City of Heroes Freedom: A new but familiar experience
City of Heroes was the first MMO I ever really played. WOW bored me, and I wanted something different and perhaps just a bit more oriented toward my inner-nerd. The kind of nerd that likes righting wrongs and doing skullduggery, but finds elves and dwarves to be effeminate pussies. Especially the kind of elves and dwarves in most online games. That’s why I gravitated toward the superhero genre MMO. I’m sure that I’ve already alienated the WOW fanboys with the first few sentences, and that’s completely fine with me. I’ve played with your asses in these types of games, and your constant whining for clerics and healers in chat annoyed me enough to make a villain character that kills your kind in PVP. But enough about that.
I played in City of Heroes on and off for months until that other superhero MMO (remember that horrible one?) came out, which soured me on online gaming in general, but I never was disappointed with City of Heroes. After receiving numerous emails to come back to visit over the three years since I played, City of Hero’s went free-to-play, and I went back.
First off, as a rule, I think free-to-play games are pretty much what they’re worth. If a game has value, then charge for it and let the player base decide. Players are a fairly vocal bunch, and we’ll be glad to give our opinions on whether your game has merit or not. With that being said, I launched the game and expected the same old COH with fancier graphics.
The character customization is fairly expansive and generally easy to use with the ability to pay for special costume pieces should you desire that unique look. I just whipped out a generic look and put it on a Hero Mastermind.
“Wait a Minute! This is new!”
That was only a villain class back when I was playing. WHAT THE HELL! Corrupters as Heroes? Blasters as villains? Holy crap! I’ve died and gone straight to comic book heaven. It appears that many of the archetypes have been opened to players and it gives you an amount of flexibility that just knocked my socks off. While you won’t be mixing powers to the degree that you can in some other games, you can still pick from multiple sets as you grow in level. It would appear that the developers heard my whining about wanting a heroic mastermind class, so my arch-villain Snickerdoodle can be a good guy too. Then I launched into the tutorial.
WHAT THE HELL? Outbreak is gone. Now there’s some kind of alien invasion\meteor thing happening. It’s quick as well. You can run through the thing and get a fast overview of how the game works in less than 10 minutes. After the tutorial you’re thrown out into Atlas Park for your first contact and mission assignments. More changes here! No more heading into City Hall for assignments. You’re sent to your contact and right into the thick of it. All this adds up to a much faster moving game. There’s now multiple paths for advancement that integrate well into the total arc of the game and enhance rather than detract from story-lines. While there are still times when you have to kill X amount of villains or good guy, these are far and few between, and they tend to advance the story much better now.
Graphically, there are better games out there, but the upgrade in graphics is very apparent. This game can be run on marginal systems, but it will chug along and struggle with some of the maps. Right now I’m running it on an Acer quad core at 3.8 GHz and it moves along nicely. I also ran it on a 1.6 GHz laptop with 2 gigs of ram and with minor tweaks to the graphics options it was enjoyable to play.
All in all, this game is still fun even at its age. So much fun and so much more content that I re-subscribed on a monthly basis. Free-to-play my ass. If it’s worth the money, you should be paying for it. Once again Snickerdoodle is roaming through the servers. See you in game.