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    dkirschner's Champions Online (PC)

    [October 12, 2010 07:57:03 AM]
    Tried out this Champions Online demo that's the beginner section through level 5 or 6. Champions Online is a superhero themed MMO. It's been a long time since I played a superhero game, but I remember watching Daniel play City of Heroes off and on for a summer maybe 5 years ago. It was certainly novel just for that, and I was wondering whether or not it was just MMO as usual with a cel-shaded superhero skin. I'm still unsure, but I saw some unusual things going on that set it apart from the majority.

    First of all, character creation is amazing. There are no classes. You completely customize your character, including every facet of their appearance you can think of. Characters appear truly individual. I made the biggest, fattest man with the smallest head and the biggest chin, deer antlers, reptile fins, and blue and yellow lightning patterned tights. I named him Unpossible and he was pretty funny to look at. I saw demon-type characters in-game, some generic looking female and male superheroes, and several modeled and named after popular characters like Preacher. And you also customize your skills. You can choose a set 'archetype' like Lightning or Brawler or Telekinesis, or you can just build your own. I took something like the Engineer archetype, so my two abilities to start were to channel a ray gun, and then use a charge attack for a big ray gun blast.

    Abilities were interesting. You can either 'tap' the hotkey, 'maintain' it or one other one...maybe just push. My two abilities were maintained, like charge abilities. Instead of just pushing 1 to shoot my gun, I hold it down to channel it. When you use your channeling type ability, it builds the blue bar, energy of some type, and you use your more powerful ability to blast the enemy with the energy that builds up. Pretty neat, but got a little boring by 5 levels, especially when you don't get any new abilities until after the first mission, which is after level 5. I also had some trouble with buttons responding. Holding the hotkey didn't always channel correctly and there were a lot of hiccups like this. One irritating thing was interacting with NPCs. Instead of just right- or left-clicking like any normal game, Champions's default is Z. It's kind of awkward, but you can't just push Z either. You've got to move close enough and wait for this context box to pop up that tells you to push Z. Then you can push Z. And if you cancel the interaction, the context menu won't just pop up again. You have to run out of range of the NPC first, then run back in and make it pop again.

    The art is pretty cool, looks very superhero comic-style, cel-shaded, colorful, nice animations. There are lots of destructible objects and tossable objects, like lampposts, cars, mailboxes, and so on. It was fun uprooting lamps and hurling them at enemies. The objects are a little hard to target. It's the same as with the NPCs. You can see your icon change from far away, but the icon's got to be on a very specific spot on the object, and so you'll see the icon change far away, run closer, the icon disappears because you moved the mouse a little, then try to find it again. Not a huge issue, and I'm sure something anyone would get used to, but just weird selecting objects.

    Quests were basic kill this and fetch that, just set in the context of an alien invasion. The tutorial area though was pretty neat. Instead of your typical "Go kill some boars. Great, go kill some level 2 boars now" the first 5 levels Millennium City is under alien invasion! They've cordoned off the city with a forcefield and are destroying everything. It's up to the superheroes to save the citizens, help the police, and stop the mastermind behind the invasion. The game is very action-oriented, almost made me feel like I wasn't playing an MMO because it wasn't so slow and lifeless in the beginning. It reminds me of Warhammer Online in this regard. There are alien ships shooting lasers overhead, the constant sight of the forcefield in the distance, aliens running all over the streets attacking citizens, police holed up in alleys, ambulance sirens wailing, people shouting. The atmosphere was great.

    Near the end of the trial, you participate in an open quest, which is like the public quests in Warhammer, where anyone nearby can join in. In this case, you have to defend a giant cannon from an assault so it can remain operational and hold aliens off a critical human area. Then you go into a personal instance to meet an NPC superhero. He reveals the mastermind villain behind the invasion and the two of you take him on together. Afterward, you take a quest called "It's a Celebration!" and when you exit where the super villain was, the police, the mayor, every person you did a quest for, are all lined up cheering for you and standing at attention. The NPC citizens you helped all start telling each other what you did for them, like "He saved my little Timmy!" and "He got my travel documents back so I can catch my flight to Canada!" It was pretty neat. Then you get a choice to go to Canada or the Southwest US desert to fight some more mutants and stuff if you buy the game.

    Neat tutorial, neat demo, superhero thing is intriguing. Oh, and I got to look through the abilities at level 5 even though I couldn't buy one. You can spend ability points to fly, get rocket boots, burrow and travel underground, and like 10 other travel powers. I wouldn't buy it because it doesn't seem like too deep of a game and I'm not real into comics or superheros, but it looks like it would be fun.
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    dkirschner's Champions Online (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 10 October, 2010

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 12 October, 2010

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Superhero comic-style MMO for a change. It's quirky and entertaining so far. Character customization is best I've ever seen.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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