Sep 19, 2014

Video Game Spotlight on Marvel Heroes 2015

Welcome to a new segment here on A Dose of Venom in which Venomaniacs review and report news about symbiotic activity in the realm of video games. If you like to play games and you're looking for some new titles in which you get to play with, against, or as Marvel's symbiotes, then this is the segment to follow. For the first installment, we're putting the spotlight on Marvel's most ambitious gaming venture yet: Gazillion Entertainment's Marvel Heroes 2015.

Play Marvel Heroes 2015 for the PC and MacAvailable on PC, Mac, and through Steam, Marvel Heroes 2015 is the lovechild between Diablo and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. There are two features that sets the game apart from its competition—DC Universe Online and Champions Online: first, it's not a traditional World of Warcraft-style MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game); it's actually an MMOARPG, which is slightly different in that the play style is top-down with mouse-intensive action, much in the way of Diablo II (from which it borrows some of the classic game's developers). Second, players don't get to create their own unique hero or villain characters to interact with the copyrighted intellectual properties; instead, players can play as their favorite Marvel heroes and villains from comic book lore and can completely customize the clones with gear, powers, and alternate costumes until they are unique within and of themselves.

Gazillion has been doing a bang-up job with frequently releasing new game and system updates, and has even managed a new stride of introducing one new playable character each month. As of yet, there has only been one playable symbiotic character: Spider-Man with his enhanced Symbiote costume (which includes a special voice-over by the Peter Parker of the '90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Christopher Daniel Barnes, plus special cosmetic powers). Don't hold your breath at getting your hands on this costume, though, as it was exclusive to the $199.99 pre-launch Ultimate Pack. You can get its non-symbiotic brother, the enhanced Back in Black costume (which also has a Barnes alternate voice-over) for 1,250 Gs (account currency; $1 = 100 Gs), but that's just the cloth version of the famous symbiote costume, so there are no symbiotic cosmetic powers.

Preorder Venom with the Bring on the Bad Guys Team Pack
Don't be down, though, if you missed out on the Symbiote costume because a playable Venom (Eddie Brock) character is slated for a pre-New Years 2015 release for an estimated 600 Eternity Splinters (an in-game randomly dropped currency). There are no details as of yet about his powers or alternate costume, but if you feel like getting the full Venom experience out of Marvel Heroes 2015, then head over to its online store and pick up the "Bring On the Bad Guys + More Pack" to pre-order Venom along with Magneto and the Juggernaut (plus getting the already-released Mr. Fantastic, Star Lord, and Rogue), or you can wait until Venom's release date approaches to preorder his solo Hero Pack for $17.99, which will come with the alternate costume, Venom's own unique Hero S.T.A.S.H. (an in-game inventory storage container), and a few other in-game goodies.

On the off-chance that you're interested in getting just the character by himself (why wouldn't you want all that swag?!), there's a way you can get him for FREE, essentially. Log on or create an account (it's a Free-to-Play game!) at least a month or more before his release (just to give yourself some time) and play the game. By completing the entire story mode (up to defeating Doctor Doom) on the first go-around, you'll automatically receive 200 Eternity Splinters. Then all you need to do is continue grinding the game for Eternity Splinter drops, especially in PvE instances like Midtown Madness or the S.H.I.E.L.D. Holo-Sim. Luckily, the drops aren't the most uncommon in the game (Gazillion ranks the random hero or costume drops as the rarest of all). You can then purchase Venom from the in-game Eternity Splinter Vendor in the player hubs when he comes out, and the player community estimates that he'll cost 600 splinters.

Read The New Avengers, Volume 1: Breakout to witness the Death of Carnage
Sorry for the low graphics quality. My graphics card isn't the best.

If you can't wait to play as Venom, though, you can always fight against him. Venom first shows up as a non-interactive NPC during the Raft breakout tutorial zone as you get to watch Eddie take advantage of the breakout to rebond with the symbiote and escape. Then in Chapter 1, if you head into the Police Station in the open Hell's Kitchen map, you'll trigger the "Symbiote Infestation" mission in which you see yet another brief cutscene of Venom making his escape to leave you with symbiote-infested civilians. After that, you can fight Venom as an instanced boss in the Storage Yard of Chapter 2 and in Midtown Manhattan, and as a special boss fight in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Holo-Sim. Take it from a fellow Venomaniac: it's very satisfying to fight him.

Read classic Venom tales on Comixology for your Android and Apple devices

As one last note, you can get a summonable Team-Up Hero of the Back in Black (non-symbiote) Spider-Man to fight beside you in battle, but there is a rather expensive catch: you can only attain him through the Mark VI Fortune Cards (100 Gs each) as either a rare drop or from collecting 95 Armor Tech Blueprints (with a 1:1 drop ratio per Mark VI Fortune Card)—so that's either a $95 purchase or a really lucky Fortune Card. Yeesh.

That's all of the symbiote goodness Marvel Heroes 2015 has to offer right now. Only Venom and the Symbiote Spider-Man costume are the symbiotes currently featured in the game, and there is no ETA on any other symbiote character cameos. Still: when Venom finally arrives as a playable character, it's going to be EPIC. Sound off below! Will you be getting Venom when he becomes available? Were you one of the lucky few to purchase the enhanced Symbiote Spider-Man costume? What do you think of Venom as a boss in the game? As always, check back every Friday for a new dose!

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