City of Villains Review / Preview for PC

City of Villains Review / Preview for PC

It’s like City Of Heroes but with a Bizarro World sensitivity. by Daemia

November 29, 2005 – Sometimes it’s good to be bad. City of Villains offers you no other choice than to don the persona of some of the most brilliantly evil characters to ever walk the very planet they have sworn to destroy.

City of Villains could be construed as the sequel to City of Heroes but both are stand-alone games can be played independently of each other. You can play both games online for one monthly fee of $15 but you must have both copies of the game – if you want to play them both. Otherwise all you need is the one copy of the game that you want to play and the monthly fee is still the same.

Got that?

Overall the gameplay in Villains is very similar to Heroes. You don’t really do things in an opposite manner since the missions still require you to fetch something and get the hell out of the level while shooting at enemies and navigating booby traps. For instance, kidnapping a victim (which is evil) is virtually identical to escorting a NPC out of enemy territory (which isn’t evil). Other evil activities that you can participate in include bank robberies, taking out security guards, knocking over a casino and generally running amok creating as much of a disturbance as possible. The line between good and evil is an arbitrary one. The missions are always fast and furious, but until you reach the higher levels you’ll probably find them repetitive both in execution and in surroundings. You’ll be given the odd exciting mission, but just to give you an example – I played CoV for 3 nights straight, doing these annoying little missions until I got to do something that I found to be more exciting. That’s a lot of repetition for little reward at first, but the fun factor (my apologies to Gamepro) increases exponentially the further you go and the more powerful you become. Just expect to spend many hours on the bottom rungs of this virtual society at first.

The story begins with a prison break. During this time you will learn all the finer points of becoming a super villain. This level acts as a tutorial where you will react with various interfaces to gain the necessary knowledge to begin your transformation as you acquire your powers. There are countless costume variations if you want to go for the human anti-superhero look. Here you’ll find the requisite tights and capes along with accessories such as spikes, chains, leathers, straps and masks – all with an evil flair. Expect a lot of blacks and reds as well as some outrageous color combinations. If you prefer you can take the form of a zombie, demon or other kinds of monsters. Don’t forget the mad scientist, a staple in comic-book folklore. You can literally tailor your look as you level-up by using a tailor to make adjustments to your outfit. This, along with many other ventures will require money although if I remember correctly, the first costume alteration is free. Expect to pay after that.

Experience points are required to level-up your character but you’ll also need some currency (called Infamy) to purchase furnishings and equipment for your evil lair. Events take place on the Rogue Isles, a large grouping of islands that is ripe for expansion. There are of course numerous quests you can perform solo in both the offline and online modes but you’re going to have to join a group if you really want to get ahead.

Choosing your character’s archetype (class) is probably the most important decision you can make. There are five different types including the Brute, Dominator, Mind Stalker, Corrupter and Mastermind. The Mastermind is able to summon various zombies, ninjas and robots to do his bidding. All of the skills are fairly well balanced but if you want my opinion, go for the class with ranged abilities as opposed to melee.

There are a large variety of single and team-based missions, each with its own rewards. You can find out about single player missions by talking to NPCs or reading the headlines in the newspaper.

Each group of villains is responsible for creating and establishing a base where members can respawn, regain health, turn salvage into useable items and plot the next mission. Money is earned through Infamy while Prestige can only be acquired when missions are successfully completed in Super Group Mode. You’ll earn far less experience points in this mode but the money can be used to outfit your evil headquarters with furnishings, armor, weapons and power generators. These bases serve to give you a sense of community as you and your team work towards various goals. Creating a lair for your Super Group is one of the most fundamental differences between CoV and CoH. Lone wolf players of this evil online world would be well advised to get some friends together and investigate the gameplay enhancements of creating a lair for your group. Ignore this advice at your peril, as CoV becomes far more entertaining with the existence of a Super Group.

Since everyone in the game is evil, expect raids upon your lair (and the opposite is true). Much like other online multiplayer games where you must defend your base, these attacks will require teamwork and sometimes blind obedience to the leader (if you choose to listen to him or her). Nothing feels as good as successfully defending your base from attack by actually coming together and working as a team. Nothing. The reverse is also true. That all depends on the kind of people you have playing with you though. The younger players on the team I have found are genuinely rogue agents and are just out to goof off. Figures.

Player-verses-player combat is consensual. You don’t just run into fights randomly. PVP combat takes place in specific arenas (currently 4 of them) where you can battle superheroes from CoH as well as other villains. There are rewards for the winner and the losers will lose some experience points as part of a debt penalty. If battling it out with your goody two shoes counterparts is what gets your juices flowing you’re bound to love this part of the game. If you’re battling it out with heroes and villains and everyone has the ability to voicechat, all the better. It makes for some great over the top exchanges as long as people are into the role. A few times I found kids saying things just to see if they’d get a rise out of me because I’m a female. They don’t know me too well. Had I opened my mouth and retaliated, I would have made them cry and/or commit suicide….not necessarily in that order. A well placed biting remark from a female at their delicate ages could shatter their self esteem as easily as the Hulk shatters glass. Such is the power of Daemia.

Many of the backgrounds and sound effects are stolen from City of Heroes. I can’t really say this is a bad thing since both games should share the same style. There is some slowdown during the huge team PVP matches but for the most part you will experience smooth sailing. You might want to invest ina fist full of RAM to slam into your PC. If you think 512 MB is enough….think again. A gig won’t even make a dent if you’ve got a slow processor to boot.

NCSoft has definitely created a niche market for themselves with the City Of series, except where to do they go from here? City of Mutants? City of Monsters? City of Accountants? In any event, don’t hedge your bets on CoV playing completely different from what you’ve experience in CoH, since it was originally set to be an expansion. It’s a fun game that will sometimes have you rollercoastering between “this is awesome!” and “this sucks!” but generally if you love all things comic booky, you’re going to love spending time with these bad boys of science fiction.


  • Massively multiplayer gaming where players take on the role of a super-powered villain.
  • Play and live in a visually stunning 3-D world.
  • Cryptic’s costume creation system allows for literally billions of different costume combinations including costume colors, patterns, textures, hair and facial features.
  • Leap tall buildings, fly over entire cityscapes, run at super speeds, execute twisted schemes and more!
  • Form your own Squad of Villains. Band together with your friends and become the menace that plagues Paragon City.
  • Go on personalized missions for revenge or conquest.
  • Build hidden lairs and forge new weapons for your evil adventures.
  • Wage epic battles against Hero and rival Villain Groups in huge base invasions.
  • Become infamous. Watch as the masses tremble at the mention of your name. Your might grows with each successful mission and every defeated foe.

By Daemia
CCC Staff Writer

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