Summary: Greetings citizen! Now stand aside, this is a job for SuperGameReviewerMan! Who else could tackle the mighty task of grappling with the complexities and appeal of a MMORPG like City of Heroes? So don your vaguely homoerotic skintight outfit, pick a corny name and get ready to read... er... ok, in the words of Jon Stewart: I got nuthin'.
City of Heroes came out of nowhere and, in my opinion, has broadsided the MMO market. For the first time in a massively multiplayer game, the combat is really exciting. Fighting multiple opponents is not only challenging and fun, but a necessity, and this, my friends, is a good thing.
So, can a game like City of Heroes make it in the massively overcrowded online world? Absolutely. This game, after all is said and done, has the most potential of any MMO outside of World of Warcraft. The second game from Cryptic, City of Villains, is supposed to offer PvP with magnificent heroes fighting against diabolical villains. You get to choose which you are, naturally, and either start off as a low level scrub cleaning the streets or dirtying them. How can that go wrong?
As for whatís available now, thereís tons of gameplay and fast paced fun to be had while flying through the city and striking fear into the hearts of evildoers. Striking magnificent poses on rooftops right before you sail down upon your unsuspecting prey. Who knew that wearing tights could be so fun!
Learning the ropes, I mean websÖ er, whatever.
The most interesting thing to happen in this game is that when you first step onto the streets of Liberty City, you feel like a hero. When you thwart the schemes of a few street toughs who are robbing a woman and she comes back to thank you, it makes you feel like a million bucks. Of course, when they mash your face in, you donít feel like so much. Maybe a buck seventy-five or so, but thatís all part of being a hero, baby!
However, before you start roughing guys up, you have to make yourself a hero! The character creation in CoH is amazing on every level. You start at what kind of background you have and progress all the way to customizing your look, which has an amazing amount of options, and writing your history and personal battle cry. This game has an incredible amount of personalization options, another first for the MMO community.
As mentioned before, the action in City of Heroes is quite intense. Itís not like a fighting game, but itís as close as a MMO has produced to date. You get new powers on a fairly regular basis, which allows the game to stay fresh. Not only do you get to choose from a list of powers decided by you in your background but you have access to the general power category which includes such abilities as flight and super speed. You could make a character that combines Dolemite with the Flash, which is frightening and beautiful all at the same time.
Combat in City of Heroes ranges from leaping, building to building, to thwart bad guys on the street to taking on sect of villains in there own hideouts. When faced with a group of thugs you can take them all on at once or use certain powers to subdue others while you POW and ThwoK!! the ones closest to you. The action is fast-paced and the fists and energy beams are flying everywhere. Every villain fears you and every kid wants to be you. Life is good.
The missions that were mentioned before are instanced for you or your group of friends, so you donít have to worry about overcrowding. Donít you hate it when you want to help a few goons ďsee the lightĒ and some other bozo in matching leotards beats you to it? No worries about that, these goons are all yours for your own little private boot party. The missions are also one of the coolest aspects of the game. They range from burned out warehouses to sewers to skyscrapers and all of them are a blast.
Just the tights maíam
Grouping aside, you can also make super groups, you know, kind of like the superfriends except that you really donít have to be that friendly. You could be the super-duper-mean-guys if you wanted. When you make a super group, you of course choose the name and such, but you can also choose the colors of the team outfits. You can change into your team outfits before taking on crime so that everyone knows you can coordinate color as well as feed thugs your fist.
All of these things add up to a whole bunch of fun, but of course every game has its flaws. The only real nitpick for City of Heroes is the tedium, as is the problem with most MMOs. After blasting your millionth bad guy, you may find that itís not as fun as it once was. Though, thankfully, Cryptic is doing a pretty good job of adding content as the game progresses. With enough color and excitement you may not notice the grind thatís inherently a part of all massive multiplayer games. This can be a hindrance, but itís definitely not a reason to avoid a game thatís this enjoyable right out of the gates.
Whatís under the crime-mobiles hood?
Liberty City is a very attractive place. Itís not a modern marvel (get it, Marvel! HAH!) of graphical magic but itís definitely stylish and clean. Depending on the section of the city you go to, you can expect a certain level of decay. Some areas will have things blowing along the streets and leaves falling from the trees whereas others will be squeaky clean and well lit. The scenery in CoH ranges from metropolitan to downright apocalyptic.
The heroes and costumes are pretty great overall. Itís fun to run through the city and just stare at all the different vigilantes roaming the streets. The villains are pretty dynamite overall as well. From the Fifth Column down to the Hellions, they all have a different and fun look. The bosses are, well, pretty boss (pun intended), and are very imaginative and a load of fun. On occasion, youíll be wandering down the street and bump into some crazy stuff. Every now and then, youíll see a guy with a TV on his head preaching to a mass of crazies that will, inevitably, want to kill you.
The sound is workable, itís nothing to write home about, but it definitely does the job. The sound effects for the powers are pretty good, which is fortunate because there really arenít all that many sounds in the game. The city has ambient sounds and the soundtrack is pretty decent as well. The enemies, depending on who they are, make different sounds as well. For instance, the clockworks make mechanical sounds (I wonder why). Itís not that the game has poor sound, itís just that it doesnít have enough sound.
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