|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cryptic Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 1, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: MMO||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are some other larger bosses to tackle, but the bulk of your adversaries come in the form of swarms of well-designed but largely forgettable henchmen and slightly stronger goons. Get bored of that, and you can eventually battle other players in the unlockable PvP arenas. Additionally, teaming-up with groups of other heroes to complete special missions and defeat tougher opponents can be fun. However, Champions Online in its present form doesn't seem to do much to encourage and reward players for lasting teamwork. A robust set of networking options are there, though it's just as easy to overlook them and plow through on your own.
Experience and items gained from slaughtering regular opponents is limited, which is why you'll want to take on as many quests as you can handle. While they're varied in terms of thematic scope, most missions fall under the pretty standard categories of killing something, fetching something, or talking to someone. Despite this, there's a ton of them to tackle, and every experience level you gain and new power you're able to buy as a result of frequent and relatively enjoyable grinding feels rewarding. Continuing to build you hero, growing stronger, and amassing wilder powers throughout the game is a big draw.
In keeping with the genre's comic book roots, Champions' cel-shaded cartoonish visuals are considerably impressive. The chaos that greets you in Millennium City at the start of the game sets a grand tone that carries through each of the areas you'll explore. Moving onward into the desert and beyond, you'll find some solid variety in the environments. As sexy as the different areas you'll encounter are, it's the complexity and expansive character design options available that really bring the game to life. Other heroes of all shapes and sizes are continually running around going about their business around you, and the bizarre spandex parade provides some highly entertaining sights to behold.
Champions Online gives the appearance of a vast open-world full of rampaging villains and heroic adventure, and it lives up to this promise on many levels. You'll find much of the fun and mayhem one might expect to encounter in such a place. Yet there are moments when it's hard to shake the linear feeling that gradually creeps into the experience from time to time. From our time immersed in this comic book realm, we can heartily recommend giving it a shot. There's no doubt MMO enthusiasts and superhero fans alike will enjoy their time here. It will be interesting to see what Cryptic Studios rolls out in the months ahead to expand the fantasy and hold players' interest.
CCC Staff Contributor