Is Marvel Rivals Worth the Hype?

Big Marvel gaming news this week is the announcement of Marvel Rivals, a new 6v6 hero shooter from NetEase... Stalingrad | 2. April 2024

Big Marvel gaming news this week is the announcement of Marvel Rivals, a new 6v6 hero shooter from NetEase Games. The trailer showcases the Overwatch-style action-packed gameplay – with Marvel characters Spider-Man, Hulk along with Scarlet Witch battling it out with specialized powers in locations such as the X-Mansion.

The concept sounds great on paper – who would want to play their favorite Marvel characters in an Overwatch competitive game? It would be great to be able to web-sling as Spider-Man or smash stuff like the Hulk at other players online.

Gameplay Footage Doesn’t Live Up to Expectations


But based on the real gameplay footage shown so far, many fans are now afraid that Marvel Rivals will be another Overwatch clone that adds nothing new to the hero shooter genre. After watching that reveal trailer, let us go over the pros and cons:

The Pros:

  • Marvel’s plethora of heroes and villains to potentially play as.
  • Destructible environments (like the X-Mansion) look great
  • Combine ultimate powers (teased as Spider-Man 1and1 Black Widow merging powers)
  • Marvel could use more Addictive 6v6 hero shooter gameplay.

The downsides:

  • Gameplay looks extremely jittery, janky, and rough around the edges
  • Skills such as Hulk’s ground smash are almost identical to current Overwatch Abilities.
  • Character movement and shooting mechanics feel stiff and unforgiving.
  • Art style and overall graphics look dated and last-gen already.

A Cheap Overwatch Duplicate?


In essence, Marvel Rivals risks being another clunky, uninspired Overwatch knock-off rather than an AAA title that serves the Marvel universe right. The concept itself is intriguing but from that gameplay trailer it looks like execution so far has been lackluster.

Of course, this is still an early alpha build months away from 2024’s release, so bear with us. But first gameplay reveals are so important these days for anticipation and hype. And to be honest, that Marvel Rivals trailer hit me a little bit thud.

Hero Shooter Potential?

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There’s definitely still potential here if the developers at NetEase really fine tune the gameplay and visuals over the next year. But even with the Marvel brand on board, I’m skeptical this hero shooter can really compete in today’s highly competitive arena.

Moment-to-moment gameplay and online multiplayer are where hero shooters live and die. Look at how even AAA AAA title Overwatch 2 has struggled recently with toxicity, lack of updates and stagnant player counts.

Marvel Rivals has to nail the fundamental shooting, movement, and ability mechanics to death while also releasing regular content updates (such as heroes, maps, and modes) if it is to be successful. That trailer certainly didn’t exude confidence on either of those qualities at launch.

Who Is An Esports Contender?

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What worries me also is the esports’ potential and longevity of this game. Given Marvel’s mainstream popularity and acclaim behind it five years ago, a Marvel take on Overwatch could have easily been positioned as the next big esports. But in 2024 I’m not convinced a mid-grade hero shooter like this has any real chance at breaking into the top-tier competitive field anymore.

The attention spans of modern gamers are so short, and the esports ecosystem is already saturated with established shooters such as Valorant and Overwatch 2 still occupying the top spot. Without some truly groundbreaking new gameplay mechanics or systems, Marvel Rivals could be nothing more than a hipster, flash-in-the-pan live service game that dies after a year.

Cautious Optimism?

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Having said that, there are some merits to being cautiously optimistic regarding this particular project. Historically, Marvel games have stumbled quality-wise, but Marvel’s Midnight Suns was a welcome step in the right direction critically last year. And you can never go wrong with playing as your favorite Marvel superheroes like never before in a competitive multiplayer title, for sure.

NetEase also has plenty of free-to-play gaming experience under its belt already, so the monetization and live ops aspects could keep Marvel Rivals well-supported if it finds even a small following.

Final Verdict

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But ultimately, as a huge Marvel fan who loves hero shooters, I really hope the developers get my initial misgivings right and deliver some serious upgrades on the graphics, gunplay, and innovation front before launch. Because honestly, the idea of an Overwatch-style Marvel game sounds amazing on paper.

But from what we’ve seen so far, Marvel Rivals appears to be arriving 5 years late to the hero shooter bash. It’ll need much more than the Marvel brand to differentiate itself from the sea of this genre’s competition.

We’ll see if it’s got what it takes with the free alpha on PC this May. I’ll definitely be going hands-on to see if Marvel Rivals can be a surprise hit or just a generic clone guaranteed to get buried under the big boys.