reviewed on PC
Forces Collide (cntd.)
This is when base functionality truly shines. As a defending base, you can install all manner of high tech devices and defense equipment to protect your vault. Since you can design each new room separately as you expand your base, you can truly tailor each room and its defensive attributes in any way you desire. Your base can grow to be a mammoth maze causing attackers to lose themselves in a gauntlet of laser turrets or kept small to concentrate defensive positions. Base defenders should realize that the attackers need only to get their hands on the supergroup item to capture it and they are equally as dangerous with their own array of tricks and tactics. Though base combat may sound very interesting to many, it has one major flaw, you need a supergroup that is advanced enough to not only develop a base that is able to defend itself, but also accomplish the near Epic missions to earn a supergroup item reward. The heroes have the true advantage of having the established supergroups and the cash to accomplish both where the villains are well behind in the power curve.
So, now you have your villain and you're ready to head out into the world and show them who is really running the show. And it is clearly not you. You are reminded of this fact throughout the early part of the game as you are running missions trying to gain favor with the local militaristic arch-villain, Arachnos. This is typically the part when folks talk about, 'The Grind'. The Grind represents the sometimes arduous task of gaining enough XP to earn levels and more powers. Many veteran MMORPG players hear that word and cringe, but the Grind in CoV is not nearly as bad as in some other titles. The mission rewards pay out well and, in the city, hunting is seldom required unless it is mission specific or to get you that extra bit of XP you need to earn your next level.
Combat is fast and easy to pick up. It can be easy and planned out or fast and chaotic - it all depends on your personal approach. One-on-one fights are rare. Usually you will have three or more, often five, attacking adversaries at a time. This is ok and it shouldn't worry you, because you are a super villain. City of Villains is very good at creating the threshold that divides the normal street thug from you and your super villain powers. Sure, those five thugs might all have pistols trained on you, but you can set them all ablaze with just a thought or simply shrug of the bullets and make them wish they never saw you in the first place.
The neighborhood of Mercy Island of the city Rogue Island, where you found yourself after breaking out of prison, is hardly a Rockwell painting. It is more like a war zone with the Rogue Island Police (RIP for short, terribly fitting) trying to maintain order. You find yourself in the middle of a turf war between local gangs of Mercy Island. This is just a proving ground for you to show Arachnos that you have what it takes to get the job done and take what you deserve.
CoV is a MMORPG, so you will be sharing Mercy Island and every other zone with other like-minded villains. This adds an element of unpredictability in gameplay. Sometimes the MMO environment is not the friendliest, but it can also provide many new friends and good experiences that usually outnumber the handful of bad ones. This leads me to grouping and solo play.
Grouping is a major part of CoV and to your success as a super villain. Grouping is not mandatory or required in any way. 90% of the game content is completely playable by yourself. The remaining 10% is made up of higher-end missions usually for a special reward called a task force. Task Force missions require you to form a group to complete it, but the Task Force itself is not a requirement of gameplay or character progression. All missions in CoV and CoH are instants zones. This means that the zone you adventure in is created when and only when you go to the mission area. This allows you to play and hunt in the zone just by yourself or with your group with no outside interruptions. To the casual gamers, City of Villains is a diamond in the rough of MMORPGs. The biggest drawback to most MMORPGs is that it requires a large block of solid uninterrupted time to accomplish anything truly beneficial. City of Villains does not fall into this mold. You can easily make a noticeable leap in your XP progression even in one hour of gaming. I personally have run a mission in under ten minutes with no penalty to my XP gain. Even long missions usually don't last much longer then 20 minutes or so if you take your time. This allows you to make the best use of a short amount of time and actually walk away with a sensation of an enjoyable and productive gaming session.
Those who are brand new to the CoH/CoV titles can very easily pick up the controls and be comfortable with them in only a few minutes. Movement is controlled via mouse and arrow keys while targeting and power activation can be done either through mouse selection or number keys. The customization menu is very well thought out and allows almost every feature of the screen and interface to be tweaked to your liking.
One point that stands out about the game interface is the lack of character micro management. This concept first appeared with City of Heroes and caused mixed reactions among players. Many of the players who were accustomed to having ability scores and equipment didn't adjust as quickly as other who enjoyed the hassle free playing style offered in City of Heroes and now City of Villains. Your character will have power sets as discussed earlier, but that is it. No ability scores to keep track of or equipment to upgrade. The closest thing to having an inventory of any kind is your "Enhancement" screen. Enhancements are used to buff your powers by a percentage based on the type of enhancement used. As you advance in level, you can use more, bigger and better enhancements. You can sell off or buy enhancements as needed as your character will outgrow them as he continues to grow in power and level.
The art design of City of Villains is the same that is used in City of Heroes. The engine itself looks like it has received an upgrade, but unless you are a veteran CoH player, the upgrade will likely go unnoticed. The upgrade, though minor, did add some new technology by adding light blooming, additional and better detailed particle effects such as the blur that appears over a flame caused by heat. The color is a bit more vibrant and you can really see the details in the surrounding scenery and your character. Water affects have also been upgraded allowing transparency of shallow and surface water.
No Pros and Cons at this time