Heroes Evolved Review
More LOL Than LoL
The world of MOBAs is in the same place today as MMOs were about five years ago, where one game in the genre has become so successful that, rather than building on its basic premise and doing something original, most competitors seem content with making their own minor variations on the tried-and-tested formula. Many games have found out the hard way, giving people what is inevitably an inferior version of a game they already like is a poor strategy. As such, when reviewing a new MOBA, it seems reasonable to focus less on pure gameplay mechanics, and more on the question: what reason do I have to put any time into this when I can just as well put it into LoL?
Heroes Evolved, like most would-be usurpers of Riot’s throne before it, fails to provide such a reason. In fact, with its poor quality design, apparently small player base, and an in-game economy that reeks suspiciously of pay-to-win, Heroes Evolved is easily the least tempting of all reasons one may have to abandon the most-played game in the world.
In case you’ve never played League of Legends or any of its copycats, here’s a quick description of Heroes Evolved‘s mechanics, as well as those of most MOBAs: two teams of five unique characters face off on a symmetrical map, with bases positioned on opposite corners of the screen. This map is divided into three lanes, top, middle and bottom, with turrets placed in set locations on either side of an imaginary line of demarcation, causing massive damage to any character from the opposite team that comes close enough unprotected. In between these lanes lies a territory called the jungle, populated by NPC monsters that players can kill to gain money and various buffs.
The goal of the game is to destroy the enemy’s base – specifically called the Aegis here. To this end, players must first clear a path to the enemy base by destroying turrets. Since turrets will mercilessly rip even the strongest characters to shreds, a distraction is required. This comes in the form of minions, weak NPCs that mindlessly rush forward and attack enemy champions, minions, and turrets. Each game, therefore, begins with each team attempting to dispatch of enemy minions and using its own minions as a cover to destroy enemy turrets, thus eventually allowing a concentrated attack on the rival Aegis. Killing minions also nets money, which in turn is used to buy equipment that enhances character traits and abilities, which is vital for success later in a match when focus shifts from destroying turrets to full-on team fights.
“Personally, between League‘s popularity, DotA 2‘s technical complexity, and Battlerite‘s simplified combat, I can’t fathom what niche HE is expecting to carve out for itself.”
There are also other game modes, but let’s face it, barely anyone ever plays those.
Most of my team-fights ended with me mercilessly slaughtering the enemy team. You could imagine this is because I am a badass MOBA veteran, but if you’ve ever faced me in League of Legends, you should know this isn’t the case. The more likely explanation is that – failing to find sufficiently many players to confront me with – Heroes Evolved unceremoniously tossed me into a bot match. This is a widely reported problem with the game: there simply aren’t enough players for efficient matchmaking to take place, and as such, most matches become trivial and boring. I’ve actually seen ‘players’ standing in the same spot for long stretches of time, waiting for me to act and presumably feel very badass about my performance.
This isn’t the only way in which Heroes Evolved seems to be trying to swindle players. Although I’m only a very casual League player, I have a ton of respect for how much effort Riot invests in its flagship title, and how loyal a following it has gained as a result. I have friends who have been playing the game for years without spending a single dollar, and other friends who have spent thousands of dollars on heroes, skins, and merchandise, purely out of a desire to support the game.
In this regard, Heroes Evolved is almost upsetting in its avarice. I’ve never had a problem buying a hero with League‘s free currency, and yet HE has heroes that, seemingly, one can currently only play by participating in VIP matches, access to which depends on making purchases with real money. This is unparalleled in the world of mainstream MOBAs, with none of the pedigree that would lead one to consider tolerating such practices in other games.
If it seems like I spent much more of this review talking about League of Legends than about Heroes Evolved, it’s only because the game constantly invites these comparisons. It constantly apes League, down to many of the actual characters, and yet expects to find a place of its own in the MOBA world. Personally, between League‘s popularity, DotA 2‘s technical complexity, and Battlerite‘s simplified combat, I can’t fathom what niche HE is expecting to carve out for itself.
With no personality of its own, I do not see it becoming any easier to find a non-bot match in Heroes Evolved anytime soon.