I am pleased to report that Champions Online does not suck mightily. I haven’t gotten all that far into it, but so far the gameplay seems well-done, the world seems atmospheric and the character creator seems marginally more powerful than the one in CoH, without actually remotely approaching the flexibility of the Champions tabletop game. I also like the art style a bit more that I do that of City of Heroes; CO is more distinctive, and the city has a very nifty art deco feel.
I also like that you can pick up streetlights and stuff and hit people with them. CoH feels the lack of this feature. Combat is very fast-paced, and will, I think, adapt well to a console controller or to an eventual console release.
It certainly is very reminiscent of City of Heroes, and one suspects that at least parts of CoH’s code base were imported into or adapted for this effort. Certain quirks carry over, like the requirement to set your keybinds on each character individually, something that CoH eventually did away with.
I can’t say this from firsthand experience just yet, but I believe that it isn’t going to be nearly as full-featured as the very mature CoH is right now. Such is the nature of MMOs, I’m afraid. I’m not at all sure that CO will draw away very much of the entrenched CoH fanbase, but I do think that the first impression left by the first thirty minutes or so of play is just as good. Only time wil tell if it holds up under extended play as well as CoH does.
The Open Beta ends at 10AM Sunday. I can be counted on to play some more tomorrow night. After the last several days of heavyweight WoW play, I’m feeling like Champions Online is a refreshing break.