Champions Online: My review (EG-style)

If Champions Online survives longer than HellGate: London, it will be a miracle. I think the idea behind CO is to take CoH, make it suck, and try to get people to pay $200 up front for it before they know what they are buying.

For those who already got duped, do you have the option for a refund? I would look into that…

36 Responses to Champions Online: My review (EG-style)

  1. Andrew says:

    Not looking good for the game on the blogs I frequent. 3 negative reviews, 0 positive reviews so far.

    Can you pick one item to highlight as the worst in the game?

    • syncaine says:

      I think the dev process for CO went like this:

      PR guy walks into a focus group for CoH. He notes that people want more customization, items, ‘more comic-book look’. Then, as he is walking out, he overhears two people talking about how cool “Streets of Rage” was back in the day, and man, that would be an awesome MMO combat system. He notes this down as well.

      PR guy gives his notes to a Flagshipped guy, who still has a job in the industry because he is related to that WoW thing everyone is trying to clone. The PR guy then says “make EXACTLY this”, and so everyone working on said disaster hates it but show up daily to get paid. Two years later, the abomination that is CO is cut from its womb to make a pre-set release date.

      So no, it’s kinda hard to just pick ONE thing about CO that sucks.

  2. Ravious says:

    I want a goddamned number!

    • syncaine says:

      9/10! (I think that’s how the EG scale works, right? The more complimentary you are in the review, the lower the score?)

  3. Wilhelm2451 says:

    EG-Style? Does that mean you didn’t actually play it, just screwed around with the character creator then went and read the forums for a bit?

    • syncaine says:

      No! I’ve played it for 1000 hours, at least!

      (more or less, yes)

      • Wilhelm2451 says:

        Cryptic is only a few minutes from my home. I’m going to go over and ask Bill Roper for the server logs… then maybe wonder aloud why he hasn’t been doing very well since he left Blizzard. I’m sure that will get me the logs I seek.

      • user@example.com says:

        Liar. According to the server logs, you are not even a real person!

      • syncaine says:

        The editor of this blog, while respecting the views of user@example.com, is certain that not only is the author a real person, but we stand behind his review of CO 100%.

        (but if pressed, no, we don’t want to look at the evidence, thank you very much)

  4. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I personally think it’s not good, but your EG-style review is spot on!!

  5. Frank says:

    Looking for more substance here for those of us not sitting around having been in closed beta. If you could provide some that be great – I think we all know how you feel about EG.

    • Sean says:

      I doubt you’ll find much of that here or elsewhere for that matter. Most of the people talking about CO now are disenchanted beta players who have something of an axe to grind. All of the people on the beta forums who are generally pleased with the game and have already paid for their lifetime subscriptions? They’re not yelling on blog posts and in comments about how terrible, unpolished, or otherwise badly executed the game is. Try the game for yourself once the fileplanet patcher issue is fixed in the next couple days.

  6. Wyrm says:

    I don’t know about Streets of Rage, but a Final Fight MMO, side scrolling et all, would be teh sh#t!

    • syncaine says:

      So you would pay $15 a month and play Final Fight for 6 months+?

      There is a reason all beat em up games end after about 8-10 levels.

  7. pitrelli says:

    I’ve whacked up an initial thoughts post on my blog, its a love or hate game I cant deny it, personally I love it.

    It was a given that syncaine was gonna hate it

    • syncaine says:

      Why was it a given? Just curious what makes you think that.

      • pitrelli says:

        Well its not a PvP game for one and also you have dropped hints that you have tried and disliked it before this post.

        I can understand why people dont like it, its going to be a marmite game imo

      • syncaine says:

        Well I’ve played and enjoyed PvE-based MMOs (DDO most recently), so the fact that CO is mostly PvE was not the main issue. As a stand-alone game I think it’s marginal, but as an MMO that is designed to keep people around for months on end, I just don’t see it working out. My prediction is it will have a decent launch just from a lot of curious people, but it won’t retain many of them past the first month.

        As my friend who is still badly addicted to CoH put it, “after a few days with CO, all I wanted to do was play CoH”.

