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When City of Heroes hit the downtown streets of the underground roleplaying scene in 2005 it made many masked heads turn. It was an interesting concept to release a dedicated MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) based around super heroes set in a comic book world. Would it fail to live up to its super power expectations, though?
There was a mad rush of RPG fans going crazy when this game was about to get released - we could hear their screams from the deepest darkest dungeons of Lineage II - yet when they finally got their paws on it, the game was greeted with mixed feelings. The best part about City of Heroes for me, was to ability to spend hours just creating your character. The options available in doing so was very impressive to say the least. Back then, when this game was released, being able to customise your in-game character in such ways was never really heard of - to this degree anyway!
Upon entering the game for the first time, it was a bit confusing to understand what exactly was on offer. Tutorials aside, it is aimed at quest based missions, boss confrontations and hostage rescues.
The depth of the game is what people questioned mostly when beta testing this RPG and it was one of the main aspects that drove a number of players back to their previous online games. The addiction factor certainly wasn't as strong as some of the super powers that were on offer.
If you're a major fan of the X-Men, or Spiderman cartoons and comic books, you might be the hero this game is looking for to save it from the hands of the notorious super villains.
CoH is a very original game, you choose and customise your super hero from scratch using a vast array of weird and wonderful parts like tails, stretchy arms or robot legs. There is a respectable number of different character types from lightning healer to fire mage type characters. The game is aimed at the casual audience that only has 45 minutes to play and provides an excellent grouping system to help you find existing groups from the second you log on. It is also possible to play the game alone although you won't find half as much fun.
The community is very mature and polite, its easy to find a group and get help with something and you don't regularly feel like you have to log off because the person you just played with was irritating. The actual action has a very arcade feel, the action is very comic book and elastic with some downtime followed by a real 'SHEZAM' feel when you do something huge after waiting for it to be ready. The skill system is quite simplified compared to other games, you collect improvements for your skills and collect more once those are outlvled. You can trade with other players as you are only given random improvements for completing quests and need to trade for ones relevant to you.
All in all - good fun.
When you don't want to take part in online gaming filled with elves and goblins, nothing pleases quite like a heavy dose of superhero action.