Friday, May 5, 2017

Marvel Heroes Omega (PS4) Closed Beta Test Impressions

Marvel characters meets Diablo-like gameplay?  Sounds like a great idea.  I have played a few hours of the PC version, but early on my computer couldn't handle it, so I waited until I got a machine that could.  Even so, it was a game that I really wanted to use a controller for, and was very happy when it was announced to be moving to consoles under the slightly changed name of Marvel Heroes Omega.

There's a new intro mission that has you play as a few of the Avengers while introducing controls and key aspects of the game.  After which you will then do the old tutorial level, the Raft.  If my memory serves me correctly, this Raft mission is a bit stream-lined from its old version, and I like this one better, mostly because it feels shorter.

It's a good thing too, since story progress is saved by character.  So, if you switch to a new one, they want you to do the Raft again to get a level and some starter gear.  With so many characters already available to try (and more that I have to wait patiently for), it's a nice idea, but there are easier ways to just try a character out.  First, there is a training room hidden in the list of teleport locations, which lets you attack a set of dummies to try out your powers.  If you want live combat, you can just enter the first street zone and run around beating up a few punks to see how it feels.

So how does it play on a controller?  For me, it's great.  You move with the left stick, and the face button uses your moves.  Several moves don't have a cooldown, so you can either hold down the button or press it continuously to use the moves.  Holding down the L2 will give you access to another set of four moves once you have them unlocked.  Setting what skill was on what button was easily done from the skill menu, too.

L1 will use a healing item, although I wasn't sure how many I had.  Maybe it isn't limited, but a cooldown?  The right stick doesn't move the camera, which I thought it would.  Instead it...does nothing?  I'm not sure what it, R1 and R2 do.  I imagine one would do the ultimate skill, but I didn't play far enough to find out.  I should when there isn't the looming threat of a character wipe, though.

However, the biggest thing I was excited about was the inclusion of couch co-op.  Many of you may know that I play several games with my awesome wife, and after sinking hundreds of hours into Diablo, Marvel Heroes Omega is a game we were itching to try.  It took a bit to get everything lined up (she apparently couldn't actually pick a character to join unless I was already in a mission), but after that it worked out really well.

The second player is basically sharing the account of Player 1.  This is good because you only have to buy characters for one account to get the benefit for others.  Inventory is shared, too, which is good (easy to give pieces to other characters) and bad (capacity will get filled faster).  With loot still being character specific (a choice I'm not too keen on), it helps to not have to trade or drop it so the other player can use it.  Of course starting inventory limits are not conducive to my play style (I'm a hoarder), so I know I'll spend some G to increase it.

As much as I enjoyed the game, I of course had a few problems as well.  Some of the UI text is absurdly small, even on a 55" TV.  I imagine (and hope) that will be fixed by launch.  I also would have liked a help page that showed the controller layout, since I had a devil of a time trying to log out the first time.  It turns out it's cleverly hidden in the lower right corner of the screen when you first open the menu.  I guess I've played too many other MMOs, since I was looking for it in the options, and other places for several minutes before I just saw it sitting there, laughing at me.  Lastly, when you level up and gain a new skill, it puts it on a button.  Fine, but it tends to duplicate it, or just put it over one you had before if you've set up the buttons manually.  It's not game breaking, but it's weird and annoying.

It's safe to say I had fun in the closed beta for Marvel Heroes Omega.  I set out to try different heroes to see who I might have to buy, and to play some couch co-op.  Both goals were met, so now I have to wait patiently for the open beta, and then the game's launch!  I'm definitely looking forward to that.

The Good:
Lots of heroes to choose from, controller works great...and did I mention couch co-op!

The Bad:
Some UI elements aren't optimized

The SaHD:
Really, really looking forward to when my boy Juggernaut is added.  And of course Venom!

(Founder's Pack / Closed Beta access codes for Marvel Heroes Omega were provided by the publisher)

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