City of Heroes Review

Developer: Cryptic Studios Publisher: NCsoft
Release Date: April 27, 2004 Also On: None

The gaming market is swamped with a plethora of MMORPGs. Most of them are simple fantasy or sci-fi games that seldom differ. However, when I hear that a new MMORPG is somewhat creative, I quickly jump on the bandwagon and play it. Few of these “creativeâ€? games can get me past hour 20. City of Heroes isn’t one of those games. It has creative spin in an unoriginal market. City of Heroes is quite possibly one of the most unique MMOs ever, and it’s surprising no one has tried the idea of being a superhero. The team over at Cryptic studios has put a lot of time into this and it shows.

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Gameplay is where this game differs from any other MMO I’ve ever played, from the way you level up to combat, even transportation is original. The combat isn’t you clicking on a target and watching your little avatar walk over and beat him up; in this game you control everything. Your skills recharge in seconds and how you combine them greatly effects how the battle will play out.

You can jump around enemies, even though it has very little effect on the outcome; it’s still fun, but you can assign an attack and then jump towards an air bound enemy and attack him. This addition of a third dimension adds so much to the combat system. For instance, you could be in a fight and your enemy knocks you on the ground and runs up a set of stairs; you then decide to fly up to the top of the stairs and punch him in the face while hovering.

Your skills are altered by these things called enhancements, which obviously enough enhance a certain aspect of your skill. Also, your skills are customized by you; every even level you get to pick a new skill from one of your two skill sets, and after level 6 you can get a third which is usually a transportation skill set. Also note that the game’s cost is 15 bucks a month (though purchasing a year-long subscription lowers it to 12 bucks a month).

Instead of killing a lot of rats and spiders until you are level 72, here you get to take down mobs of thugs, mutated jerks, and gangs of the supernatural. Also, you don’t have equipment, you don’t buy weapons, and the way you make your character is the way he’s going to look until you get the mission to get a new costume. This takes away from people needing to farm for materials, or endless gathering, now you get experience and influence which is used to buy enhancements. You don’t need to run everywhere, since there is a handy train system for you. The game also provides a nice way to look for a team and something else called a taskforce, which pretty much sucks more of your life.

The graphics in City of Heroes are exactly what they should be, a living breathing comic book. Everything from the text bubbles including cheesy taunts, to the skyscrapers, to the look of the characters make you feel like you are playing your own comic book. Sound effects are played out in onomatopoeia on screen with pows, booms, and thuds. The cities are amazingly designed; you can literally go anywhere that isn’t blocked off. You can go up on the highest building in town and just watch the city’s cars and a giant air balloon go around town. Everything is designed with that comic book feel in mind.

Soundtracks in most MMOs try the whole orchestral score thing; not so much here. The music in-game is either some techno, which does fit the feel or the occasional fanfare when you are just chilling. The music fits the action, which is something every MMO should have; the music gets faster and more intense when you enter a fight. Sound effects from your attacks range from thunderous booms, to swipes from a sword. The sound isn’t anything extraordinary, but it does its job.

City of Heroes is kind of MMOs for people new to the genre with its lack of economy and gathering, but at the same time an experienced player has tons of things to do. The game breathes new life into a genre full of rat killers and D and D wannabes. So in short, this in one of the most unique MMOs ever to come out and if you’re into the superhero concept, the MMO genre, and can afford the 12-15 dollar monthly cost, then go for it.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.6
Written by Matt Review Guide

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