Champions Online

 
(i)

 

Superhero MMO with fantasy violence and open chat.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Gamers play as superheroes who are having heroic adventures, which involve defeating crime and evil and saving the world.

Positive role models

The superhero Defender is the poster boy for all that is good.  He is the game's equivalent to Superman.  Other secondary characters also portray good role models. However, their methods of eradicating evil involve a lot of violence.

Ease of play

Controls are simple and intuitive with good camera angles. 

Violence

The game is a superheroes MMORPG and gameplay is heavy on fighting and defeating villains. Characters fight using hand-to-hand combat or by employing superpowers that can include casting spells or using fire or ice. Some characters can bite others and when they do, a small amount of blood is shown. Others exhibit extreme strength which allows them to throw massive objects. Defeated enemies fall and then disappear.

Sex

Hyper-sexualized characters can be made in this game, with skin-tight spandex costumes and cleavage on plenty on females. They can also wear bikinis, garter belts, and thigh-high stockings.

Language

Open chat system and anything goes although a language filter is in place.

Consumerism

Some fluff items are available for purchase, and a link to the store is front and center on the website.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

It's a super-heros game.  There are references to nefarious crime / drug lords to be defeated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this superheros game is a massively multiplayer online role playing game set in a wide open world that allows for full chat interaction. The game itself must be bought, and then there is also a monthly subscription fee, as well as some items such as vanity pets that can be purchased for real money. No parental controls are available, and as a superhero, the player will be expected to eradicate evil by violent means.

What's it about?

CHAMPIONS ONLINE is based on the pen & paper roleplaying game of the same name. Billed as an action-oriented online combat game, Players create and customize superheroes and their costumes, select a framework of powers from an options menu, and go out into the wild, wooly world of earth as it is imagined in a comic book to seek quests and carry them out by defeating super villians, criminals, crime and drug lords, and assisting law enforcement officials. In other words, players get to live the life of a comic book superhero. There are several story arcs that gamers will play through and several super-villains they will defeat with in-world friends. Along the way, side quests are plentiful and varied, from infiltrating enemy headquarters to retrieving stolen plans to delivering a serum to save a dignitary’s life while avoiding enemies sent to stop you. Crafting is part of the game and players can acquire blueprints and gather materials to create weapons and equipment. A unique aspect of the game is the Nemesis system. When players create a hero, they are also creating it a Nemesis. At an appropriate level (around 20 and dependent on the character’s development and achievements), players will be asked to look through a database of criminals at Millenium City. What this does is to provide you the ability to customize your Nemesis’ looks, name, and powers. From then on, he/she will appear in quests and show up at opportune or inopportune times to hinder you.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Designed by the same game studio – Cryptic Studios - that created City of Heroes (CoH), Champions Online is their “not quite City of Heroes 2,” where the studio has been able to do the things they wished they had been able to do with CoH. Character and costume customization is top notch. The comic-book graphic style can be turned off in options if you don’t like the heavy black outlines around characters.

The game is fast-paced and controls are simple and intuitive. Planned for Xbox360 as well as PC, players can play the game with their Xbox360 controller if they wish. Helping players to succeed are built-in “boosts” that players run or “roll over” to pick up, such as an energy / health / defense boost or perhaps a fiery shield for a short period of time. Players also gain skills quickly, such as the ability to fly at level 5.  Basically, something new is achieved every few levels or so to keep the player interested.  There is no re-specialization of powers in the game if players decide further on that they dislike their choices, but Cryptic has said a few times that there are no “gimp” builds, that all specializations and powers are equally viable in the game.

Online interaction: With a T rating, this game is really designed for older teens and adults.  Open Chat and open forums -- albeit with moderation -- allow full online interaction although there are friends as well as ignore lists that players can use.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about online Social Behavior and boundaries. Why should you not give out personal information online?  Does a character's behavior impact the way you think about the person controlling that character.  Do you think what you do in game reflects upon you as a person?

  • Families can discuss what fantasy is. What are superheroes or meta-humans? 

  • Families can also talk about in-game Consumerism. Why do you want to have vanity pets or flashy outfits for your avatar?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$50 + $15 monthly
Available online?Available online
Developer:Atari
Release date:September 1, 2009
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes (Windows)

This review of Champions Online was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byiLikemovies44 September 6, 2009
 

Fine for 13 and up

Look, the game is great! The ESRB gave it a teen rating for Suggestive themes... no S#x. just skimpy costumes. Blood.. there is a bit of red on a persons arm if you bite them...just a bit. And fantasy violence... no gory blood splatters or anything... Just auto punches and ice chards etc. I think the game is fine for 13 and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byBionic Reviewer March 14, 2013
 

Fantastic Superhero Game

The game is good. It's some of the most fun leveling up I've had. Be warned, though: Some juicy tidbits like Character Classes, Power Color Altering, Costume Pieces, and the Freeform Archetype require money. 1. Storyline: Not much to speak of. Your character is a Superhero/heroine battling crime in the streets of Millenium City. After defeating the alien invasion for the tutorial zone, your character sets out to complete story arcs around the city; ventures out to crises in the Canadian Wilderness, the undersea kingdom Lemuria, and other locations; and battles supervillains and their thugs in Alerts. 2. Violence: Combat takes the lead role here. Your character can obtain Superpowers and upgrade them, typically resulting in a more impressive animation. Players battle gangs, aliens,corrupt organizations and terrorist groups. At level 25, they may customize their own archenemy, who plays a prominent role from there on in. 3. Sexy Stuff: Characters are of quite "heroic proportions" to match the game's comic-book graphics. Skin-tight and revealing outfits may be worn. 4. Drinking/drugs/smoking: Haven't seen any drug or smoking references in the game, but disguised players may enter a seedy bar in the gang-filled part of town. 5. Role Models: Characters will find themselves doing everything from stopping supervillainous rampages to foiling a bank robbery. Civillians being threatened by criminals can be rescued and will occasionally give the player a quest for their trouble. The Champions are decent role models as well, but there isn't too much interaction with any of them (Aside from Defender, the team leader, who gives out daily quests in the main area of town). 6. Online Interactions: The majority of the community puts the "bad" in "bad sportsmanship". While there are decent folk out there, most of it ends up smothered beneath trolls and unhelpful idiots. 7. Consumerism: As I said, most of the good stuff is gated to non-paying customers. Additionally, an in-game cash shop sells helpful features and extra goodies. 8. Conclusion: The game is a lot of fun. With civillians gossiping about and talking to the player at every corner, the world feels alive and it feels like you are it's champion. It's a great game for kids who want to play at superheroics, too. But do yourself and your child a favor, and disable Zone Chat first. It's under Chat Settings, just disable it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism

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