Simple, yet deliciously addictive, CoH gives an immersive, entertaining environment that keeps you coming back for more.
The premise is you start out your own superhero from five different "Archetypes": Scrapper (Melee Damage Dealer), Blaster (Ranged Damage Dealer), Tanker (Takes all the hits), Controller (Manipulates and "Debuffs" enemies), and Defender (Heals/buffs/assist allies). Then, you select a power set, from standard powers like Fire, Energy, Electricity, and Ice, to unique, "out there" powers, like Radiation, Invulnerability, Regeneration, Dark Melee, or Claws, to name a few. There are more than 60 power sets, and that's not mentioning Epic Power Pools or the third power pools.
Then, you customize him/her however you see fit. The customization options have grown immensely since its creation, and almost allow you to create whatever hero you want. The graphics effects are excellent, especially on powers and what the game is able to handle.
The game can be confusing at first. I was confused for quite a while. But in a little bit of time, or if you play with a friend who knows what he's doing, you can learn a lot faster. Ultimately, the game is very simple. No equipment, just you learning new powers and slotting those powers with enhancements (such as to increase Damage, Accuracy, etc.). Thus, there are no artisans, no mining, blacksmithing, or cooking, anything like that. But that just helps the game focus on what it should: Heroes kicking the snot out of Villains. Furthermore, the powers are incredible, and have outstanding variety, and every time you learn a new power, you'll probably be thrilled to try it out on some baddies.
Some powers, I'll admit, are unbalanced. Invulnerability, Regeneration, and Empathy are some of the most overused and overpowered power sets in the game, while a couple others like War Mace need some help. But even then, it is not that obvious, and doesn't affect the gameplay or experience at all really. And the devs are very good and are always trying to fix or balance things through patches and new issues.
The mission layout also is fairly simple. You do missions for a contact, and eventually he'll introduce you to a new one. There are countless contacts and therefore countless missions that always keep the game interesting.
Perhaps what I like most about the game is the teaming aspect. Because of the way the Archetypes are set up, every single one is extremely important to a team. You need damage, so you always want a couple Scrappers/Blasters. You need someone to take hits, so you need a Tanker. You need to debuff and manipulate enemies, so a Controller or two is valuable. Finally, you NEED someone to heal or buff, so Defenders are very significant.
You gain XP way faster in a group, and that just makes the game aimed at finding a group. The LFG/search tool works very well, and most people want groups, so finding one or putting one together yourself shouldn't be too hard. You also run missions much faster, as you can jump from your mission to another hero's mission and keep the XP flowing.
I played an MMO where almost everyone soloed, and I hated that, so this is a very welcome change. Some gamers might not like that. Soloing is possible, but not recommended to do constantly, as XP will likely be slower.
You can level up to 50, which will usually take more than 150 hours of playing time, and once you get there, you can make two new special characters, Peacebringers and Warshades. Playing one of them is like a new game altogether. Plus, most people always have "alts" and just level to 50 with like 3 people at once. That can be exciting and gives variety no matter how many times you play through something.
There is so much else to the game...Arch-villain fights, Task Forces, Trials, Supergroups, Epic Archetypes, Transportation powers, PvP, and more, but most of that you'll have to learn on your own.
If you are a hard-core MMO fan, try the trial first. You may think there is not enough to keep you interested, but just remember that the first 20 levels of the game are only a taste of the real game.
It hooked me...