    • pitrelli says:

      I disagree, I think Champions will hold its own. They will have a half decent month and if people like PvE then they will stay. If they are looking for a more balanced game in respect to PvP etc then I agree they may not stick around.

      CoH is an awful game (in my opinion), but if your mate prefers it fair play

      • syncaine says:

        Yea I find CoH boring as hell too. I mean when your games best feature ends as soon as you finish with the character creator, that’s a bad sign for an MMO.

        My point was that CO main audience is the CoH crowd (which already is a limited audience), and as my buddy is someone from that crown, his dislike of CO was somewhat surprising to me. I fully expected him to look past the negatives just because ‘zomg it’s superheroes’, which is basically what keeps him going in CoH now.

      • pitrelli says:

        Hmm I wasnt sure if CoH players would try it. I hope they do because I think the majority of them will find a much better game (there will be exceptions like your mate who will stay at CoH). I think the majority of CO players will be casual players who like to spend an hour or so every so often and want to have fun yet feel like they achieved something.

  8. [...] keep his gaming group interested in the game through its development. Syncaine says, “If Champions Online survives longer than HellGate: London, it will be a miracle.” Darren of Common Sense Gamer thinks the game is just a recycled and only somewhat expanded [...]

  9. [...] for Cryptic the majority of posts aren’t for good reading and are pretty negative such as Syncaines and Hudsons. Both Hudson and syncaine both had issues with major game mechanics and style of play [...]

  10. Eurogamer might actually be able to do a decent review of this game since 90% of the fun is in the character creation…

  11. shadowwar says:

    I’ve had a day of play. I like what I have done so far. It feels like an action-based MMO. I’m more of a PvP guy myself, but I keep feeling like this is what PvE content is supposed to be like. Also, they seem to have done WARs PQs better than WAR did.

  12. Malakili says:

    There is a lot of hate for this game going around the internet, and I can understand why this game might not suit a lot of people, but I can’t quite understand the detestation I’ve seen. If you don’t like comic books or super heroes, you won’t like this game. If you can’t deal with the graphics stylization, that might be a hang up too. But for me, the combat is fun, the content is decent (although somewhat light, hopefully more is coming soon), and PvP, while not very balanced, is also a good time right from the beginning.

    Its funny, this is a game I thought I wouldn’t like because it does so much I normally hate. PvE focus, “Theme Park” zones, superficial crafting, etc. But at the end of the day, its just plain FUN to play for me. Its not the kind of game I’m going to spend 5 hours a day posting on forums or retelling stories like from EVE or something, but the time when I’m actually logged in, IS generally as much or more fun than I had logged in with EVE, which I generally say is my favorite game of all time.

    Maybe being fun to play isn’t enough for an MMO though. (And I mean that sincerely).

  13. theherodaily says:

    I used to play Champions when it was a RP game. It kind of inspired my page theherodaily.wordpress.com

  14. Tim says:

    I’m playing the open beta of CO right now, and am pretty disappointed in it. Now, I love superheroes, be they in comic books, movies, video games, whatever. I’ve also played pen-and-paper superhero games like GURPS Supers and Champions, quite extensively actually. I had played CoH for a month or two, but it just wasn’t want I wanted. As was said earlier here, the fun factor drops drastically in CoH after you finish creating your character. I had a lot of hope for CO though, and pre-ordered it, and even pre-paid for a six month subscription.

    My first reaction upon playing the game was that it was just a slightly improved and rebranded City of Heroes. They added some new powers and tweaked some stuff, and pulled some powers and NPCs from the Champions material, but at it’s core, it is City of Heroes 2. So instead of the frenzy of playing for hours on end I pretty much always experience when starting a new MMO, I instead found myself feeling like I had signed back on to City of Heroes, and facing the boredom and frustration I felt with that game when I left. It looks like CoH, it feels like CoH, so if you didn’t like CoH, or got bored with it, you’re likely to feel the same way about this. If you want to play it because you loved the Champions pen-and-paper game, you’re probably going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t to say that there aren’t going to be people out there that love this game, but I’m not one of them. I guess I’m still going to have to wait for the superhero mmo that really captures the pen-and-paper experience better, or really lets me create the heroes I want.

