It’s hard to not enjoy this game if you at all enjoy super heroes or super villains. I have no idea what gave NCsoft the idea to develop such a game, but CoH took off right away and became immensely popular despite it being completely different than other MMO’s out there. CoV took all the good stuff from CoH, spun them around, and spit out another hit.
One thing I really liked about the game is that there is no shortage of players… ever. Regardless of where you are in the game, chances are you will see someone near. I even had a group invite while I was flying way above the city! No doubt, it’s a very popular game. One thing I immediately noticed though, is that despite being villains, the community has many friendly and helpful people. Within three days of playing, I had four separate people at random times come to my rescue before I was owned by some mob. Instead of killing the mob, they simply healed me so that I could finish him off and get the experience. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal for someone to jump to someone’s rescue, but I have played my share of MMO’s and have never seen a community so helpful. The only other game I have seen like this is Asheron’s Call.
I enjoyed the fact that soloing is a possibility. If you learn your skills well and distribute enhancements properly, you can handle larger groups without too much of a problem. If your character is equipped with the Rest skill, then you could hunt continuously and level fairly quickly if you are careful. If you like to group with friends, then things are even more efficient, and leveling is a lot quicker than solo. It’s also quite easy to get in a group if you are looking for one. All you really have to do is push F9 and it will broadcast that you are looking for a hunting group and it usually doesn’t take too long to get in one.
From a technological standpoint, this game looks absolutely amazing. The graphics are extremely clean and crisp, and it chalk full of eye candy. If you are running a high resolution and increase all the graphics to max, you are in for a serious treat. Walking through the first city, I would easily compare the graphics to that of Half-Life 2.. almost. Another impressive feature is that the game supports the AGEIA PhysX PPU add-in card, so you are good to go when that card hits retail. The audio is equally impressive. Each area you explore has it’s own custom music, and the voices and sounds of NPC’s really helps add to the games theme.
I only have a few complaints about the game. The first would be the lack of a real loot system. You pick up enhancements and inspirations, but they don’t actually stay with you for long and it doesn’t really give a sense of accomplishment with those. In many other MMO’s, I have become accustomed to picking up items I can wear or equip later on, even if it’s just for cosmetics sake. Collecting loot items is something that I find enjoyable, but this game technically leaves you with nothing. As Friggin’ Taser mentioned in the interview, the way the game is designed doesn’t really allow actual loot, because the game is more skill orientated than item oriented, which can actually be considered a good thing.
One thing I would have loved to see, are more spots in the cities for solo’ers. Sure you can survive no problem hunting groups of mobs that are slightly lower level than you, but then the enhancements you acquire from them are lower level, which means your skills will never be up to sync with your level if you plan to solo often. I would have liked to see areas with single higher level mobs spaced out enough that a solo’er could survive and still earn decent XP and enhancements.
Overall though, if you are a fan of super heroes and super villains, you’d be hard pressed to not enjoy this game. While the lack of a real loot system somewhat bothers me, chances are it will not bother you, especially if you are new to the MMO world. The game allows you to create your perfect villain to your exact specifications and go have fun killing other villains and corrupted policemen. What else could you want really?!
After it’s all said and done, I am awarding the game an 8 out of 10. One thing I’d also love to see in the future are free trials that anyone with a credit card could acquire. That way there would be no real need for a review like this, as you could see for yourself whether you’d enjoy the game or not. This is not only a practice I’d like to see NCsoft do, but every MMO developer. SoE already offers free trials with their games, and it’s a great example to set. The monthly fee for the game is $14.95US, and the retail copy of the game hovers around $30US and includes a free month of playtime.
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