By Sweep 14 Comments
Champions Online is a game that... well... It's kinda... yeah.
Is there even any point in me telling you what kind of game it is?I'm sure by now you already know and if you don't you should go and find out. Because it's free. Yep, you have no excuse not to play it. Unfortunately you then have plenty of excuses to stop playing it.
Being the broke chump that I am, I sauntered back into Millennium City riding the wave of freeness in all it's glory. Having arrived I was greeted by the familiarity of Champions Online's fantastic aesthetic and wonderful atmosphere. There are hundreds of dudes flying, teleporting, swinging, leaping, and whizzing around all over the place and when you are caught up in the hubbub it's a pretty magical spectacle to behold.
UnfortunatelyThe general structure of the game remains overtly bland, with the city and it's surrounding locations so vast that it's easy to find yourself depressingly isolated for long periods of time. This is a shame, as it's the creativity of the playerbase in designing their heroes that makes Champions Online so vibrant. I have been playing a few hours a day for the past week and remain consistently underwhelmed with the gameplay, finding the core quest mechanics uninspired and monotonous - which is pretty much how I felt the first time I played it back when it was released. I'm level 11 with my current character and I only have two attacks other than my basic punch. One of them is a slightly stronger punch, and one of them if a leaping punch. As almost every mission involves going somewhere and fighting something, only having 2 buttons to press is absolutely mind-numbing. I spend most of my time mashing a single button before tabbing onto my next dullard opponent.
However it's important to remember that Champions Online is now free, which makes it a lot easier to overlook many of the games shortcomings. As a business model it works fantastically well, and I have on several occasions had to catch myself before handing over some of that Green Paper (that I don't have) in exchange for Atari Bones (That I don't want) so I could buy goofy shit (which I don't need). I stopped myself just in time when I realised that my Swamp Monster In A Tuxedo was already as awesome as it was possible to be. Perhaps more so.
The fact of the matter is, Champions Online is a fairly complete product already and you can enjoy it without having to worry about micro-transactions, though it remains a fantastically colourful world of entrapment and you may find it very hard to resist it's seductive manipulations. Just being exposed to the possibility of Rocket Boots is so sorely tempting that I spent a good 5 minutes looking at them and then researching how to buy Atari Points before I even remembered that I don't even actually like this game.
So Champions Online happened and is continuing to happen. There are many things in this world which I am prepared to pay for and Champions Online was once one of them, but in retrospect; free is a much more appropriate price for this specific brand of insanity.
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