  15. ReformedCohAddict says:

    Played CO over the free weekend, and I agree with the CoH2 comment. It feels too close to it for me, and the ‘light on content’ concerns me majorly. I’m not sure why they went for the cheesy 2d comic book style — my gut tells me it was to cut down on art production time AND to try and seperate it from totally looking like CoH2.

    There are a few things that I said ‘oh, that’s neat’. Liked the acrobatics travel skill (mixed with the beast stance, was a great looking chaotic all out run/jump). Was pleased at how many mobs you could take on initially (sure that doesn’t scale up though.) But the whole feel… felt like CoH. Just… uglier?

    Thought the starting PQ’s were nice and well done, not sure if they scale in hardness like WAR. Enjoyed that in WAR, even though at times it was hard to get folks to do the tuff ones.

    Anyway, having lived through the ‘nerfage’ in CoH to try and make a PvE game PvP… I don’t see enough in this one to make me jump into the rocky ride that is a launching game.

    You know what’s funny? If I didn’t have to pay for the box, I’d consider paying to play for a bit. It felt so much like CoH2… I just can’t bring myself to consider paying for the game. But I’d probably shell out a month to try it for awhile.

    And paying ahead 6 months? Good god, I don’t think I’d trust any MMO like that at launch, let alone cryptic.

    • CQ says:

      Exactly. CoH2 with less content.

      yeah they put wings and tails in right away… and took out most of the clothing. They have more mass missions, and very very few group-instanced. When I played people were lining up to take their “turn’ at the MOBs. How immersive is that and how long before the kiddies start breaking the protocol JUST to piss people off (not very, trust me, we’ve seen ti all before.)

      CoH did a lot to limit the ability of griefers to bother others, COH2… er Co… seems to have forgotten most of it.

      The much vaunted “ultimately customizable” system, is laughable. NWN frankly had more choices even within the restrictions of classes. And unless you really explore the (terrible) interface your likely to be stuck in classes to as thats the default operating mode.

      And yes the graphics are ug-ly. You CAn turn off the thick black edges to everything (if you can find it in the interface) but it still looks pretty artificial and “comic-boooky”.

      Its a mess. At the state its in they better either drop charges to $5 a month or shelve it for 6 months of serious re-work.

  16. AzBo says:

    All of your point of view are very interesting.
    Finally i think i will not buy it.
    You all talk about the poor PVP part of CO.
    What is, for you, the MMO with the best PVP ?
    Outside of WoW, i dont see anything…

  17. Rade says:

    Wow, so much negativity. I too played Champions since ’87, and while this game isn’t truly Champs, what computer mmo could ever match that heroic level of detail offered in the pen n paper game.

    I LOVE CO. Let me be a single voice of pleasure. It is Fun, It is Fast, and it can be Furious. :) The open beta has been added to and tweaked, areas are in the game not even accessible to us now, and folks are complaining about content. Essentially what we have to play in right now is only the first 2-3 areas.

    Combat is smooth and requires just a tad of attention and skill to block effectively, and aggro manage. The char creation is awesome, esp for game at the very inception of its life. It takes the best of CoX, and the best suggestions made to CoX back in the day and finally implements them. The death penalty is mild, and experimentive and explorative friendly. Refreshing in an MMO.

    The graphics arent bad at all. I turned off the black outlines, and since then, have been utterly happy with the look. The slightly comicesque feel is a boon, really. Look at WoW, with its total cartoonish air, noones crying about dayglow orcs!

    I bought a lifetime, and look forward to seeing how much more CO can be too. Its new, and already defineatly worth the price.

  18. I wrote a rather extensive review of it on my personal site. Suffice it to say I’m not really certain what your gripe was (the paragraph of sour-grapes left a bit to be desired, honestly), but I actually really enjoyed the open beta. Even with the various issues that seem to be features of all MMOG releases of the last couple of years, I have had a lot of fun this past week. I never played much of CoH so I can’t say whether or not they took it and “made it suck,” but somehow I doubt that’s the case.

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