City of Heroes

I play a lot of games these days. Most of them are the family game night variety. We play lots of UNO, some Sorry (and iterations of,) and so on. Occasionally I’ll play a hand or five of Magic: The Gathering with Hubby and Sprocket One. As for video games, I’ve up and lost my Geek/Nerd cards there. I don’t play Skyrim, or Diablo (although I used to,) or much of anything since Final Fantasy 7 really. (Family night sometimes includes Guitar Hero and we all rock out here in the Calamitous Abode.)

When I do play a video game I want to play something that is not going to tax me, mentally. I do enough heavy thinking everyday so when I play I just want to do something that won’t make me solve crap. First person shooters are out for me because my hand-eye coordination sucks and it gives me a headache. So, I play City of Heroes. Yep, I am a superhero/super villain.

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I’ve been playing City of Heroes since the open beta days. I love it. The games learning curve is nice and gentle. Heck, Sprocket One started playing the game when he was six. (With supervision of course.) It is simple to learn the commands and there isn’t really anything in the game that is very complex. That’s important for a player like me. I don’t want to spend a gazillion hours learning how to do things. I want to jump into the game and go.

One of the best parts of the game, I think, is the diversity in character concepts. You can be heroic or villainous, yeah, but beyond that. You can be a powerhouse Tank who can take damage and smash things, or a Brute who just gets stronger the more they fight. Stalker attack from the shadows and Scrappers are melee masters. You can control elements like fire and ice or even electricity, and recently there’s even time manipulation. You can shoot weapons, use swords or staffs, or fight bare knuckles. Of course there are laser eyes, fireball tossing and so on. The choices are pretty extensive.

Same goes for costuming your characters. They have everything from standard superhero tights, to alien armor, robot battle suits, barbarian furs, Roman armor, and even Wild West and Steampunk. Hair, face, everything can be customized to a degree, yes, even your weapons and the colors of your powers.

City of Heroes has stories. Sure, they’re not the most in-depth, detailed storylines every, but that’s been improving with each update. It went from really basic standard one line, no choice story lines to ones where there are different ways to do things. You can choose to be a hero or a villain, and beyond that you can even play into some of those shades of grey. They designers keep things interesting with updates and challenges that come in and out of the game.

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The graphics aren’t as spectacular as, say, EVE or WoW, but that’s cool. In City of Heroes you’re in a comic book world, and setting of the games, the characters and so on really does have that kind of feel to them. This is also important for a gamer like me, because other games sometimes make me a little dizzy or give me a headache. It’s kind of neat in game to watch the rag-doll effects of the NPCs when they get defeated. Someday I hope they are able to show more collateral damage, like chunks of buildings falling down into the street when they get hit. Or cracks in the pavement when some big ol’ Tanker smashes into the street between power leaps.

They have a free version of the game available on-line now. Just go to their website (cityofheroes.com) and hit the “Play for Free” option. You get the basic game there, enough to really have fun. If you find you want more you can buy into a VIP membership which opens a lot more content up.

So, to summarize: Free play capability, easy learning curve, narrative content, diverse character customization, and a strong support system in the hands of the GMs and game developers. I encourage you to give it a shot. If you do, you may even run into Calamity Dawn on one of the servers.


 

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