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City of Heroes: Good vs. Evil Combined Edition PC DVD-ROM

Published by: NCsoft
Developed by: Cryptic Studios
Release Date: Out Now

Until recently most MMORPG games chose to go the medieval, Lord of the Rings route in terms of the games' looks and the classes that were used. Over the last few years this hasn't quite been the case as we are seeing more games with their own unique themes. One of those that have really stood out in this respect is City of Heroes. The game essentially allows you to create your own superhero and use them to kick evil's rather big butt. Compared to some MMORPGs there's a lack of complexity here but this also makes the whole thing more accessible and more immediate. The game proved to be popular and a sequel allowing players to be the very antithesis of what they had been in City of Heroes was released. City of Villains allowed gamers to have their own sinister villain and cause as much havoc as they wished. Here we have a product that combines both the City of Heroes and the City of Villains into one package.

After installing the game, opening an account and going through the lengthy update process, you'll get to choose what server to play on and whether you want to create a hero or a villain. Regardless of what you choose the process is essentially the same and there are a range of character customisation options to work your way through. You'll get to choose your character's archetype, which is essentially their class. Heroes have a choice of Blaster, Controller, Defender, Scrapper and Tanker (level 50 characters are required to choose Peace Bringer or Warshade). Villains have a choice of Brute, Stalker, Mastermind, Corruptor and Dominator. Both Heroes and Villains can choose to have Science, Mutation, Magic, Technology or Natural as their origin. Next you'll have to pick a primary and secondary power set and which primary and secondary powers to begin with. Then of course you'll simply get to customise the look of your character.

If you're going to create a superhero or a villain you'll want them to look good and quite different from other characters in the game. The character customisation options are very impressive. You can create both male and female characters with a choice of slim, average, athletic and heavy builds. Hairstyles and hair colour can be chosen. You'll get a wide range of outfits to choose from and you can pick the colour for your outfits. Logos can be chosen as well as the choice of gloves and boots etc. You can give your character glasses, eye patches, facial marks and tweak various aspects of their facial features. In fact it's possible to either mimic a well known superhero or create a look that's like no other superhero (or villain of course) to date.

When you're happy with the look of your character you'll begin the game and here you'll have the option of taking a tutorial that will introduce you to the game's various functions. Essentially you'll do a few simple errands for various NPCs and these errands encourage you to get to grips with the basics. Once you begin the main game you'll quickly realise that the game isn't quite like other MMORPGs. Playing as a superhero you'll notice that missions are more focused on dealing out punishment to the bad guys. Of course should you choose to play as a villain, the tutorial begins with your character in jail. In City of Villains, which is by all accounts a very similar experience to City of Heroes, you'll encounter similar missions to those that you'll find in City of Heroes, although here they have an evil twist. This compilation supports PvP in designated zones so you'll get to see the superheroes and villains battle it out.

You can play solo or form groups of up to eight players (guilds can also be formed) and the battles can actually be quite impressive. Indeed it pays to play in a group that has a nice assortment of the different archetypes. It's also worth pointing out that no archetype seems to outperform any of the others as they are well balanced. The AI isn't too shabby and won't simply hang around for a beating if you're too much for them. They can also put up a fair challenge. Naturally you'll have to be able to spot the enemies you can defeat and the game colour-codes the text of the opponent to show whether they are weaker, stronger or approximately around the same level. The battles are quite enjoyable and certainly more entertaining than those found in most MMORPG titles.

It's been a few years since City of Heroes was released and, as you'd expect, the game doesn't look as good as some of the more recent MMORPG titles. That said however, the game looks good enough and I was pleased to see our aging, but trusty, PC handle the game quite nicely. The game's presentation is quite pleasing and features a HUD that can be customised to your liking. I ran the game both in Windows XP and Windows Vista. In XP the game ran absolutely fine but in Vista there were stability problems. The game only officially supports Windows 2000 and XP so this is hardly a problem with the game, although it might cause problems if you only have Vista on your PC.

Deaf Gamers will be absolutely fine with City of Heroes and City of Villains. The tutorials are delivered in text only. Communications with NPCs are in text only. All mission objectives are given in text and can be recalled at any time. Support for text communication with other players has been included and as well as text chatting in the conventional way you can also simply select quite a large number of phrases from a menu to allow you to communicate quickly and effectively.

For those who have yet to experience City of Heroes or City of Villains, City of Heroes: Good vs. Evil Combined Edition is a great way of getting your hands on two of the more enjoyable MMORPG's of recent times. The single subscription fee covers both titles so it won't be expensive to enjoy both titles after the initial 30 day game time has expired. As well as both games you're also getting maps of Paragon City (City of Heroes) and Rogue Isles (City of Villains), all of the content updates since the games were originally released, issues 1-6 of Top Cow's City of Heroes comics (in PDF form) and twelve character slots per server allowing you to play as a wide range of characters. There's even a 14-day trial to give away to a friend. That's a lot of content and for just £19.99 it's an absolute bargain.

Overall Game Rating 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
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City of Heroes: Good vs. Evil Combined Edition is a great value package that allows you to play two of the more enjoyable MMORPG's of recent times for a very affordable price. It's also more immediate and accessible than a good many of the MMORPG's that are currently available.