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First Impressions: Champions Online
by Greg Mengel
I really want to be a superhero. I mean, really. If it were fashionable, I would go to work wearing tights and a cape. Part of me is now, and will always be, indignant at the American education system for not supporting Masked Vigilantism as an acceptable college major. So I'm obviously attracted to any games that allow me to live my fantasy, if through the fourth wall.

I've only been playing for two days, but so far Champions Online is the closest I've come to actually being a superhero, even if it is in a game. Once, in real life, I chased a mouse out of my basement with a broadsword. That was as close as I've ever actually come. Champions comes close to that. It's almost mouse worthy.

The game came out on the 1st September here in the States, and hits your European shelves on the 4th September (tomorrow!). If you've played City of Heroes, you'll have a basic idea of the gameplay in Champions. Just consider it City of Heroes, evolved. Powers are clicked or hotkeyed into use, as with most MMORPGs. Some, like the block button, must be held down during combat. It's an interesting system, simple in theory but more difficult in practice than you'd think, especially when compared to games with purely click-and-watch-what-happens systems, like World of Warcraft. The difference is crisp and refreshing.

The aesthetics of the game already have me feeling like my purchase was worthwhile. The moves are zany, the music is sweepingly epic, and the costumes are a case study in the creativity of the human brain. I constantly feel like I took a wrong turn and winded up in some kind of video game superhero-based Narnia.

So it seems amazing - but that's only after two days of play. All is usually not well in paradise. Already, I can see the possibility of repetitiveness and boredom in certain elements of the gameplay and level design. It is, after all, an MMORPG, and that's a genre famous for driving people in circles until the Ragnarok.

That being said, I'm going to wait at least a week before I post a full review on Champions. That'll give me all the time I need to give you readers a confident, well-rounded opinion. It's an MMO - you want a full review.

If you're just dying to hear more from me about the game now, just pester me with comments on this post and I'll respond. Use lots of caps lock to get my attention. It's the internet equivalent of making loud noises or shining bright, flashy lights at my pupils when I'm trying to sleep. It'll get my attention.


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- Greg Mengel

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