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Outside the Box: What We Learned

Posted Apr 17, 2006 by Dana Massey

Outside the Box: What We Learned

City of Villains is the focus of Nathan's first look at a specific game begins a new series for our Monday columnist. Over the next few weeks, he'll be looking at different games and their inner-workings.

From time to time, Outside the Box is going to focus on one MMORPG, but this isn’t what you’d call a typical review. Instead of trying to quantify the entire product on a 1-10 scale or giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down, we’re going to dig into the nuts and bolts of the game, dissecting each of the design features to find out what was done right, what didn’t matter, and what was done wrong. Seeing as every incarnation of the “next big” MMORPG is adding to the gene pool of design features, let’s call this segment “What did we learn?”

I’ve spent the last week doing what a lot of subscribers have been doing - playing City of Villains. Having spent a brief amount of time on the first title in this series, City of Heroes, I was already familiar with much of what I saw happening in the sequel/expansion. For starters, they kept the exact same art style and layout. Actually, if you take any of the imagery from CoH, throw it into Photoshop, then swap out all of the blue for red, you get CoV art. Delicate, subtle changes like that walk the fine line between brilliant correlations to the original product and lazy, half-assed shortcuts in production values. The jury is still out on whether or not CoV has properly added to, yet still distinguished itself from CoH.

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