendors? Understanding all the different stats items can provide? Figure them out yourself because the in-game guide is less than useful. The UI is also clumsy and not intuitive, although it is quite stylish. Perhaps most shocking is the game restricts your inventory to just 40 items in your backpack and 50 in your bank. This may seem like a lot, but it fills up quickly. They charge real-world money to increase the size of either your bank or backpack and if you plan to play the game long-term you will practically need to do so, no matter how scummy it feels.
Final thoughts on Marvel Heroes Omega PS4 Beta:
If Marvel Heroes Omega was a full retail release the technical issues and design oversights would make it an instant wash. However, as a game that truly does offer a full, unrestricted gameplay experience for free it merits at least a look. The pricing of the characters and the costumes is a little higher than I am comfortable with, but you are not required to buy them either and they do go on sale frequently enough (judging by the PC version’s history). The blatant cash grab in regards to storage capacity is annoying, but not enough to make me push the game away. It is a limitation that is easy enough to live with once you have a grasp of what items you need to hold and which you don’t (hint: there is virtually nothing worth holding before you hit max level so don’t waste your space). My suggestion is to give it a try and enjoy it for what it is. In the worst case scenario you are out a little bit of time and bandwidth, but more likely you’ll find enough to like to at least play through the story.