City of Villains25 Nov 2005 0
Following up their wildly successful MMORPG, City of Heroes, NC Soft?s and Cryptic Studios? City of Villains gives gamers the opportunity to play the super heroic struggle from the other side of the coin. In City of Villains, players get to be the bad guys ? the evil masterminds, assassins, and thugs that were fodder for so many quests in City of Heroes. City of Villains takes all the great gameplay of City of Heroes and capitalizes on it, adding and improving gameplay, story, art, and animation. Evil has never been so fun.
Installation is a breeze. For current subscribers, there is no installation at all ? the City of Villains content is included in the regular updates and is unlocked with a valid product key. New customers install the base package from the CD, but must also get the requisite updates over the web. This may take significant time on slower connections. City of Heroes is not required to play City of Villains, although players obviously will not be able to play heroes without it.
Since the game just launched at the beginning of November, there are still some technical problems being resolved through patches. Stability issues, notably map server disconnects, still happen though the frequency is diminishing with each fix. Popular servers, such as Virtue and Freedom, will have these problems more often simply due to sheer traffic.
The City of Villains web site is a great resource for tracking down the known issues in the game. The player community and the developers maintain a good working relationship and get to the root of many problems quickly.
Documentation and Tutorials
Much like City of Heroes, City of Villains begins with a tutorial. This tutorial is much more fun and interactive than that which kicks off its good guy counterpart, City of Heroes, as it begins with a prison break from ?The Zig?. City of Heroes players will recognize the prison as the Ziggurat in Brickstown. The tutorial is clear and well documented, leading the player from one task to another in order to escape. Once the tutorial is complete, the player will be level two and advance to the Rogue Isles ? the primary setting for the game. The tutorial is not optional at this time, so players will have to go through it each time they create a new character.
The printed documentation is decent, but suffers from the same problem all Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games do: things change since the online content is dynamic and constantly being updated. Changes occur frequently and the printed manuals can?t keep up. Players would do well to periodically consult the official City of Villains website for updates on patches, fixes and changes to the game.
Graphics and Sound
With Issue 6, the City of Heroes patch that includes all of the City of Villains content, many graphical improvements are evident. The City of Heroes web site lists water diffraction, bloom effects and depth of field enhancements as the major visual improvements. Seeing the embers scatter after fire effects is the most evident improvement to me. Overall, many minor changes make a big difference. Be warned that many of these improvements are intensive and may slow down gameplay. Animations, like mobsters fitting a victim with concrete shoes, are great touches that add flavor and style to the zones.