This month is seeing the release of two major MMOs; The winged fantasy RPG Aion, and the superheroic adventures of Champions Online. With two fantastic titles to choose from, the old expression “so much to do, so little time”, could never be truer. To make your choice even harder, everyone is feeling the economic sting, and the odds are that players may not be able to purchase both titles and afford the monthly subscription fees and the time to play them. So how does the money-concious player choose between titles?
How indeed. Both Aion and Champions Online have fun gameplay, and both have aesthetics that make them extremely appealing. You can play as one of a warring race of supernatural demi-gods in Aion, taking flight in a beautiful fantasy world, or you can become the hero of your dreams with Champions Online‘s amazing character customization, and fly, swing, and/ or rocket yourself around the world, battling evildoers and your archenemy for the greater good.
Well, to make the decision easier, lets point out the strengths and weaknesses of each title, shall we?
- Aion is a graphical powerhouse. It looks beautiful, and the music is excellent to boot. Now, Champions is by no means hideous, but it simply does not measure up to Aion in this field.
- Aion has been out for over a year overseas, which means its North American release is extremely balanced, while Champions Online has not had that luxury. What’s more, that extra year had also afforded Aion an extreme amount of polish, far more that Champions has.
- Champions is much less restrictive regarding flying than Aion, which limits your flight time and limits the zones you can free fly in. How you move around in Champions Online is up to you. Sonic speed, super jumps, flying, swinging, rocket boots, etc, all a-la comic-book style, all of which really add a layer of enjoyment to the game.
- Aion could be accused of being “safe”. While Champions Online feels fresh and new, (particularly it’s action-oriented battle system), Aion doesn’t stray very far from the standard MMO mould, and can feel a bit like “more of the same”. It does have a “unique” feel to it, and one cannot really dub it a clone either, but Champions genuinely feels newer.
So the verdict? Well, Aion is more balanced, and more polished. Its PvP is good, especially its endgame, which is PvP focused. Champions Online’s PvP is a little wonky with its balance. So the question is this: Do you want a polished, graphically beautiful fantasy game with balanced PvP and expansive world, (albiet the game is a bit generic and linear)? Or a game which shows tremendous promise, enormous character customization, and a refreshing battle system, but lacks a bit in the content department and needs balancing?
Still can’t decide? Well I can’t help you there. But I’m leaning towards Aion.