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E3 First Impressions

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Bill and I stopped by the Gazillion meeting room during E3 to check out NetDevil’s Jumpgate Evolution and The Amazing Society’s Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. Bill covered the former in an earlier published article, so let’s take a look at Super Hero Squad Online today.

I spoke to The Amazing Society’s Director of Games Jay Minn and Studio Manager Jason Robar to find out what exactly Marvel Super Hero Squad Online was and why we should be looking forward to it. For the uninitiated, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, henceforth abbreviated SHSO, is a new MMO being published by Gazillion Entertainment and developed by The Amazing Society. SHSO is based on Marvel’s popular Super Hero Squad toy line and television series and is directed at a generally younger audience. The game features a vibrant and colorful art style, extremely simplistic and intuitive controls, and a truly tongue-in-cheek presentation. The game doesn’t take itself seriously; it’s all about having fun, and even poking fun at itself.

The objective of the game is to collect as many of the game’s heroes (and possibly villains!) as one can to amass an awe-inspiring selection of characters to show off to your friends and bring on missions. Each character features unique abilities, and while they all top off in progression at a fairly low ceiling, there are tons and tons of characters to collect. Variations as simple as a different costume constitute as a new character. For example, Symbiote Spiderman is an entirely different character than regular Spiderman, same goes for Ironman and his many suits.

Our demo started off at the Daily Bugle, one of the game’s many social hubs, where you can explore, engage in various mini-games, and little off-shoot challenges, and of course socialize with your friends, sort of. Since this is a family friendly game, The Amazing Society doesn’t allow characters to communicate with each other outside of the many humorous emotes that are available to players as they level up. Adults who play will have the option to exchange friend codes outside of the game that enable the chat function, and the game will feature a robust set of parental controls to keep the experience safe for kids. If your character can fly, you can fly around the game using pre-designated flight points, so there isn’t a free-flying feature currently available in the game, however Jay said that they were exploring the idea.

Speaking of controls, the game’s controls are ridiculously simple and easy to use. You can do everything with just the mouse and the spacebar, though they are looking to offer advanced WASD controls in the future. Clicking down the left mouse button and pointing in a direction moves your character while pressing spacebar jumps. That’s it.

Once we were done goofing around in the social hub, Jay took us for a tour of one of the game’s action areas to do a mission. Here, up to four players can cooperate to tackle instanced missions, and you are limited to selecting a single character for the duration of the mission, whereas you can switch characters freely while in a social hub. Combat, like your basic movement controls, is also a fairly simple affair. You click an enemy with the left mouse button to fire off a series of consecutive attacks, with each click resulting in different animations for up to five unique moves. Each attack powers up an energy meter which is comprised of stars. Once the meter is filled you can fire off a special attack using the right mouse button to oftentimes hilarious effects, and you can equip different special moves as well. One of the more humorous special moves was Ironman’s mez attack, which involved him rocking out to some loud tunes and stunning everyone around him, similar to what we saw in the game’s debut trailer. Much of the environment can be weaponized as well; as players can throw barrels and such at enemies to deal damage.

The team couldn’t talk about too much other than a number of the game’s basic features, and this includes their pricing model plans, but they assured me this is just the beginning and we’d be hearing more as we get deeper into the show season.

Marvel Super Hero Squad Online is set to launch in early 2010, with beta scheduled for later this Fall.


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB