City of Heroes - PC - Preview 2
Faster than a running hellion, more powerful than a fly-enclosed cadaver’s icky ranged attacks, able to leap small walls and fences in a single bound … look! It’s not up in the sky, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s YOU!
Yes indeed, boys and girls, fans of all ages, time to don the tights and cape, stand tall, hands on hips, chest forward and proclaim …
Well, anything you want – after all, you are the superhero and the call is yours to come up with.
Cryptic Studios and NCsoft are currently in beta with the superhero massively multiplayer online role-playing game known as City of Heroes. The game is slated for release in late April (currently it is April 27), and if there was ever an MMP with broad appeal, this would be it. GameZone was invited into the beta and humbly (a trait every superhero should have, along with the ability to wisecrack) took the leap into this amazing world where superheroes are numerous and crime is more so.
City of Heroes is the type of game that will most certainly appeal to those who grew up watching the Justice League or Fantastic Four or the tales of Spiderman or Batman on television, for devotees of comic books, or anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to have superhuman powers at your command.
Each character is customizable and you can truly create an avatar that will not look like or perform like others. The odds of that happening are very minute.
The game begins in the character creation area. You select one of five origins for your avatar – natural, science, mutation, technology and magic. These fundamental origins of your powers are the cornerstone upon which players will base their skills and storyline in this world. For example, should your on-screen persona be founded in magic, you will find yourself going against more magical villains.
After you pick the origin, you have to select you archetype – blaster, controller, defender, scrapper and tanker. These run the gamut from ranged attacks to healers to melee machines. You can customize the general physical appearance, but the real fun starts in creating your costume. The possibilities in this realm are seemingly limitless. When done, you can enter the world and take the tutorial, which will guide you through the rudiments of combat, navigation and your contacts, as well as using the power-ups you can find along the way.
Once you are ready, it’s time to walk the path of the superhero, and enter Paragon City. The city is in the recovery phase of an alien invasion. The Rikti have certainly left their mark on the city, not on physically, but in unleashing mayhem. Villains abound, and they come in all sorts of vile forms.
There are missions, and as you accrue experience points, you can gain new powers. The further along you get, the tougher the game gets, obviously. One aspect that is good to have is reputation. You see a citizen in trouble and race to the rescue. Summoning a gale-force wind, you blow the hooligans off the terrified citizen, the throw a deceive on one of the gang of lowlifes, causing him to turn on his cohorts. Mental blast and fist fly, the action is somewhat turn-based as you wait for powers to regenerate. Finally, you stand alone, victorious and the grateful citizen runs up and gushes over you, thanking you profusely.
Ah! It’s good to be a hero!
Not to mention your reputation has just climbed. A good reputation will result in better communication.
The game also allows for supergroups for missions and adventures in 16 zones in the game. Each zone has different degrees of difficulty, and solo play is not always possible.
The game controls utilize mouse and keyboard commands and are simple to use. The interface has drop-down menus and you can set waypoint to targets and contacts, as well as reset controls or review missions. If there is one word to describe the interface for this game, it would be accessible. CoH is built to allow the new MMP player immediate access to the various game elements without taking away the challenge from the more experienced player.
NPCs often talk with chat balloons above their heads, keeping a comic-book flavor to the game. But don’t expect that to mean you will see words like biff!, pow!, or crush! pop up when you hit an opponent. This game does not go the way of campy cartoon action.
Graphically this game is wonderful, joyful and fun. The effects are terrific and the animation is smooth. This game was based on technology of three years ago, according to Cryptic’s Michael Lewis, which make it the type of game that almost any PC owner can play (there’s that accessible word again), but this game would stand up to any MMP on the market.
In many ways, this is much lighter fare than the medieval/fantasy MMPs on the market, but this game has every bit of the challenge and entertainment of any title. Honestly, I was not certain that this was the type of game I would find myself drawn to – I was very wrong.
City of Heroes is immersive, challenging and
incredibly entertaining. Attention all superhero wannabes! Break out the cuffed
boots, the masks, and those skin-tight shirts with the emblems emblazoned across
the chest. In the song Real World by Matchbox 20, there is a line that says “I
wonder what it’s like to be a superhero.” City of Heroes will allow you to
become that superhero is a world in need of a hero or two, or three, or …
For more information on the game check out:
Cryptic’s Michael Lewis Takes GameZone on a Super Guided Tour of City of Heroes