Marvel Heroes 2016

Game review by
Franklin Rinaldi, Common Sense Media
Marvel Heroes 2016 Game Poster Image

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Embrace your favorite hero and save the world.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You're the Super Hero saving the world from evil villainy that plagues lands, protecting society through selfless actions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroes put themselves in harm's way to protect others. Though this often requires violence to combat violence, it's done for greater good.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; complexity comes from depth of gameplay.

Violence

Superpowers cause super destruction. Violence against objects, characters; things are blown up, thrown across areas. While there will be bodies all over, no blood, gore, or dismemberment.

Sex

Costumes are often tight-fitting, suggestive, but top-down perspective, artistic style keep impact minimal. 

Language
Consumerism

Micro-transactions are part of game with free samples enticing purchases to speed up progression, acquire new heroes, companions. Some items are cash shop only. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marvel Heroes 2016 is an online MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). Players take on the persona of their favorite Marvel Super Hero character to fight Super Villains and their henchmen. It's a free-to-play game with a cash shop that allows the buying of special items, heroes, and costumes.Violence is a key factor in gameplay where players use their superpowers to punch, kick, and blast villains, but there's no blood or gore ever shown. Costumes feature a lot of form-fitting outfits that leave little to the imagination, but the zoomed-out perspective limits the view and impact. Chat is unmoderated but does have some privacy settings to control what your child can see.

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What's it about?

MARVEL HEROES 2016 overhauled every Super Hero and many of the core systems of the original game launched in 2013, along with the rebalanced and rebooted version in 2015. It's set within the comic story arc of Dr. Doom and the Cosmic Cube. Doctor Doom's sinister plan is to use the Cube's power of changing the very fabric of reality to reshape the world in his own image. Your job as a hero is to prevent Dr. Doom from destroying the world with the Cosmic Cube, which means you'll have to work your way through and past the many supervillains aligned with him. You'll also have opportunities to help out law enforcement in New York and other areas to keep crime down and anarchy at bay.

Is it any good?

This online game does a great job of helping players embrace their inner heroes, even if there's a steep learning curve attached. The free-to-play MMORPG lets players pick a hero, such as Black Widow, Human Torch, and Captain America. You can try out each character to experience their different fighting styles and abilities until you reach Level 10, when you're forced either to unlock a different character or pay for an extra slot for one you really like. Every person is powerful, and playing them will make you feel heroic as you progress, laying waste to bad guys. Plus, there are many repeat events to work through with other players, letting you collect rewards to make yourself and your companions more powerful.

After Level 10, players start working with a Team-Up hero, a personal assistant that accompanies you and helps in fights based on how you set them up. Marvel Heroes 2016 also has a robust alliance system (also known as "guilds") where you can form groups to consistently save the universe together. As a game that drops loot like piñatas and has a robust crafting feature, it isn't impossible to find better gear to help you build the ultimate Hero. There are two major issues with the game. The first is the perceived grind of repeating scenarios over and over only for more loot and currency. The second is the complexity of some gameplay mechanics that will have you doing research away from your keyboard to fully understand. Luckily, there's lots of support on the forums with a community of passionate Marvel fans who really enjoy playing in this universe. Plus, the overhauled systems have made it significantly easier than previous versions, so old players who were discouraged may want to come back and take a look. If you're a Marvel fan, this could be an online universe you'll love to explore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of on-screen violence. Does the fact that there isn't any blood or gore make the game less violent?

  • Talk about sexuality and gender equality. Why do you think women's costumes are so skimpy compared with men's? What do you think about the unrealistic representation of body types of superheroes in comics?

  • Discuss responsible time limits on games. Why is it important to take time for real-world activities instead of sitting at a screen all the time?

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