Champions Online Hands-On

The Stronghold superprison was built to hold supervillains, but it couldn't hold us.

Not everyone with superpowers adheres to the old "with great power, comes great responsibility" maxim. They would be supervillains.

According to Champions lore, Stronghold prison was the first institution designed to hold supervillains--those that spurned the laws of mankind to assert their own authority over the powerless. Buried deep beneath the Devil's Head Mesa in New Mexico and utilizing inhibitor energy fields that restrain superpowers, Stronghold is a technological marvel within the Champions universe. Currently, its most powerful prisoner is Menton, blessed with psionic abilities that he uses to penetrate the minds of others, wipe out their personalities, and take their bodies as his own. In our first hands-on session with Champions Online, as luck would have it, Menton has busted out.

You'd be green with envy too if you had a suit of power armor.

One of the biggest draws of Champions Online is the ability to design your own superhero from scratch, from the size of his cape down to the color of his energy blasts. We have yet to see the creator tool in action (lest our imaginary hero Hot Flash with his blend of fire and ice superpowers completely blow your mind), so we were forced to play instead as a prefabricated character wearing a suit of power armor. Developer Cryptic set up a demo mission within Stronghold prison to show off its upcoming online game, which is similar in design to past Cryptic projects City of Heroes and its expansion, City of Villains.

Using an Xbox 360 wired controller on a PC, we teamed up with several other superheroes to enter Stronghold and recapture Menton, currently using his nefarious mind-control powers to pit guards and prisoners alike against us. For fun, let's call our hero Armory, which is fitting because he's outfitted with a chaingun, minigun, micromunitions rocket, kinetic bolt, and the classic punch to the face. Each attack is mapped to a face button, with the left trigger used as an attack modifier and the right trigger to block. Superpowers are recharged by punching enemies repeatedly, building up a power meter. You move with the left trigger and adjust the camera with the right trigger--standard third-person control here.

With a party of eight, Armory and his superfriends powered through Stronghold, eliminating foes and accumulating experience points, which are later used to upgrade your superpowers. Most foes can be taken out from afar with a special attack like a chaingun, but it's best to take out lesser enemies with a weak attack, build up your power meter, and then unleash a barrage of rockets or bullets on stronger foes--that's really what the peon enemies are there for, anyway. Eventually, Armory reached the heart of the prison where Menton began to attack the party with devastating psionic blasts. For those that don't know, Menton is the most powerful human psionic in the world, once considered second in power only to the evil Dr. Destroyer himself. Menton's combination of psychokinetic attacks and shields held off Armory for a while, but an entire party of button-mashing supers would not be thwarted; thus, Menton fell.

Design your own electric blasts in Champions Online; tights are included.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding Champions Online. The combat is very simplistic and seems to be a balancing act of building up the superpower meter with weak attacks then unleashing superpowers--and then doing it all over again. The strength of the Champions tabletop game was always in creating everything from a hero to a home base to a super alliance. Cyptic, as owner of the Champions IP, says it wants to stay true to the Champions universe while creating engaging gameplay at the same time. We'll have to wait until our next visit with Cryptic to see what other elements will be included besides a hero creator, although the ability to create your own nemesis has piqued our interest. Will Hot Flash be able to hone his fire and ice powers within his frozen volcanic fortress in Iceland (known as the Hot Tub) before doing battle with his archenemy, Deadline, the assassin bent on the destruction of video game journalists? Tune in next time--same Bat time, same Bat channel--for more information.

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65 comments
ttam01
ttam01

this looks sweet

sebby1222
sebby1222

Hopefully this will be better than CoH and CoV - i enjoyed them but the areas felt very empty - there werent enough civilians and you could walk down long empty streets - also it would be cool if rival gangs and stuff fought eachother like in Coh and Cov The customisation should be top-notch from cryptic too Can't wat for this but fingers crossed there is no monthly fees

Stealthos
Stealthos

Creating your own supervillian to play against who appears at key points along the story is a brilliant idea!!

indridcold83
indridcold83

When making this game don't take out the fluent movement and fun travel powers that CoH, and CoV have :).

yugofangs2
yugofangs2

do you literally mean a trigger.. Or rather a mouse click button. Clearly specify next time. Meh this maybe a worth while.

CptObvious1031
CptObvious1031

Still no mention of whether or not they will charge a monthly fee to play this game online. Thus far the "pay to play" type games have not faired too well on the 360 from what I've seen.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

Guessing he meant left bumper and right bumper for camera and triggers for the actions. Anyway, it sounds good, played both CoH and CoV and loved'em. Just hope the longevity of this one is stronger, the upgrade system for your abilities in both were rather slim and were more of a roll of the dice with quality, if you didn't have the best upgrades at higher levels you were screwed.... as long as your super powers are levels based instead of upgrade based this could be good.

