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City of Heroes (PC) Reviewed!
Game Info
GENRE:
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PUBLISHER:
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DEVELOPER:
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Screenshots
Gameplay: 9 / 10
Graphics: 6 / 10
Sound: 8 / 10
Replay: 5 / 10
Final Rating:



Introduction

"A unique game that deserves atleast a glance from everyone. City Of Heroes combines so many genres that it will really provide an interesting experience for all forms of players."

So lets start out with the basics, City Of Heroes is an MMORPG. You have to pay a monthly fee to even begin to get into this game so im sure that will scare away many people, but i think games in general are really starting to gear up with this "MMORPG" thing, a lot of companies seem to be getting into it and a lot of players in general seem to be responding fairly well to this change. Now, when you include the monthly fee of an MMORPG your really asking the player for a lot more, so you really gotta serve up the goods if you want to attract a large audience.


Two aspiring heroes

The premise of CoH is pretty slick, to say the least: it basically lets everyone play a totally unique superhero and provide a "city of crime" to let you develop and plan your hero. It certainly is a unique idea to say the least, I will say in this type of aspect, CoH delivers perfectly. They capture the feeling of fighting in a big city and feeling like you've made a difference very well. The villians have formed special factions so you kinda get an idea on why each set of enemies is attacking the city and what you need to do to stop them, this ranges from your average street punk to your alien monster, preparing to invade. Its a city where everything goes wrong and theres a set of heroes there to stop it!

Graphics

Now lets talk about the Graphics, CoH really delivers in this department. The engine that powers the game itself is pretty solid and displays large outdoor enviroments exceedingly well. The enviroments seem like they are straight out of Grand Theft Auto 3. Citizens walk around openly, criminals are where you would probably expect them to be, and cars roam the streets openly. The enviroment is done really well, and at times becomes one of the best aspects of the game itself. The terrain itself is divided up into cities, (yes, there's more then 1 city in the game) and each of these cities is further divied up into "zones". Each zone represents what is actually in an area, from "crime-free" to all sorts of other things. Another aspect of the game that is worth mentioning is that in CoH you can actually go into a lot of the buildings, they arent just eye-candy. This really shows how far the developers went to give the players the best enviroment imaginable. It's also worth noting that the game handles "details" very well, theres a default slider that slowly tweaks the detail level and it provides some amazing leaps in performance for what it does and that will certainly help CoH run on a lot of different PC setups.



Investigating the sewers...

Continuing on with graphics, we have the heroes themselves. This part of the game is absolutely critical, if your going to make a game thats based on superheroes defending a city, you better make sure that each hero is unique and his own, i mean.. thats what being a super-hero is all about! being unique. I can say without a single ounce of doubt in my mind that CoH has created the best character creation system ever. Nothing comes remotely close to doing what they have done here, the ammount of customizability and effort that was put into this system is a wonder to behold, you could spend *hours* just sitting there making heroes and playing with all the features and colors and such, there are pretty much limitless combinations of heroes and this works very well. I've played CoH for a good few months and in that time i have yet to see 1 hero that looks like another. Theres a shocking ammount of depth involved in designing a character.

Everything aside from that tends to become secondary, the models all look great, the animations are all *very* well done and everything seems to be looking quite fresh. You can make your character do all sorts of "actions" from jumping jacks to drawing a sword to.. well.. everything you'd want your super-hero to do.


Gameplay

Now, once you have designed a character your thrust off into the world with a nice setup "tutorial" that makes learning the game fairly easy. You are setup with a few simple tasks and you are awarded a free level and shipped off to the "real" city. The majority of the game will be spent in 3rd person running around and viewing your own hero. (but you can zoom in all the way to first person) Once you get the basics down you can go and get a quest from an NPC and basically go start fighting villians in the city.

Now, initially this is a riot. You can form parties, pick cool places to stop evil, and level up to gain new powers and power up old ones. The system of fighting is absolutely great, The power system was handled expertly with all sorts of choices yet provide a generic "class" for each player making it a bit limiting, but not enough to injur the games customizability in any way. Running around and blasting villians, or cutting them in half, or levitating them up in the air then throwing them face first into the concrete is about as much fun as playing a straight up FPS game, and its that sort of fast-paced gameplay that really helps bring CoH to life and give it some unique flow. Players will find themselves instantly falling in love with City of Heroes combat system.

However, there is one staggering downside to this. There is a *lot* of focus on the combat in CoH, infact one could say the entire concept of the game is concieved around "fighting evil" .. and they would be about 95% correct. Once you explore the game and have a lot of fun doing that single thing, it becomes a problem. Players run out of things to do with the game, i mean, combat is certainly a blast but why am i paying a monthly fee to run around and kill villians? shouldnt there be a bit more to it? I mean.. what about trading? items? houses? things that you'd expect to see in an MMORPG! All of those things are generically gone in CoH, and it represents the games main downfall, once you get passed the games primary focus, which is "killing villians" players will quickly find out that there just isn't anything else to do here. One can only hope that this problem is rectified with a patch or some additional content. An expansion pack dubbed "City of Villians" is currently in the works and will add PVP combat to the mix, so hopefully things will balance out as the game progresses.

Sound

Aspects of sound and music in CoH come up rather short. Now, im sure all of us here appreciate a games tunes, but to be blunt, CoH is pretty much devoid of all music besides small "15 second snippets" of classic rock type beats that play when you enter a new segment of the city. It begins to get annoying and it really detracts from the overall experience. The Sfx of the game is pretty good, nice ambient cars, the appropriate "beam" effects are in place, but nothing really stands out as impressive, its just "average" for lack of a better term.

Replay

When we get down to it, CoH is a fairly fun game, even if its only about combat and fighting villians, it lends itself to be exceedingly interesting, things can get a little boring here and there, but once you start gaining all these powers and tweaking them to how you want them to function, your character becomes extremely unique, and its a lot of fun seeing what other people do with they're heroes. I've even seen some people mimic other heroes (like Wolverine and such) and the scary part is with how deep the character design system is, you can come pretty close to the actual design.


Alien invasion

The combat alone will keep players satisfied for some time, It was fun for the same reasons the Diablo series was so fun, it just improves upon that formula with a lot more customization. Players who enjoy active RPG combat at its best would really do well to take a look at City of Heroes.

Overall

In Closing, CoH did what most MMORPG's never did right; combat.. its absolutely perfect, the death penalty is great, they have plans to let players become villians! But.. They were so thrilled with that, they forgot about the core idea of an MMORPG, its not just to fight and to gain levels, but its to DO stuff.. through role playing, or Trading, or Earning stuff, or Events? .. you don't get much of that in CoH which really hurts it in the long-run, I predict a lot of players will grow bored quickly.

Still, they have promised many suprises.. but if they want keep all those players they have thrilled, they'll need to add some replay value, or some other stuff to do, its just the bottom line. I highly recomend that everyone who likes RPG games in general to atleast give City of Heroes a good glance, it deserves atleast that for the unique concept and great customization factor.