Review by SavingPrincess
"The World Needs a Hero..."
Champions Online is at first, a seemingly different take on the move from Pen & Paper RPG to MMO. Previous IP's have tried this (DnD Online, etc.) to moderate success levels, but those were mostly set in the "fantasy realm" setting, which means it's treading into WoW territory which in the genre, puts it at an immediate disadvantage.
CO on the other hand is a second-outing from Developers NCSoft (creators of City of Heroes) utilizing an existing IP and statistical structure. Some of the highlights of this new venture include a more "action-oriented" battle system, in-depth character creation, a "classless" character development system and a "nemesis" system that allows you to create your own adversary that plagues you through your journey.
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 8/10
Music - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Content - 6/10
(all scores are compared within genre: MMORPG)
The Gamplay and Stylization are really what shine in this title. Having the ability to 'charge' the power of some moves or holding down the move for a maintained attack really allow a greater sense of immersion in the control of your hero. While other games in the genre tend to fall into a sort of "PuppetMaster" syndrome where you feel as though you're issuing commands to a separate entity as they try and keep up on screen, Champions really puts you into the driver's seat with a more "adventure" game feel to it's controls. Add onto that the fact that the game was also developed with XBox360 Controller play in mind and you literally can play it as though it were an action/platformer. The only MMO to even come close to this in the past was SEGA's Phantasy Star Online, but Champions really takes it to the level it needs to be.
The Style of the game is also very fun and fresh in the proverbial mist of fantasy-laden MMO's. Using the City of Heroes thematic content as a springboard, CO moves it into full Comic-Book form with ultra stylized graphics (that include a toggle-able 'comic outline' mode) and a storytelling system rife with comic and pop-culture references and spoofs. Never taking itself too seriously while maintaining a story path that rarely feels forced or contrived, CO balances serious and tongue-in-cheek quite nicely. While being a little light on the content at the outset for the "rushers" who just can't wait to get their character to the level cap, there's still plenty to do for the crowd this game caters to.
All in all, it's at least a semi-unique MMO experience that's aimed at the people who like the setting. In other words, if you're not into comics but like MMO's, you may want to check out something like Aion if you're looking for a new MMO. For those who enjoy the motif, this should be a fun experience for sure.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/12/09
Game Release: Champions Online (US, 09/01/09)
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