Champions Online: One Night

Go, play through the tutorial. It is worth seeing the character builder and basic implementation, although it may not be worth the download time.

You will first notice that the game is classless. Class roles come in later, but pick whatever you want at the start. That is positive, although it makes it look as though the entire game is just slightly different flavors of a few attacks. The front could use more “and you have this to look forward to.”

I have said enough about how the graphics are horrible. Just terrible. It is as though they maintained art quality by restraining their better artists rather than working on the worse ones. Just wait until you see the running animation that does not match movement speed.

The character builder has some improvements. You have more parts to play with, more color options per piece, lots of things to tweak. Paper dolls for hours! One small but significant improvement is how things change and re-color as you pan through options. Just mouse-over what interests you, and you will see how it looks. Clicking is not hard, but it makes a huge difference in how available everything feels and how smoothly you pan through options. It is the tiny interface change that is disproportionately important. Elsewhere in the character builder, I had heard that Champions Online would have player-defined power colors and the ability to choose where the blast came from (eyebeams, laser pistol, hand blasts, chest beam); if that was active the last time I tried Champions, I did not spot where the option was hidden. Many of the buttons are hidden just a little, such that it all makes sense once you get used to it, but they are not where you are expecting to look based on City of Heroes or other user interfaces.

The tutorial includes the usual: movements, attacks, fetch, kill defenseless enemies, kill underpowered enemies, face some impressive looking action that you can easily overcome. There are quests just hanging around for you to stumble on, like digging victims from the rubble. That is a great touch, and I hope it was mentioned in some text that I scrolled past. I found these by just wandering around and occasionally seeing some words floating in a strange place. Once you get sent to the knock-off of Beast, you can join a public quest. This is a great feature to adopt, and it starts very early. The tutorial includes fighting alongside Defender, which would be awesome if anyone had heard of Defender before meeting him; you get the hint that you are meant to be starstruck. The conclusion is great, as you walk down the staircase with everyone cheering and saluting you. It is an unearned Big Damn Heroes moment, but it still feels nice to get them. Oh, and there is an achievement for doing everything in the tutorial, so remember that for live if you don’t want to be that completist whining on the boards about how everything is ruined forever because he missed something.

An odd choice is that you level but get no new abilities during the tutorial. You complete a dozen quests or so with just the two powers, one of which is an auto-attack. No movement powers, no trainer to give you new abilities, just two buttons. This is not the way to show off your awesomeness.

: Zubon

12 thoughts on “Champions Online: One Night”

  1. So you got the default attack and the awesome button perhaps :)

    Will hopefully check it out for myself tonight if the patcher completes, time to go to work now.

  2. On the art design…

    …White on Cyan mission briefings, in teeny tiny text, in something that probably isn’t actually Comic Sans but looks very like it, WITH DROP SHADOWS. And the whole HUD is like that. Aieeee!

  3. The menus for power color, etc. are not in the character creator. When in game there is a menu for powers where you can choose power color and emanation point for each power.

    I disliked the graphics at first, but they grew on me. I then later turned off some features, like bloom and liked them even more. The only problem I have with the graphics now is that they seem to tax my system more then they should. I hear my graphics card fan ramp up help cool. This does not happen in games with “good” graphics like LOTRO.

  4. Also note that you can turn off the auto attack so that you have to continuously tap the button to attack. So if you want a more ‘dynamic’ experience…

  5. Re: No new powers in the tutorial.

    For the longest time in closed beta, you got your travel power and another new power right at the end of the tutorial. However, that changed when they added “Power Stations” to the game. As soon as you leave the tutorial, you are directed to one of these Power Stations, where you can test each new power before actually committing to it. Kind of like the Danger Room of the X-Men.

  6. I’m disappointed by all of the negativity surrounding CO but I’m still curious to try it. If only the bloody beta would finish downloading for me!!!

    1. You can always pre-order at Gamestop (although many gamers seem to complain about GS). If you don’t like the game move your pre-order money to another pre-order. I got my Champions Open beta key with the same five dollars that got me into Aion’s open beta. Simply moved the money to Champions when I decided not to purchase Aion. I’ll probably purchase Champion’s, seems like it will make a nice 2nd MMO when I am bored with my main MMO.

    2. Huh… Yep, I have a beta key. I don’t see any sleeze about it. Just because it’s not free doesn’t mean it’s not honest.

  7. Right-clicking on a power seems the fastest way to get to the menu for power color selection and origin selection. It’s… limited — there are a number of powers that can not be customized at all, even ones you’d expect to be — but it works reasonably well.

    I don’t mind the art quality, per say, although a few animations could be streamlined. It’s the UI design that bugs the heck out of me; it manages to feel cramped on a fairly high-res monitor, and a lot of icons aren’t really meaningful enough for what they do.

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