Disassembled: A Review in Pieces – Champions Online 3

Welcome to the third review in pieces. Today I will be reviewing Champions Online levels 11-15. Stay tuned after the jump to find out if the review has gone up or down since last time.

COCrate1

During this level range I found myself dreading the idea of staying in this orange desert much longer. I longed to be a super hero in a city, or a jungle, or anywhere that has something other than orange dirt. I pulled up my map and realized I hadn’t been to half of the places in the zone yet and my hopes fell. Luckily Cryptic understands this and it is during this level range that you will explore some of the other locales in the game. After finishing up level 13 I was given a few quests, some to head into Millennium City and some to travel to Canada and help out there. Knowing that Canada was the lower level area I decided to go there and get a level or two before heading to the main city.

It was a real blessing to see an area that wasn’t the desert. Sure I may go back to the desert at some point in a quest chain, but by then I think I will be ready for it. The Canadian zone is a nice color palette change, mostly blues and whites. The downside is that I didn’t do the “crisis” here, which means I come in after that has ended and I’m not really sure what’s going on. There are only a handful of quests to do, but they get me around a level.

A few of the quests in this level range really stood out. In the desert I was randomly killing some mutated freaks when I saw a soldier trapped under a barrel. There was nothing to indicate that this was anything special but I picked up the barrel anyway, mostly just messing around. The NPC stood up and then offered me an escort quest. There was no way for me to know that he was a quest giver, and the experience really made me excited. What quests had I missed? Which ones would I find?

Another interesting quest was one of my first in the frozen north. There were ambushes being set up by VIPER terrorists. I had to go around to these different ambush points and let them ambush me. I would then turn around and pound the living daylights out of them. It didn’t seem all that interesting until I got to one of the ambush spots and saw an NPC walking his little dog. I stopped for a second to look for the ambush and the NPC turned around and started shooting me, and suddenly there were several other terrorists all shooting. It was something I hadn’t expected.

The music has started to get a little annoying in combat as I can hear it looping now. Perhaps that is just because I am paying such close attention to it, but I can’t say. Another sad moment in CO audio is the voice over by Justiciar in the Canadian wilderness. His accent sound fake and the speech doesn’t seem very convincing.

After I got a level I followed my quests to Millennium City. The intro voice over by Defender really worked for me and it was really nice to finally be inside the city and not out in the country somewhere. When you arrive in the city a majority of the game suddenly opens up to you and it doesn’t do a very good job of explaining things to you.

Suddenly I found there was a bank, and I doubt I would have known if I hadn’t blundered in there looking for the crafting area. The crafting areas themselves are scattered throughout the city which is odd. There was a little quest to explain the perk vendor who, as near as I can tell, lets your buy things. First you must unlock it by completing a perk, it reminds me of LOTRO’s Deed system, mixed with a touch of Warhammer Online’s Tome Unlocks in that you still need to go somewhere and purchase the item/ability.

The costume changing items you can get from quest rewards, drops or crafting are interesting. Some people might not like them as it may change their characters style, but they can avoid them easily as they aren’t the most powerful items. One I found for my character changed his broadsword into a huge two handed axe. It was fun for a bit but I switched it up when I found a bronze, glowing power sword option.

You get another costume slot at 15 I found out. I suppose it would generally be used to have an alternate costume such as Spider-Man and his black suit, but I used it to create a civilian look for my hero which turned out nicely. Perhaps I’ll change that some point down the line if I think of something, I just like that the option is there.

Rating for levels 11-15:

Gameplay: 9.6 out of 10. Combat is still great but not as fresh as it once was. You aren’t going to get a large stable of powers, which is appropriate to the genre but still something to be lamented.

Graphics: 9.4 out of 10. The graphics score has raised a bit because the game sent me to view the three main areas during these levels, the desert, Canada, and the city. The varied landscape is really well done and nothing seems out of place.

Sound: 7.2 out of 10. The sound is getting slightly more annoying as time goes on, and the powers still don’t have the punch I would like, but it’s still solid.

Unique: 8.9 out of 10. The game continues to surprise and impress. From unique quests that I wouldn’t expect to incorporating three drastically different areas and making them all feel like the same world. The city adds to the unique rating as there really isn’t a recent MMO that has a city like that, the last one I can think of being Matrix Online.

Overall: 35.1 out of 40. A very enjoyable experience that only gets better as time goes on. There are a few nagging things like the combat music but it’s still a great time bashing villains into pulp.

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