City of Heroes - Review

City of Heroes
Ages: Teen

Paragon City is in trouble. Who can save it from the hordes of villains that have made their homes in the cities' underworld? You, the epitome of justice, you, the fighter for all that is good in the world, you, the superhero, can.

City of Heroes is a type of game known as an MOG (massive online game). A first note to all would be superheroes: The game is not paid for in the store. Games such as these come with a monthly fee of around 10-15 dollars. Not cheap, but for many of the games, it's worth it. Since the game is online, thousands of people are playing it on any given day, and although this makes for a lot of interesting times, the language used in these games may not be suitable for young children. Even with the best of intentions, there are always people who are out to ruin the gaming experience for others.

When you first start the game, you are asked to choose a server. The server's have fanciful names such as Freedom, Virtue and Victory. You can have up to eight characters on a server, and as of this writing, there are eleven running servers, making for eighty-eight possible characters. After you've chosen a server, it's time to make your hero.

The first thing you do is choose your heroes origin. How did she receive her superpowers? Was it from mutant or magical origins? Or was it caused by some mishap in the laboratory? You decide. Afterwards, you choose the type, or "archetype" of your character. There are five archetypes. The Blaster, who is very good at ranged attacks but has bad melee and defense, the Controller, who is a character who doesn't inflict much damage, but is an essential part of any superhero squad, as they can control and manipulate the villains, the Defender, who specialized is augmenting and healing, the Scrapper, who is a close combat character, and the Tanker, who is literally built like a siege weapon, and can take and dish out massive amounts of damage.

After you've chosen your archetype, you choose the set of primary and secondary powers that you like best. There are several different types of powers, including ice, fire, radioactive and psychic, among other things. After this, you can get around to actually creating the character that will appear on the screen.

This part is definitely one of the most fun parts of the game. This game has the most possible amount of choices for a character that I've ever seen. Although there are only three choices for body types (Male, Female and Huge (a heavily muscled male character) there are almost an infinite amount of combinations you can choose; from skin color to outfits. Creating a unique costume for your hero is not that hard, and you can spend hours finding the perfect outfit. It appeals to both aspiring stylists, who are more concentrated on looks than game play, and the hardcore gamers, who can perfect the kind of impression they wish to make on their peers.

The game play is interesting, and there are many different plotlines that one can follow. You meet contacts, who give you missions, and become friendlier as you complete them. There are several different groups of bad guys, each with their own hierarchy and goal,and each with their own set of powers. The basic drill: You run around each of the many maps, (with names such as Perez Park, the Hollows, and Eden) and kill bad guys. While this may get monotonous after a while, there are many upsides to this. First of all, these maps are fully fleshed out, from the parking lots to the back alleys to the rooftops. Second of all, as you gain levels, you can gain powers such as super speed, power jumping, and flight, which not only helps you get around faster, it also helps you experience the game at a higher level.

The graphics in this game are simply stunning. All the areas of the map are open for exploration, and the details of the background and other heroes are amazing. The sounds are also very good, and it almost makes you feel like you're in the game. One of the powers that you can gain later on, the "fly" power, was possibly the best power in the game, and I spent hours flying around the city just for the heck of it. I would not recommend this game for small children, as it contains violence and foul language, but I think that anyone from the age of 13 to 60 would enjoy this game, if simply for the fact that everyone pretends to be a superhero at some time or another in their life.

It takes several visits to the game to reach a suitable level, and new plots and twists are always arriving, so I would say that this game has replay value. If you want to get the real feel for the game, however, it will take a couple of weeks to get entirely used to the game.

Also, included in the subscription is a monthly comic book, put out by some very talented artists. Fan Art is also included in the issues, so it gives fans of the game a chance to draw their characters in action and see it published. The comic sheds light on some of the inner workings of the game, and it explains a lot of the plot twists that are added in the main campaigns. In my three-month subscription, I only received one comic, which was a real let down, but the art and the story of the one I received was enough to mollify me.

I would rate this game a 7 out of 10, because I think it is one of the most intriguing games on the market right now. However, the game does get rather monotonous after a while, and I found the only reason I continued to play was to hang out with the people I had met through the game. Because of all the different types of heroes in the game, there are millions of possibilities for grouping and side-kicking, which does add some spice to an otherwise predictable experience. The game is addictive; after a few rounds, it's hard not to play for hours on end. Also, the expansion pack, City of Villains, is currently out, which makes for a whole different set of values. If you own both games, you can go from single player to PVP servers and test your skills against other players. That, however, is another game for another review. As it is, City of Heroes in a complete game on its own, and a pretty decent one at that. After all, who doesn't want to play the hero?

Reviewed by: Vivian B. Age 16 - 04/06

  • City of Heroes
  • © Cryptic Studios By subscription
  • XP 2000