Champions Online: Love/Hate Relationship
I have always wanted to be a superhero. Even today, I walk around waiting for my super powers to present themselves. Yes, I know how lame that sounds, but the allure of being able to do such amazing things like we see today in the movies being made by Marvel and DC universe characters, and television shows like Heroes, just make the idea of being a superhero seem so close to reality.
I’ve been a fan of superhero mythology since as far back as I can remember. He-Man and She-Ra were some of the first cartoons I watched growing up. Then, after that it was things like Spiderman, X-Men and whatnot. I’ve always been surrounded by stories of people with special abilities.
So back when I heard that Cryptic was working on a new game called Champions Online, I bought a lifetime subscription. It was partly to gain access to the closed beta of Star Trek Online (see my review on Nomadic Gamer here), but I probably would have at least bought a six-month subscription had that not been a factor.
Since then, I have spent almost as much time in the character creator as I have in the game itself. Completing missions is fairly straightforward and not always fun, but doing it so that you can earn another power makes it all worthwhile. That is, until you get to around level 30. After level thirty, I started finding it very difficult to find a power that would fit the type of character I was creating, and if one did exist, it was either fairly weak, uninspired, or just stupid. Nearly all of the pets you can summon related to powers have an A.I. that must be powered by burnt toast because they can barely make it through doors.
Champions Online caps out at level 40, and while it took me a fair bit of time to reach that cap, I am frustrated that there is no longer any “real” content to speak of. I have gained access to the end mission content, but haven’t taken time to play through any of it, since it doesn’t allow me to get any higher in level.
As of nearly two and a half months ago, I made it to this cap, and haven’t actually played the game since then. This isn’t because the game doesn’t live up to my expectations, but more so because I don’t like to do things twice, and despite creating a game with an infinite amount of character builds, pretty much every character goes through the exact same mission progression.
I’ve created a few characters, and tried to get through the initial grind of the first few levels. One thing that they did that I really enjoyed was the fact that I could skip the tutorial area and get right to the “better” content.
I continue to play around with the character creator though, and think that it will always be the games saving grace in my eyes. Creating superheroes is fun as it allows my imagination to run wild and brings out the writer in me. So the rest of the game isn’t top notch? Who cares? The character creator alone was worth the price of admission in my eyes.