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Champions Online

GC 2008: Champions Online Impressions

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The Xbox 360 has been blessed with shooters, sports titles and RPGs galore since its December 2005 launch but when it comes to massively multiplayer online RPG’s (MMORPGs), the console really hasn’t had much to offer. 2K and Cryptic Studios plan to change that when they release their superhero themed MMO in the spring of 2009. Those unfamiliar with the whole MMO world will not be aware that Cryptic Studios were the same developers that created the City of Heroes and City of Villains world and as an MMO, generally received great praise, so Cryptic will have a leg up on this one.

Throughout your time in the Champions Online world you will team up with like-minded super-hero wannabes on the road to kicking some bad guy ass, from evil professors to delusional lunatics who are hell bent on destroying the world. The game also features some pretty diverse locations where you will find these villains, ranging from moon bases to secret labs in the desert ... think Area 51 but full of bad guys. 

Champions Online features a huge, in-depth character creation system, so much so that Cryptic truly believe that because of the sheer amount of different looks and powers on offer, that no two characters will be alike. Also, in typical superhero fashion, your character and your friend’s characters will also have specific strengths and weaknesses that will play a part throughout your game’s lifespan.

In a traditional RPG sense, the world offers the player plenty of chances to pick up some fancy rare items, gain plenty of power ups to use and of course, chances to level up like no-one’s business. The game at launch will allow players to reach level 50 and is said to feature an end game, however details of which are being kept under wraps at the moment. As any MMO as well, Cryptic will constantly be adding more content to the game in the form of new missions, worlds, characters and such. We’re also informed that there very well may be downloadable content from day one as well.

The game visually takes advantage of cel-shading technology to give the game the comic book feel, I mean Cryptic are trying to push this so much so that they’ve even called it “comic shading”. It gets this term because it’s not like your traditional cel-shading, the characters actually have a black outline as you would see in the comic books. This also allows the engine to offer high resolution and high detail textures to the environments, whilst still maintaining that comic book feel.

Throughout the presentation other things were touched upon and confirmed but because the game is a long way from launch, details were scarce. Things like a player v. player versus mode was confirmed and even a villain mode called “nemesis” was touched upon, it was even billed as facing off against “your own worst enemy.”

Cryptic also touched very briefly on the hub system that is included in Champions Online and unlike many other MMOs it will not feature a central hub. Instead, there will be large persistent zones where you’ll find mission givers so people will naturally gather here.

Champions Online is still a long way from release and no word from Cryptic or 2K on the monthly cost yet. On other interesting news, Cryptic hope to become the first multiplatform MMO ever, as it will let 360 and PC users unite. This is not 100% confirmed yet but they are desperately trying to make this happen.  The game visually does look a treat and the concept of shaping your own superhero in a constantly updated world does sound interesting so this may be the title for you. Of course MMOs are a very niche audience and we’re not sure how console gamers will respond, but hey, we’re open minded and quality sells, so if they deliver, we’ll rush in our masses.

Champions Online is set to touchdown sometime in the spring of 2009 on Xbox 360 and PC.


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