A city packed with bulging muscles, ambiguous spandex suits and a “blast now, ask questions later” justice policy
City of Heroes/Villains has been around for a number of years now and a small army of Issue releases have helped bolster the adventures of the online super heroes and villains. NCSoft have now come to Issue 12, which has taken almost six months to put together, and aside from adding a possible turning point to the alien invasion menace it also looks to help tweak some of the day-to-day tasks of crime fighting.
The title Midnight Hour directly links to the new Midnight Squad who apparently has some secrets that will help the would-be saviours and defenders of Justice repel the alien scourge, otherwise known as the Rikti. So some fancy pants new organisation shows up and you’re supposed to just drop the criminal goon you’re pummelling and go help them out? You bet. NCSoft have included a host of new missions to undertake for this Midnight Squad and they range from level 10 to about 50 so generally there’s something for everyone.
If that wasn’t enough to entice your craving for spandex wrapped fury then perhaps getting the chance to slap around some Roman Legionnaires will. The Midnight bunch have used their time altering Ouroboros crystal, which was introduced previously to the community, and now gives the heroes and villains the chance to step way back to the Roman days of yore. The Roman Cimeroran Peninsula is where the Latin actions at though I’m not quite sure the Empire of Roma saw this little skirmish coming. This is the new triumph (get it?) of NCSoft’s labour - a co-operative zone that allows both Hero and Villain to enter the peninsula, once they’ve jumped through a small number of hoops naturally. Inside you’ll find some story-led missions and a few randomised ones, plus a taskforce challenge for over 35’s – it’s a fantastic little vacation package from the life of the urban sprawl with some beautiful environments you’ll miss once you leave.
What you lookin’ at punk?
The Romans, not so accustomed to laser beam eyes
While new areas may be getting their ribbon cutting ceremonies it spells near abandonment for others. A lot of the early zones have become havens for crime as the player base has matured its way up to the higher ranks. This applies to other MMO’s like World of Warcraft but with Blizzard enjoying much healthier subscriptions there’s regularly “new generations” of characters being put through their paces to liven up the place again. For a massively multiplayer online game some of the starter areas now are almost eerily devoid of much contact with another human, which isn’t too good of a welcome or impression for new players.
For harden heroes or villains at the top of the food chain though there’s plenty to be getting on with. Two new Epic Archetypes have been added with Issue 12, which are only available for super evil doers. Wolf Spiders and Blood Widows are the newest recruits to join the dark underbelly of society, both are accompanied with some back story and missions so they don’t feel just slapped into the mix of things. You can choose to specialise your Epic Archetype meaning that you can turn your Blood Widow into a Night Widow, which would focus her abilities more. These do limit their potential when soloing out and about but when a bunch of these Destined Ones gets together you can expect to see fireworks and more. What’s great is that the game will let you have a little peak into the future when it comes to power choices, at grunt level you can see just how much a kick it will be down the line – something that was sorely lacking a while back.
Super powers take vacation in past superpower
What’s not in fashion about that getup?
For the Heroes side of things they get a revamp of The Hollows, which was introduced 10 issues ago now, but unfortunately the language included in the features list for Midnight Hour is a bit deceptive. It lists the zone as getting a “makeover” when aesthetically in fact there’s not a drop of paint or new shrub in sight. What they have altered are the NPC encounters with a rebalancing and with the addition of some new baddie types to clobber through. You can now take up some repeatable missions, but I think all this is still a far cry from the meaning of the word “makeover” in its traditional sense.
Something that’s received a bit of a cheer from the community is the little things like the UI getting a kick in its rear. It may seem an odd point but being able to split apart the power quick slots and plastering where you want is no longer a far off dream – it’s here. The chat window has been tightened some too as NCSoft whip it into better shape. There’s still trouble brewing though when it comes to other windows which need the hammer of justice to give them a work over but everyone seems to be in agreement that this is definitely a step forward, even if only a partial one for now.
Take a break from mana and potions, join the league of Super Groups!
Some districts have taken a hit in domestic tourism
Top Game Moment:
CITY OF HEROES - ISSUE 12: MIDNIGHT HOUR VERDICT
A journey still lies ahead for this City of Heroes, both in a rich story that NCSoft are determined to keep on flowing to the superhero masses but also in putting their house affairs in order. Everything Issue 12 comes packed with is a reminder why avid players love their online super egos and that the dev team puppet masters have still got their bag of tricks in good form. Sure it’s no paradise for the forces of good and evil but if you find the time to put in the effort, especially enlisting your services to a super group, you’ll be hard pressed not to find yourself enjoying thwarting crime or in some cases perpetrate it. NCSoft help prove that the power of comics can go MMO and is a welcomed break from the traditional sword and staff approach.
TOP GAME MOMENT
The sheer versatility in shaping your alter ego from a stylish spandex costume to physics defying powers.