Thursday, January 13, 2011

DC Universe Online Diary: Entry 1

As a kid (and adult) who grew up hoping (and still hopes) that I would somehow receive awesome superpowers and be able to fight crime on the gritty streets of Winston-Salem. Naturally, when DC Universe Online was released I felt an overwhelming urge to try it out. Finally, at the urging of my wonderful girlfriend, I gave in and downloaded it.

For those who haven't seen any of the trailers or cinematics, go watch them. They are actually pretty impressive/intense. It's all very heroic age with intense battles and the violence. But, because these are characters we as readers already care about, we feel involved in wanting to help them.

Anyway, characters start aboard Brainiac's ship and you fight your way out. Heroes are guided by Oracle, and villains by Calculator. At the end of the level, Superman or Lex Luthor come in and helps you out. After, you teleport into the hub of your mentor and enter the world.

After, you are transported to the area of your mentor, who gives you quests and assignments. The voice acting is very good, and while a lot of the quest kind of get the same, a decent variety of enemies and encounters, a plethora of lore, an amazing travel system, and above all that I am taking orders from BATMAN means that game is actually really quite enjoyable.

So far I have two characters. One is Changeling, a gadget-wielding, acrobatic martial artist with Batman as a mentor. With him I've been bounding around Gotham, and taken down Scarecrow and Bane with the aid of Batwoman and Nightwing. My other is Dr Infernus, a tuxedo-wearing fire villain under Circe. I've fought Dr. Fate and run all over Metropolis' Chinatown. It adds a lot to the game, when you're fighting or recruited by a character you know. It makes you feel like a cog in a big machine, and actually accomplishing something instead of the standard MMORPG quest of "bring my 9 hyena livers". You're taking weapons from science police and most missions are large chains that end in a climactic fight. It's pretty awesome.

PvP (player versus player) is very fun as well, with massive battles erupting in the middle of cities. It sucks to get ambushed at random by higher level characters, but it adds to the feel of being part of the world.

I have a few complaints, one is that the interface is still a bit messed up and needs a retool. Different hotkeys help a lot. The cities are also pretty stagnant. There isn't a lot of traffic or people walking, despite the cities having populations in the millions. The graphics aren't anything to write home about, but the the environments are sprawling and truly enjoyable to run or climb all over.

It's really fun, in short. I'll keep posting as to how it goes.

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