Marvel Heroes was having such a great year. After a top-to-bottom reworking, the game launched on both PS4 and Xbox One, bringing the hit online action/RPG to two whole new audiences. New heroes and villains joined the roster; new costumes and events sprang up every time there was a Marvel movie or TV show to tie into. The future looked bright.
Then, weird things started happening. The Fantastic Four all but disappeared from the game. There were no in-game special events associated with Thor: Ragnarok. The usually garrulous devs were strangely uncommunicative. By the time word came down from on high that Marvel Heroes would soon shut down, fans weren't surprised.
However, they were surprised when Gazillion ran out of money and had to shut down its servers suddenly, rather than at the end of December 2017. If you've suddenly been thrust into a Marvel Heroes-less existence and need something to fill the aching void, stat, consider this handful of similar games.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
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In terms of gameplay, Diablo II was the direct forerunner of Marvel Heroes (especially since the two titles shared a prominent designer in David Brevik.) Diablo II still holds up, but if you were playing Marvel Heroes instead of Diablo III, the time has come to make the jump. Diablo III got off to a rocky start, with an in-game auction house that exacerbated the stingy equipment drops. By the time the Reaper of Souls expansion came out, though, Blizzard had cleaned up the game, bringing it back to the story-driven lootfest that fans know and love. With seven classes and lots of postgame content, Diablo III can be your new time-sink.
DC Universe Online
Marvel's MMO has gone the way of Gwen Stacy (too soon?), but the game's DC counterpart is still up and running. DC Universe Online is a thoroughly decent online RPG for PS4 and PC that stars, you guessed it, the heroes of the Distinguished Competition universe. Unlike in Marvel Heroes, you won't control an established superhero, but rather, a unique one whom you can customize with a variety of visual templates and powers. When Brainiac conquers the world, Lex Luthor travels back in time to empower a whole new generation of superheroes and supervillains to fight back. You'll experience a totally original story and team up with characters like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Joker.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Marvel Heroes was something of a spiritual successor to the Ultimate Alliance series: a duology of action/RPGs that let you combine four Marvel superheroes of your choice into the crossover team of your dreams. While the games are much lighter on equipment than Marvel Heroes is, they still have multiplayer capabilities, letting you play with up to three of your friends, either on the couch or online. The games were hard to find for a spell, but Activision recently remastered them for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Better still, Ultimate Alliance combines heroes from the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-Man worlds, unlike newer games that tend to keep the franchises separated.
The heroes in Freedom Force aren't technically Marvel personalities, but you'll recognize them instantly if you've picked up a comic book sometime in the past 70 years. Minuteman? Captain America. Alchemiss? The Scarlet Witch. Man-Bot? Vision. El Diablo? The Human Torch. The game's tongue-in-cheek tone isn't an outright parody, though; it's a heartfelt homage to all things Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. You'll create a team of superheroes, level up their abilities and guide them through a story that's inspired by the pulp classics of the Silver Age. You can even create your own hero to throw into the mix.
Lego Marvel Superheroes
The Lego Marvel games have been hit-or-miss so far, but the first Lego Marvel Superheroes was a Hulk-size, smashing success. There are hundreds of blocky minifig superheroes to choose from, including Iron Man, Wolverine, Captain America, the Thing, Thor, Spider-Man and Black Widow — and that's just on the cover art. (You can even unlock Stan Lee himself.) Like with other Lego games, you'll work your way through levels by solving simple building puzzles, fighting off faceless goons (and occasionally bigger boss characters) and collecting massive amounts of studs, which you can exchange for new heroes and costumes. Best of all, the game features an open-world New York City as a hub level, with tons to do beyond the main story.