In a column I wrote before I8 launched, I called it a filler issue. The devs seemed more excited about what came after it and there seemed to also be a limited amount of material in it for villains.

Now that I8 has launched, I haven’t changed my mind. I8 does have some very nice features and some quite fun parts, but it isn’t an issue that will likely stand out in peoples’ minds as really adding to the “City of …” franchise.

Veteran Rewards are a nice extra to have, but they feel to me to be a separate system to I8. This is due to their progressive nature – you earn them over time, so it’s not like everyone earned the same rewards when I8 launched. I do love what Veteran Rewards have given me – the Sands of Mu allows me to make my Blaster more of a gunslinger who can use his fists if he needs to… and yes, I’ve got a trenchcoat.

It almost seems to be a basic costume question at this point – wings or trenchcoats? Both have been well implemented (even if the trenchcoat moves as though it’s a bit “light” at times) and continue to make CoH/V’s character customisation system second-to-none.

But apart from the admittedly fantastic additions to costumes, I8 doesn’t really add much more so much as bring CoH and CoV to the same page in terms of mission types available. Police Band missions make soloing easier (if more boring) since you will no longer have to leave a zone to find a mission. These missions can also be done quickly, making CoH even more casual-friendly. After doing enough Police Band missions, you get access to a Safeguard mission.

At this point, I’ve only had time to solo one Safeguard mission (Brickstown) but found it to be pretty fun. I stopped the bank robbery fairly easily and then hopped around the area, looking for (and completing) the side missions. The time limit and fact that enemy mobs were a lot more active than usual made this type of mission more of a challenge and gave it a very nice atmosphere – I actually felt the possibility of failure existed. I look forward to doing more of this kind of mission, even though I’m finding grinding through the Police Band missions to be a bit dull.

The changes to Faultline are also quite nice. It’s internal story arcs are intriguing, although I found the implementation of said story to be a bit less than I thought – the Lost talking about floods and setting up some vague and ominous warnings seemed to be the only indication that something was coming up. Regardless of that point, Fautline is a great looking zone and has some very nice features.

Overall, I8 doesn’t really introduce anything that stands out as completely new or exciting, but helps to flesh out CoH so that it is more on standard with CoV. It is filler, but not all filler is bad – in fact, some of it can be quite good. However, it seems that tne next few months is when the “good content” will be Based off early information I am looking forward to the Christmas Event and the introduction of inventions in I9.

Cryptic have indicated that they plan to get three Issues out in 2007. Judging by the scope of some of the ideas that the devs have talked about, I think that 2007 will be a very interesting year for CoH/V, and that the future issues will leave I8 in the long-forgotten dust. Which is a pity, because while I8 is fun in parts, it just doesn’t have enough to make it stand out.

[i] – UnSub (@UnknownSubject) unsub@warcry.com 8 December 2006

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