EVERCORE Heroes preview: Much more than a MOBA

EVERCORE Heroes preview: Much more than a MOBA
Images courtesy of Vela Games

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes


9th May 2023 14:00

"EVERCORE Heroes is not a MOBA," Vela Games CEO and Co-Founder Travis George said in a press release announcing the studio's debut game.

He's not wrong (and also notes it's not an MMO or a loot grind), but you'd be forgiven for expecting as much when looking at a still image. That's because EVERCORE Heroes certainly looks like a MOBA, with an isometric perspective and UI elements that'll be familiar to fans of League of Legends or DOTA.

The good news, particularly if you're allergic to that particular genre like I am, is that EVERCORE Heroes offers a similar hook, but is much more enjoyable in smaller doses while maintaining a competitive edge.

Luuming threats

EVERCORE Heroes is a tricky game to describe without making it sound like a bizarre Frankenstein's monster amalgam of other titles that have come before, but it moulds each piece together with such panache that it makes it harder to spot the stitches and seams.

Evercore Heroes screenshot showing Kru Mines combat alongside enemy wisps
Click to enlarge

It's got the hero-based character abilities and isometric perspective of a MOBA, the ability to slay mobs a la Diablo and even a boss-rush mode that feels like an MMO raid encounter. Add in a microdose of Destiny 2's Gambit mode when players break the rhythm of other teams with items that affect the opposition (albeit with less direct interaction) and there's an excellent pace to each match.

Setting out in a squad of four, players power up their chosen character by slaying beasts and collecting gold, earning Shards to unlock powerful abilities. Some of these shards are in the possession of toughened bosses that can shred unorganised teams, and there are several mid-match trials called Luum Rush events that see teams compete to earn Luum to power up the titular Evercore.

Evercore Heroes screenshot showing the Moxy Treetops map ahead of a Luum Rush event
Click to enlarge

These tend to boil down to territory control, but each occurs on a different map to your opponents' own instance. Completing the objective earns more Luum, and the more Luum you have, the more damage your Evercore can take.

At set points, you'll need to defend your Evercore from an assault from a menagerie of monsters, and once one team falls, the round begins anew with three teams.

Holding out for a Hero

Evercore Heroes screenshot showing the Moxy Treetops map
Click to enlarge

To be in with a chance of seeing out that first round you'll need to learn to use your array of Hero-based abilities.

Each character falls into either a Tank, DPS, or Support role, and I gravitated towards Fyn, a huge shield-wielding Tank that loves to burst into battle.

Those roles are crucial to solid team composition, and the dev team suggested one Tank, two DPS, and one Support as the optimal setup.

Our first round ended in an early elimination, but once we found our feet (read: once I found my feet) we pushed through in a second match and made it to the final two.

Evercore Heroes screenshot showing the Kru Mines map
Click to enlarge

At this point, those roles become even more important because the game becomes a boss fight that features unique mechanics per map. Fighting a huge beast that can unleash a laser beam makes for a great test for Fyn's huge shield on the Kru Mines, for example, but the Moxy Treetops map rewards even more aggressive play as it can send enemies over to our opposition's map.

While burning through the boss takes time and plenty of ability use, it's also a dexterity test, too. Just as you'd expect in a World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV raid or dungeon, there are telegraphed attacks to dodge, and at certain points, you'll trigger "skill checks" which involve standing on certain plates (at least in the Kru Mines map).

Doing so can cause a big swing of momentum, with the team that performs best getting a damage buff. That means it's possible to pull ahead at the last minute and plays into EVERCORE Heroes' excellent pacing.

Each match flew by during our preview, and after each one, I was itching to jump back in with new tactical considerations even on the same character - making the prospect of digging deeper into its roster a very appealing one indeed.

Final Thoughts

EVERCORE Heroes may be a mash-up of genres that sounds tricky to pigeonhole, but spending time with it made each component just click.

It's offering plenty of tactical depth, a vibrant world, and the potential for some huge, big-brain plays - and I'd recommend checking out the beta.

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