Wiilo
Wiilo

its a typo. . . unless left trigger both goes left and is an attack modifier and right trigger goes right and is block. . .

roryk666
roryk666

cant wait 2 play this. sounds awesome

DarkDante152
DarkDante152

I loved COH(COV was good but I just perfered COH), and I'v been looking forward to this for quite some time. So far, it's shaping up to pretty good MMO.

The_Fell_One
The_Fell_One

@DarkSpidey69: It's based on how far you press the trigger. You have to hold it perfectly in the center for it to go straight, less pressure turns you left, more pressure turns you right.

rharrigal
rharrigal

I think they meant left and right stick? lol

DarkSpidey69
DarkSpidey69

"You move with the left trigger and adjust the camera with the right trigger--standard third-person control here." hehe, that sounds rather difficult to pull off, wonder how one changes direction with a trigger?

graavigala
graavigala

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

denaz
denaz

Sweet, been waiting for something like this on the 360 :D

GamesAndRoses
GamesAndRoses

I can't wait till it's out! hope it doesnt have a monthly fee

Rizer
Rizer

The is going to be interesting to watch. DC has got a MMORPG coming out for the ps3 and Champions will XBoxing it pretty soon as well.

ShadowJake
ShadowJake

Looks like this one will be cool. I'll probably check it out unless there is a monthly fee. Paying a monthly fee to play a single game is absurd and i won't do it no matter what game it is.

TRAVELAGENT
TRAVELAGENT

Like with city Of Heroes.I think this will steal my real life

Floodedgunner
Floodedgunner

Eh, while this game looks cool, City of Heroes is still where I'm staying... Maybe I'll give this a try.

Mith19
Mith19

wow looks and sounds cool

leem2k1
leem2k1

Of course there will be a monthly fee. Quit fooling yourselves.

joshzen
joshzen

Sounds great so..... is their a monthly fee? That's the difference between me getting this and not. I can't justify a fee outside of xbox live to play a game I can only put a few hours into each week, if that.

Wyrm_Fang
Wyrm_Fang

This sounds pretty cool. I'm into guild wars and i think its a lot of fun. But, this seems to offer extreme character customization, which is something gw doesnt. That makes this game kind of interesting to me. Hopefully, it will be fun and not overly-simplistic. The graphics seem pretty nice, which is a plus. I'll probably try it out if it looks good later on, and I here good things about it. Hope it doesn't dissapoint.

Hachibei
Hachibei

City of Heroes/Villains sucked hard, let's hope this one is better.

Anarky
Anarky

I loved city of heroes/villians but the monthly fees caused me to drop it. If this is similair but with no fee I'm ver interested.

kerrman
kerrman

Sounds like a pretty good game. Though not sure if "very simplistic" and "button-mashing" are phrases that should be said to describe how good a game is. Still, looks awesome, and here's hoping for another free MMO.

Squall_gunbl
Squall_gunbl

the simplistic gameplay comment isn't very encouraging

hardcore_22
hardcore_22

ok as long as this game doesnt have monthly fees i will definately be looking into this game. if it does have monthly fees, forget it. but, other than that it looks great and i cant wait for release!

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Is this going to have a sort of SP component also? Something like conan...

Vindictae
Vindictae

Why did they play this on a PC with an XBOX controller? Sooo, PC gamers can't get to read how the controls are on the PC....Nice.

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

waaah waaaah no monthly fees, dream on guys dream on, and then when your done dreaming get a job that pays better so you can stop crying. Being a gamer isn't cheap, you just need to come to terms with that, and considering the way things are going it's probably not going to get any less expensive. Games are a constantly advancing technical frontier and to be a part of that you gotta pay.

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

The only way I'll even consider this is if it has no monthly fees, and preferably no 'you can buy even cooler powers and costumes'. Being rich shouldn't make you the strongest -.- Anyways there also must be a big free rome invironment and balanced power between supers and supervillians. Maybe , just maybe, this will be good.

-White_Knight-
-White_Knight-

I'm crossing my fingers for a chance to create a Knight with telekinetic powers!!! : )

Old_Gooseberry
Old_Gooseberry

So far, I don't see any sign of it not having fees... which is too bad, cause its the one thing that kept me also from sticking with CoH, the game was fun, but was far too basic to justify monthly fees that high.

-White_Knight-
-White_Knight-

I've always wanted City of Heroes..... too bad I didn't wanna dish out $120 bucks a year for it!!! I'll definitely get this game if it doesn't have monthly fees!!!!!

Khalathwyr
Khalathwyr

Using a chaingun on poor prison guards who have had their minds erased and are possessed by a madman. How heroic.

Kentisc
Kentisc

Very interesting, I'm looking forward to more information.

BadMonk
BadMonk

cant wait for this, but i think move with left trigger and look with right trigger is prob a typo lol!! :)