My Experience in the Marvel Rivals Closed Alpha Test

hello world!
Ben Hazell
| June 8, 2024
hello world!

When I first saw Marvel Rivals, I thought the same thing as everyone else did at the time: “Oh, it’s Overwatch with Marvel characters”. But when you look past the surface level and play the game, Marvel Rivals becomes an entirely different beast altogether. Marvel Rivals operates on an interesting thought process. It takes everything that made Overwatch 1 fun and improves on it in new and fresh ways.

Marvel Rivals is a 6 v 6 team battle arena game. It is marketed as a shooter, as all characters have a ranged attack of some regard. Characters are taken directly from the Marvel Universe, and each has a fresh coat of paint to match the game’s aesthetic. Multiverse law is in effect, with the game’s mascot being Galacta, a little-known non-canon child of Galactus. She takes the place of the announcer. While there are threads of an overarching story and plot points, these were not very present in the Alpha.

Announcer and mascot Galacta, probably the perfect fusion of Marvel and Overwatch aesthetics.

The goal of the game varies depending on the game mode. At times, you’re pushing an objective; at others, you’re battling over a command point. Teams are placed onto attack or defense, and matches will usually result in teams engaging in combat with each other, trying to gain the upper hand to win team-based fights or close combat fights down side routes. Aiming and precision are key for some characters, but others can use abilities to create wide and interesting attacks that don’t require good aim.

Every character is unbalanced in the right hands. And that level of strength is mirrored across all characters. Starlord has the ability to melt larger characters with his quick-fire handguns; Hulk can withstand damage and brawl effectively, and Luna Snow can heal allies and herself while still dealing worthwhile damage. Every character in this game provides at least one aspect of damage dealing and one of support. What those forms take is related to the character. However, I often found that each hero is over-tuned in at least one aspect. What this leaves us with is this feeling of characters being unfair, but perhaps that’s okay because your character is also unfair.

Team ups are the game’s signature mechanic

For example, Black Panther excels in one-on-one combat, gaining more damage as they take hits. But when facing a group, he dies too fast to be effective. Storm has the ability to buff her team, but she is constantly flying and stands out far more than other characters when she takes action. Spider-Man is incredibly hard to hit as he zips around the field but cannot deal substantial damage, meaning you have to plan in advance how much damage to deal and then escape quickly.

Capture the point gameplay is a giant funnel

Some of the most memorable moments from the Alpha were Scarlet Witch exploding, killing five people numerous times, Rocket Racoon consistently reviving his team, making efforts near futile, and Luna Snow making people immortal from the back lines, including herself. There is also the ever-present fear of being melted should you walk in front of three characters with a low HP character. And finally, the team-up mechanic which ranges from ineffective and strange to funny levels of broken with the likes of Magneto and Scarlet Witch providing the player with an infinite range melee attack that deals a bit too much damage.

Doctor Strange’s shield protects from a lot but he can’t attack during it

So, in conclusion, Marvel Rivals is shaping up to be a game that brings back the glory days of Overwatch that have long since been taken away. The designs are flawless, and character mechanics seem to be very well thought out, even if a little generic for this type of game. I would liken it to Overwatch and Valorants’ baby that got into Marvel movies in a big way. Time will tell to see if this game can take the reins as the premier Team shooter, but honestly, with how hard Overwatch 2 is tanking its own goodwill, this game may just take its place as a game that actively puts fun before balance or meta definitions.

The game recently got announced for consoles and is entering a Closed Beta phase in July.

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