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Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One review: is this free Diablo-MMO hybrid worth your time?

What do you get when you mix the gameplay of Diablo with an MMO and the Marvel Comics universe?

You get Marvel Heroes Omega, the free to play MMO that has just launched on Xbox One. Despite a few bugs at launch, this game is a real treat for Marvel fans.

A sprawling superhero adventure

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Marvel Heroes Omega opens with a cinematic in which Doctor Doom acquires the Cosmic Cube (known as the Tesseract in the films) as uses it to kill the Watcher (whose race recently appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy 2). Working under Doom, Hydra then releases a horde of supervillains from SHIELD's top prison the Raft. It's up to our favorite Marvel heroes to stop them and save the day!

The story plays out over nine chapters, each featuring a unique assortment of well-known and lesser Marvel villains such as Ultron, Loki, Green Goblin, Shocker, Rhino, and many more. The cinematics that bring this story to life are uninspiring, featuring cheap hand-drawn artwork and less than stellar dialog (particularly Spider-Man's lame quips). But the story feels authentic enough.

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

After completing the story with one character you'll unlock Legendary missions that provide a unique resource called Legendary Marks that can be used to buy and upgrade endgame gear. The Danger Room will also open, bringing even more missions to play. Other missions include patrols, operations, and hero-specific missions.

Gameplay

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Marvel Heroes Omega looks a lot like the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, but it plays more like Diablo. Players can equip and use up to eight attack skills, with four assigned to the face buttons and four more accessible by holding the left trigger.

Upon reaching level 10, you also unlock a travel skill that allows for faster movement. The ground-based characters dash at high speeds, but some characters get to fly or swing around. This can be used to cross gaps that you'd otherwise have to walk across. Most Diablo-style games don't have flight, and zipping around here is a blast.

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

The combat feels the same as in most games of this type, although some of the character's super powers are much flashier than average, covering the screen in particle effects. You can also zoom in the camera for added visual punch. But for the most part, the fun comes from collecting and equipping new loot on your characters. At higher levels, you'll also be able to create better loot through a robust crafting system.

Heroes and costumes

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

As a free to play game, Marvel Heroes Omega makes money by selling characters, boosts, and lockboxes. You do get a total of two free characters right out of the gate, though.

Daredevil can be snagged for free from the Xbox Store, and then you get to pick your second character from a decent pool of heroes: Angela, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Hulk, Kitty Pryde, Nova, and Squirrel Girl. Since Squirrel Girl is one of my favorite characters, I started with her. But Captain Marvel is probably the best starting character.

The rest of the playable roster of 38 launch characters can be sampled for free, but you can only level them up to 10. To continue progressing after that, you'll need to buy the character. They can be purchased with either Eternity Splinters (a currency dropped by enemies at timed intervals) or G, the game's premium currency. If you save up Eternity Splinters long enough, you can actually get almost anybody for free that way. But mostly, the characters will cost about $5-10 each. They also come in bundles that offer a better value.

Whether you stick to your two free starting characters or support the developers by buying more, each character's progress through the story is separate from other characters. Each character is voiced and reacts to other player characters they meet in hubs and other areas.

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Most costumes must be won from premium loot boxes. Omega offers purely cosmetic costumes such as movie-themed outfits as well as enhanced costumes that convert existing characters into new ones (much as in Injustice 2). For instance, the Spider-Man Loot Box has a chance of dropping a Spider-Gwen enhanced skin.

38 characters and an array of costumes to win is a fair launch lineup, but the console game is missing a lot of characters and especially costumes from the PC version. Hopefully developer Gazillion Entertainment will continue to add characters and costumes at regular intervals until the console game catches up. A big part of the fun here is running across players using rare heroes and outfits, after all.

Multiplayer

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Marvel Heroes Omega is a rare hybrid of both a Diablo-style action-RPG and an MMO. Two local players can play online with others, and online parties can consist of up to four players. That said, you'll visit environments that support many more players. Bumping into large numbers of varied heroes, all fellow players like yourself, is a really cool addition to the action-RPG genre.

Local play has its up and downs. The second player can join in or drop out at any time. But they can only play on the primary player's account, using that player's heroes and gear. This can be a plus if you want to level two of your characters simultaneously. But the guest player can't use their own account, which might not be very satisfying in the long run.

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

This being an MMO, partying up with other online players is of course the most fun way to play. But the interface for inviting and joining other players leaves much to be desired. First you have to press the View/Back button and select Social. From there, you can create a session and only then invite nearby players or friends. It'd be so much easier if we could invite via the Xbox One friends and party lists, but other players can only be invited from the in-game interface.

Teaming up with friends makes the game easier, especially since party members can revive each other. But you probably won't want to play with random players. First, there's no in-game text chat on Xbox One, which is inexcusable for an MMORPG. Nor is there a trade system. Hopefully Gazillion will add those important features before long.

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Second, the game doesn't prompt members of a party when someone travels to a new area. Thus, you really have to follow each other around in order to avoid getting lost. And with no easy way to communicate other than party chat, random players will have trouble staying on the same page as each other.

Overall impression

Marvel Heroes Omega for Xbox One

Quality Marvel games are few and far between (unless you're into fighting games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3), so Marvel Heroes Omega is a godsend. The gameplay isn't that much different from other games in the genre, but the addition of dozens of Marvel heroes and villains adds tons of appeal for True Believers like yours truly. And getting to play online with so many more players is great, too – let's just hope Gazillion Entertainment makes it easier to team up and communicate with other players.

Marvel Heroes Omega is free to play. Want to grab a relatively affordable Founders Pack while they're still available? We recommend the Spider-Man Homecoming Founders Pack, which includes Spider-Man, two movie costumes, and other bonuses; or the Deadpool Founder's Pack with Deadpool, an extra costume, $5 of currency, and an XP boost. Both packs are $19.99 each.

Pros:

  • Play as all kinds of iconic Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, and more!
  • The first MMO Diablo-style game on Xbox One.

Cons:

  • Inviting players to your party is clunky and unintuitive.
  • No text-chat and no way to communicate with palyers who aren't in your Xbox Live party limits the game's potential as an MMO.

Xbox One Founder's packs and currency provided by the publisher for review.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

