Thursday, 1 October 2009
Bootae goes on a Spandex Frenzy
As for the mobs you’re fighting, shock horror, they’re the usual MMO fare. Shortsighted, deaf and stupid… where do they get these villains? Brain taxing it’s not.
I thought PvP in CoH/V sucked royally so this couldn’t get worse and from what I’ve seen so far it hasn’t, but it’s not even close to dripping with uberness either. PvP so far has just been cage fighting. Compared with WAR it’s laughable, but it’s not trying to be meaningful, it’s just something to fool about in. Seriously, don’t expect much from it and it you may find it mildly amusing now and then. If you want some amusement, read the official forums and see the whining about power set balance. LOL! As if it matters in this game :P If you’re playing CO for serious PvP, then tbh you probably need your head examined.
Graphics... You will love them or hate them. Cell shading is not everyone’s cup of tea, though I’m told you can change the settings quite a lot and make it look more traditional. I’ve not tried changing it much myself; so don’t take that as gospel. I like the look of the game myself, visuals are very smooth and it does feel like being in a comic book. It also runs extremely well on my PC with fairly high graphic settings (for reference my basic spec is: Quad Core Intel 6600, 4gb RAM and a GTX260 gfx card, so nothing special). Barely any lag and high frames per second, regardless of how many unique looking characters are next to me firing off big spell effects… A lesson for a certain other game perhaps…
XP loss on death is gone. In most MMOs I denounce the lack of consequence, but this game is, in my mind anyway, a much more casual MMO. Being able to play very casually and not having to worry about something going wrong, means exploring is much more forgiving and also makes levelling an entirely more relaxing experience.
Which is what I see this game as. A relaxing experience to mess about with. It’s not a serious full time MMO, it’s still just a load of PvE grinding and basic instancing, but it works really well as a secondary game. I’m much more likely to keep this active playing it on the side, than I would be if it was my only or full time MMO. And this is the key to me liking Champions Online. Accepting that this is not a game to compete with your subscription to WoW, WAR, Aion or whatever floats your boat, will make a huge difference to how much pleasure you get from Champions.
Now then, now then! I need to temper my enthusiasm with a major concern. I’ve not seen the end game content yet and won’t do for a long time, however there is one thing already very noticeable and a puzzling dev decision. There are bugger all different zones in the game. That does not bode well for longevity at all and I suspect there is real risk of people getting bored before they get to level 40. The zones are pretty good and quite large, with more variety in their theme as you get further into them, but at times they’re a little lacking in atmosphere and on occassion feel like the collection of spawn points that they are. Millenium City is probably the best I’ve seen, particularly when you’re down at street level. Flying above it makes the buildings look a bit boxy, but once you’re in the streets throwing lamp posts at people, it gets a lot more involving. I don’t think it really compares with the atmospheric impact of zones from other games; places like Praag, Salisbury Plains, Zangamarsh, Feralas, Connaught Valley, etc. Those are zones with real character; where as Champions Online’s Canada and the Desert often feel rather sterile in comparison. That said, there are golden moments to be found. Leaping to mind is the Westworld influenced robot cowboy town in the desert, which was a real classic.
In fairness, I’m only in the mid levels. The game could have as of yet unseen depths and perhaps I’m doing it a disservice calling it’s instancing basic. I won’t know for a good while. What I do know is regardless of that; I can play this in short bursts, care free and have fun. That is no bad thing.
For a mere £17.99 from play.com I would say Champions Online is well worth trying out. If you measure the cost against playtime, then you’ll get your moneys worth just making and messing about with characters. Is the game worth subscribing to long term? I honestly don’t know. For me in the short-term yes it is, but beyond that? Hmm. Impossible to say. But I’m not worrying about that, because right now if WAR is quiet or I need a change of pace, then I can log on to CO, leap buildings in a single bound, throw forklift trucks at baddies and swing through the streets like spiderman… with a machine gun and bunny ears.
Plus I have to say; there is one huge selling point. I’ve got a super sexy vixen of a super hero that shoots lasers from her boobs. Now that is classy…