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Pre-E3 2008 Champions Online

Developer: Cryptic Studios | Publisher: Atari
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: MMO

Release Date: 09/01/09

champions.jpg2K Games and Cryptic Studios are getting ready to send players, on both the Xbox 360 and PC, into the wild world of Massively Multiplayer Online games with the new cross platform title Champions Online. For those of you not familiar with Cryptic Studios--they are the development house that delivered the hit PC City of Heroes and City of Villains. With Champions Online, players on both platforms will be able to participate in all of the fun and excitement that comes with controlling a Super Hero. Although it would make sense for Cryptic Studios to port over City of Heroes and City of Villains, they sold the rights to the franchise to NCSoft. Despite that, with Champions Online, we are getting a seasoned MMO development house working on a real console MMO. And from what has been shown, it looks like it may be a hit.

The Superhero of Champions may not be the most popular but has plenty of characters that you have heard of before. True, while Hercules, Medusa, and Achilles may not be as popular as Spider-Man, Super-Man, Bat-Man, or the X-Men--the universe is still able to stand on its own. The story takes place after a large number of super heroes and civilians have been killed--including the mastermind behind the whole scheme Dr. Destroyer. Now as peace has returned to the land, someone claiming to be Dr. Destroyer has appeared on the scene and you enter the world to discover more and to see if he is truly the real Dr. Destroyer.

Champions Online has been designed, from the ground up, to be played with a gamepad. In fact, the Developers will even demo the game on a PC and use a gamepad to control the action. All of your powers will be mapped to face buttons and the combat is all real time. Despite Champions Online being a Massively Multilayer Online game, the title plays more like an Action "hack 'n slash" than a tradition online title. This will make it easier for console players to get in on the action. At the same time--by focussing so heavily on the console side of things--hardcore players on the PC side may lose interest quickly or never even try it. But players who can give Champions Online a try will find a lot of variety in the title. There will be areas like jungles, outer space, other dimensions, Deserts, and even Canada to explore. However, lets hope that the PC side of things gets a few more control options for the hardcore.

Cryptic Studios is also delivering a variety of ways to build a unique looking super hero. Practically all areas of a character can be customized. This includes making a character from 3 to 8 feet, stance, animation, eyebrows, face, body, expressions, attitude, and more. The character creation screen adds quite a bit more depth than what was in City of Heroes. The improvement is probably due the experience that Cryptic Studios had while creating City of Heroes and City of Villains. Players further customize their hero by choosing from a variety of different powers. Seriously, what good is a super hero unless he has cool powers? Players are free to mix and match a variety of powers--including those that wouldn't normally make sense. Want a super hero that can zap lightning and fire from the same fingers? Done. Once you get through choosing your powers, players are free to write their character's story. Here you can explain how they got their weird powers and why they are only 3 feet tall. If you are going to make a super hero, why not go all the way and pick a midget? In my opinion, the little people are one of the most underutilized groups of super heros... That is until I get my hands on creating a whole army of little tiny agents of justice. We may be small but we carry a whole lot of firepower!

Champions Online is shaping up to be arguably the biggest MMO launch since Final Fantasy XI. With colorful graphics, an awesome character creation tool, and the ability to possibly even have a secret identity, Champions Online may just become a hit on the Xbox 360 and PC when it finally is released.

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By Kaleb Rutherford - 07/14/08
ESRB Details: - Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes - This is an online fantasy role-playing game (RPG) in which players assume the role of superheroes that perform quests, defeat villains, and follow a storyline involving an alien invasion. Players complete their quests in order to 'level up' their customizable characters, while gaining powers and better equipment along the way. Players can employ hand-to-hand combat (e.g., fists and swords) or use their 'super powers' (e.g., fire, ice, and poison spells; throwing heavy objects) to defeat an assortment of soldiers, attack dogs, and bug creatures. When opponents are defeated, they usually fall to the ground and disappear after a short period of time. A 'Bite' attack allows players to lean in and bite enemies, resulting in a brief mist of red blood. Players can customize their female characters with provocative attire/accessories (e.g., garter belts, bikinis, and thigh-high stockings) or outfits that barely cover the breasts.
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Screenshots for Pre-E3 2008 Champions Online

Microsoft's E3 2008 Press Conference

Pre-E3 2008 Gears of War II