Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free games, part 2

To continue with the free games I've been trying out today I bring you:

Champions Online

Superheros have made a come back in the past decade, which saw more super hero movies than any other in history, and it was just a matter of time before someone thought it would be a good idea to make a multiplayer game about it. The first one I can recall was called City of Heroes back in 2004. I have never played it but from it's description, the concept is simple: create and customize your hero and play with it in a world populated by tons of other heroes, or, with the introduction of City of Villains in 2005, you can be a super villain and play for "the other side".

Custom hero running at speed
Champions Online follows a very similar concept with the obvious twist that it is mostly free to play, with the traditional tokens you have to buy with real money to unlock some of the aspects of the game.
The character creating screen is very well done and there are limitless possibilities when it comes to creating your hero's costume, his most defining characteristic. Because of this you will see all kinds of people running around with their own custom made suits, some awesome, some terrible, others very funny.
It's not Batman, I swear.
Your skills are determined by your choice of character "class" or "archtype", for example, you can be a martial arts expert or an archer, a magic type or a tank 'behemoth'. As soon as you see any of the types, some super heroes will come to mind.
There are items to "wear" as in any other online RPG, but they can get really, really confusing. Everything has percentages, numbers everywhere, it's hard to tell which items are better for you right away. Since it was confusing to me, a veteran of 10 years of online games, I can only guess how it would make a total newbie feel like.
The missions you're presented with at first are challenging and fun, and as I understand there are some "adventure packs" you can purchase to further experience comic-like plots and stories.

More info, registration and download at their website.

Lord of the Rings Online

This game isn't new by any means, it's just one of those which is finding hard to attract new players so they went free to play. It is set, as the name gives away, in J.R.R Tolkien's universe, Middle Earth, from his famous books.
The party tree.
As far as the game goes it is quite a traditional fantasy MMORPG. Everything familiar is there, classes, races, quests, etc. The big difference is the atmosphere, seeing all of the places you've read about in the books.
It is a pity then to report that the graphics are very sub par, even for 2007 when it was launched. However, when running around the huge map, I can understand how upgrading the textures alone would be a huge task, so it's not to be expected any time soon if this game is in financial trouble, which going free2play is a sign of.
You can play of course as several of the universe's races, however, only on the side of "good". I guess developers didn't want people playing as orcs or goblins, because they don't really have a mind of their own in the LOTR universe, instead, they serve a master like Saruman or Sauron. There is some PvP however, where someone takes hold of a monster and plays against players. I have not done so yet, so I can't tell you how that plays out.

There's not much else I can say about the game other than if you're a fantasy fan, go and try it out. It's free, after all, and if you like it then great, if you don't, uninstall.
For fans of the series though, you must give it a go. It's quite immersive and seeing some of the scenery is just a good feeling of awesome.

More info on the official website.


  1. A detailed post on the games. Good job.
    More game reviews coming up?

  2. I think I might play Champions. I played a free trial of LOTRO, but it just didn't get my attention enough, and there's not enough content on the free version to attract me to it.

  3. I've heard some pretty good things about Champions Online, I didn't know it was free! There was a good amount of buzz about it when I worked at GameStop. Maybe I'll give it a try :]

  4. LOTR looks impressive but based on Mark's comment I think I'll pass.

    Thanks for bringing these to my attention.