35 Comments
  • I played Omega and kinda felt meh tbh, I wish marvel had a DCUO like game or a release of a new Marvel ultimate alliance.
  • I tried it last week. It was somewhat fun. I probably would have paid $40 to get everything. It feels like a lot more like a high end tablet game than a AAA $60 console game. Then I looked at how much it cost to get characters. Then I saw it would cost $60 to get just the 6 Avengers pack and I would probably be up to a few hundred for everybody. There are other games I would enjoy a lot more for a lot less money. I also looked at how many Eternity Splinters I picked up in those couple hours, and it would have been thousands of hours to get everybody that way. I don't mind games that offer real money to get ahead faster, as long as there is a realistic way to do it without that extra payment. Playing the whole game as Squirrel Girl wouldn't be terrible, I suppose, but I knew I would get bored, and paying up was out of the question to me, so... nevermind, deleted it.
  • You would also have the option of playing as Daredevil for free. And if you really wanted to play as someone else, $5-10 for another character is a lot less than $40. Avoiding the game because you just can't have all the characters is certainly an option, but you're missing out on a fun experience.
  • The way I look at it is with a roster of thirty plus characters in a game like this, you aren't going to play as everyone anyway. And the fact that it allows you ten levels to trial each character means your money can be tailored to the characters you enjoy rather than paying for heroes you don't care about. If this were a fighter, it would be a terrible model but for a vast game like an RPG I think it's fantastic and, personally, I think more companies should adopt it.
  • Enjoying this a lot playing as Cyclops first. Nothing like taking your fav Marvel hero for an action packed workout with powers you configure for a unique hero setup.
  • Ah man, you just sold this game to me....Cyclops is my fave too. Will see if i have space and give this a try...
  • Cyclops even gets to ride a motorcycle for his travel skill!
  • Nice
  • I'm liking that we get couch co-op on the console version. I'm hoping it comes to the PC version to.
  • Woah, PC doesn't have it? That's totally arbitrary and makes no sense!! Why does this always happen?? The same happened with Fable 3 (IIRC) where in Xbox you could play with someone else locally and in PC you couldn't. Then I think it was Borderlands with no split screen for PC but you got it for console. Tired of this crap.
  • It's a PC game first, and most PC games don't have local multiplayer. They added local to the console games, which came a lot later. We'll see if it ever gets added to PC.
  • My point is that there's no reason for that, just because "its' for PCs". A lot of people play local multiplayer games on PC, and a lot, like myself, would play this game if it included local multiplayer. Why limit options when it's the same game? Makes no sense.
  • Split screen on pc can be rather cumbersome unless you have it hooked up to your TV. Plus you tend to see most a lot of households with multiple computers anyway. Alleviating things further.
  • It all depends. There's probably a lot of people who have their PC hooked to a TV anyway, with Steam Link, HDMI and all other new hardware it's really simple to do. But there's no excuse from a technical standpoint to not include it for PC, in fact, some additional work must have been done to cut the feature. In any case, I was mildly interested to try this game precisely because of local coop. With this absence in PC they lost me.
  • If local co-op is really important to you, then PC might not be the best platform to prioritize. But either way, MMOs never have local co-op, so it's a rare exception that this one has some form of it. You play MMOs for the online multiplayer.
  • Yeah, traditionally MMOs are single player games, that's what made this game so interesting to me. Regarding local co-op, theres a LOT of games that support two or more players locally in PC games. In fact, I think it's a rising trend, judging from new games on Steam. This is why I feel it was a major oversight by the developers to omit it, or just a bad choice.
  • I've been out of the PC game for a while so I admit, I forget about things like steam link.
  • Looks like a watered-down micro-transaction fueled version of Ultimate Alliance, still the best Marvel games
  • IMO it's much better than Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but I enjoy Diablo-style games and MMOs.
  • Looks nice but I'm a bit tired about games were the gameplay is based around grinding.
  • There was a time I said free game points were worth my time. This is no longer my goal in life. So no this game is not worth my time. 
  • Exactly my opinion. Grinding for points is not fun. It's work. Games should be a fun experience, not work.
  • Called at level 10. So far it takes way too long to unlock the characters to go higher. They should have used DCU approach
  • You could've used the free character you bought, or Daredevil, to progress past level 10.
  • The game is kinda free, could always use the char that the storyline force you to purchase to go higher than lvl10
  • I've given up on Injustice 2 for this game. I like Injustice 2 but 2D fighting à la Streetfighter is not my thing. I've been playing this game for 2 weeks now and I love it! I purchased the X-men pack (but won't be buying another one) so that I have a bunch of characters I like to play with and collect shards to unlock other characters. My aim is NOT to unlock them all, there are several characters I am not interested playing with. I've played several times with other people (using Club search, or just posting tickets to find people who wants to group up to farm) and it is really fun. It's true that a text chat is missing but at least they implemented voice chat when in a group (which works very well). As said in the article, the group needs to be made frop within the game (using the social stuff). Feel free to add me if you want to group up : Loubeiga See you online ;)  
  • Before I started my vacation I played quite a bit of this. I think I got about 12 characters to the level 10 cap before you have to pay, just to get a feel of them to see if any really felt good to play with. I enjoyed Squirrel Girl, but mostly because it bothered my son for some reason. Jean Gray seemed a bit overpowered (but you know, she really just is). Deadpool was also fun. Mostly I just goofed around in patrols getting a feel for each of the characters, and didn't really do many quests, so I guess once I decide what character I want to buy, I will start getting into that. Overall, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. We'll see how long it lasts.
  • This looks like a decent game, free is good and hopefully it doesn't get to a point where it requires a purchase to continue. Nice write-up.
  • Nice review. Played this one for a few minutes and didn't care for it much, but I'll give it another shot. 
  • I can't seem to find this game in the Australian Xbox store. Am i missing something or is this a region specific release?
  • Jombib, you might need to switch your console's region to the US in order to download the game. Games often come to Europe or Australia later due to regional certification differences, etc.
  • Double post.
  • Might try the xbox version I played the game when it came out on pc i played a lot of it but was nothing too do when you beat the story 
  • Great review! Enjoying the game so far, still haven't decided on or unlocked my first character yet, but I have been using Daredevil in the meantime. 
  • I get a Marvel Ultimate Alliance vibe from this, and I mean that in a good way.  It has much better graphics, sound, etc.  I just am not sure who to pick, but your other article lays it all out nicely.