Massive multiplayer games are no longer limited to RPG titles, and it has been like that for a while now – as technology kept improving, developers were given new ways to incorporate massive worlds that can handle hundreds/thousands of players, yet still do this in a genre that requires more detail than an RPG – such as shooters, adventures, etc. Champions Online leans more towards the action genre, with lots of references to superheroes – and those of you familiar with the “Champions” comic books should already have a good idea of the premise of the game.
The game concentrates mainly on the action aspect, giving the player various ways to dispose of their enemies in direct combat. There is a good combo system that allows you to gain steady bonuses from consecutive hits, and the combat feels nice and smooth, despite the game being played online – a common problem with making online versions of fighter games is that lag can make all the difference between losing and failing, and a lot of players aren’t willing to sacrifice that much of their skill aspect – this isn’t a problem here though.
There are some very cool options for character customization, such as setting your own custom animations for your character, allowing it to move around in a manner entirely designed and customized by you. This is something unique in this genre, as we’ve never seen another game that offers such a fine degree of customizing your character and making it more personal – imagine giving your guy a “tough” walk and the appropriate outfit – and you can easily stand out from the rest.
Some very eye-catching graphics await you at Champions Online, as the Game Tech engine allows for some great levels of detail, both on the characters and the surrounding environment. Fights are accompanied by the appropriate cool-looking effects, and you can easily recognize what attacks your enemy is using on you or may be planning on using – allowing you to better coordinate your own style of play.
There are lots of references to popular culture as well, especially other games – if you’re an avid gamer, you should easily recognize some familiar characters, both as NPCs and probably as elements for character customization. It’s quite interesting to see someone reminiscent of Team Fortress 2′s Heavy Weapons Guy running around, or perhaps your favourite supervillain from a cartoon – you’re very likely to recognize such elements here.
The game is for PC only, even though an Xbox 360 version was planned at one point, but it was cancelled a few months before the PC version came out. Also, if you’ve played lots of RPGs before, you’re probably well-familiar with the HERO character creation system – the one used in Champions Online is very similar to it, and you should feel just at home picking your character’s traits and stats.
Champions Online is a delightful combination of solid action and deep RPG elements, all put together in a captivating world. It’s an experience you shouldn’t miss at any cost!