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Choose My Adventure: Cruisin' with the gang in City of Heroes

MJ Guthrie

You've experienced it, right? That magic moment on any trip of significant length when you've been living and breathing the locale long enough that the place starts to feel more familiar and you settle in, that time when you feel less like a tourist and more like a local. After the last few weeks traveling with you all, I have hit that moment in City of Heroes. While I still may not be able to tell one inspiration from another by sight, I can find my way around the 'hood and know the skyline when zipping about -- well, at least in Atlas Park. Oh, and I found a Mexican restaurant! It's almost like a second home now.

It was upon reaching this comfort zone that City of Heroes got better for me; this past week has been more fun than the previous ones during this Choose My Adventure road trip. (And yes, I'd even call the torture of the expansive character creation fun. Exhausting, but fun!) What transpired this week? Buckle up and step on the gas to see.

Gallery: CMA: City of Heroes | 67 Photos

City of Heroes screenshot

You know one of the things I love most about letting you drive? I get to sit back and just enjoy the scenery. And enjoying the scenery is exactly how I have spent a portion of my time. Possibly too large a portion, even. I have already mentioned that the game looks nice, but that's a bit like saying a '65 Mustang is an OK car.

City of Heroes sports some incredible detail that draws you in and makes you want to wander everywhere and see everything. It starts with the city itself. Although from a distance buildings look a bit fuzzy and surreal, when you venture close, their detail really stands out. The brick, granite, and other materials look very detailed. Surfaces of stonework are marred to look more authentic. I keep doing flybys just to take in the intricacies of the different structures.

City of Heroes screenshot
Outer facades weren't the only ones given the detail treatment; wander into buildings and the little details surround you. The hospital has cabinets of stacked medications with enough detail that I can almost suppose what some of those boxes might contain. The computer screens have familiar icons (though I haven't found any blue screens of death yet, so I am not sure how accurate they really are). The carpets have woven threads and curtains are patterned. And then there are the bulletin boards. I admitted in last week's livestream that I can't pass up these repositories of information. From a distance you can almost read many of the pinned announcements, and it feels like if you could just get a bit closer... but unfortunately, even if you do get closer, most of the wording is still too blurry to decipher, but that hasn't stopped me from checking every one I come across.

It may not actually be the case, but with this much detail in a game that's based on clues, I can't help but think there are little nuggets of information hidden about for those who might want to look a little deeper instead of rushing by everything while leveling. And that, my friends, is the mark of a game that can suck me in and keep me. It might be my old tabletop D&D nostalgia, but I love to explore, so the chance to maybe uncover some treasure is powerfully attractive.

Let me continue with the attention to detail: The cars have working headlights at night. I also have followed some cars around actually trying to pinpoint make and model while just enjoying the variety. I am still bummed I can't jump on one and ride it around town, though.

City of Heroes screenshot
Picking up speed

While cruising around is quite fun, there's nothing quite like picking up speed! I freely admit to enjoying the thrill of a drag race, don't you? So I didn't spend all of my time just poking about and taking in the scenery; I actually went out to work for my living, as it were. Following the map you laid out, I spent more time in groups and eschewed crafting for some good old roast- and-toasting!

City of Heroes screenshotAs I wandered about the city and while following directives from my contacts, I experienced some fun aspects of adventuring. For one, I was pleased to find that when some Arachnos soldiers couldn't reach me because I flew up high and slightly away, they didn't immediately forget about me or glitch themselves up to tussle with me. Instead, they ran slightly away from me and began trying to jump up a building and onto the roof in order to shorten the distance some. I was impressed enough that I actually experimented with this a few times, and each time the mobs tried to access me by some realistic-looking means.

I also found my attention grabbed by random chat as I flew by. The statement that made me stop and pan around just to see if I had imagined it? "A plethora of body parts. So many to choose from." Of course the chat is fleeting, so I was not able to pinpoint it exactly the first time, but it wasn't long before I ran across some psycho half-skinned butcher guys.

And who doesn't like a little adulation? It's not unpleasant to have citizens spout some praises when you take the time to help them out. And I had to smile when I saved Matthew Habashy and all of the prisoners (with the odd exception of his wife, who remained on her knees) kept clapping, cheering, and bowing down to me. Yup. Paragon City needs more heroes like me. And that's a quote!

As for the mission adventures themselves, I had some memorable moments. At one point, I was asked to identify myself at a security terminal at the beginning of Twinshot's quest line -- the choices are to identify yourself, say you prefer to keep your identity a secret, or reply " My name is Inigo Mon--." Guess what I chose? *grins*

Another moment was of the less pleasant variety, and that entailed wanting to wrap some duct tape around Flambeaux's mouth. Boy, if there was ever a time I wanted to turn chat off! Perhaps if I put her in a house of mirrors, she may never leave. No one would miss her, right? After all, I am a much better flamethrower and a redhead to boot!

City of Heroes screenshot
Flooring it

Now although it was voted previously that I not run Death From Below repeatedly, I did go ahead and run it to get a feel for it. And you all were very right: It is the go-to place for XP. The two levels I gained down there were so fast I didn't even realize I leveled! Granted, it is fun to get a quick fix of experience once in a while, but I am ever grateful you didn't vote me to stay down there. I don't really have the "Let's level NOW!" personally; I prefer to just experience the game and let the XP come when it may. But if anyone wants to get some fast XP, definitely join some groups and head on into the bubbling green goo. Even during my shortest stints online, I would see numerous groups forming for that instance.

And just a side note on groups: I love them! I really enjoy tackling the city's seedy underbelly with companions. Although I think that for future Choose My Adventures I might go ahead and give a taller character a try so I can actually see myself during group runs. As it was, between the giant teammates and their massive effects, I got lost in the crowd!

City of Heroes screenshotPutting on the brakes

Now I must admit that I didn't succeed in one voting area: I didn't join a supergroup. Well, technically I did join one, but it was just to check out the base, and I was let go not long after. I haven't really found a permanent group. Maybe the fact that I want to check out a variety of bases and am giving off the transient vibe is affecting my chances. Curse me for turning down that one random invite from a complete stranger. Hopefully I will come across a few more this week. And speaking of this week...

Sadly, our road trip is quickly coming to an end; soon it will be back to the regular grindy grind for me and you will have yourself a new puppet/passenger. So let's make the most of our time left! Here's the final poll for this installment of Choose My Adventure; I saved the best for last. And don't forget to check in to watch City of Heroes streamed live. %Poll-75262%%Poll-75265%
Strap yourself in for the ride of (six weeks of) your life! Where are you going? Well, that's entirely up to you, the Massively readers, to decide -- the where, the what, and the how are all directed by you. The who is MJ Guthrie! For the duration of Choose My Adventure, her virtual life is in your hands! Join MJ in-game and on-site to be a part of the adventure and watch the story unfold.

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