Monday, March 14, 2011

DC Universe Online: Progress Report 1

“Through the ashes my PC rises”

DC Universe is a game in which I, as a comic nerd, feel obligated to play. Make no mistake I’ve been looking forward to it for some time.  My PC was on its last breath though. 7 months of “Blue Screen of Death” with no hope in sight. Upon updating my BIOS--sorry I’m going to get technical here—then replacing some hardware; installing new drivers for my Graphics Card; then wiping my OS clean in order to install Windows 7, I was finally up and running. My PC was finally ready for gaming. Was it worth the wait?

My first day with DC Universe was split up thusly: Install Windows, that’s 2 hours; Install DC Universe, about 1 hour 30 min.; choose a class/power/fighting style/appearance, that’s about 6 hours! I made 3 different characters before finally settling on a hero with Fire Powers; flight as movement; and energy projection as the fighting style.  Customizing my look was the most time consuming, as was finding a name that wasn’t already in use.

I had ran through Brianiac’s ship (the starting segment) 4 times before coming to the conclusion of what character and class I wanted to be.

After hours of debate, Hells Light (the name of my final character build), jumped into DC Universe. First off this game is quite visually striking. Granted the art style is pulled from comics, but the colors are vibrant and everything has a nice shine to it. Metropolis and Gotham are monstrous. It took me about 30 minutes to fly from one end of Metropolis to the other…I kind of had to for a quest anyway.

In the words of Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, " classic!"

Visuals and scale aside the combat is the main focus in DC Universe. I chose a melee character and I was hoping to get that meaty feeling that games like God of War, or Devil May Cry have when you hit an enemy. Happily DC Universe does have that weighty combat feel, every hit you land has physical force to it. Enemy’s flinch and fall under the weight of your blows. And juggling enemy’s in the air is extremely satisfying. It’s good that the combat feels hefty and responsive…because there is a lot of it!

We’re in the early stages of an MMO’s lifecycle so it’s important that the combat is robust even in the starting areas. There isn’t much to do outside of pummeling people during quests. And well I haven’t had a chance to explore a lot--I’ve only done 7 quests-- I’m sure that there will be some fetch-quests that are thrown into the mix. There is an interesting mission where you try to win the hand of Aphrodite for Booster Gold (one of the lamest DC hero’s ever), in which you enter a dream state disguised as Cupid. The novelty wears off though, as you end up just doing standard combat scenarios, but now you’re a doughy kid in diapers with wings shooting arrows at other doughy diaper clad foes. I couldn’t wait to exit that realm and get back to my created character. So that quest wasn’t so hot, as I’ve said in my Skyward Sword examination, I don’t like transforming into unnecessary characters and that’s really what this quest was all about. But it’s early, so we’ll see how things move forward.

I haven’t had a lot of time with DC Universe, but as I progress I’ll post updates. I’m definitely enjoying the atmosphere so far. I just love being in this world with heroes and villains everywhere. The first time you teleport into the Watchtower and see Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Martian Manhunter and countless other DC hero’s it’s a nerdgasm inducing experience. Even without my beloved Green Lantern Construct Powers (hopefully in a expansion), I still love what I’ve played to this point. Let’s just see if DC Universe continues to be more super-powered rather than Kryptonite poisoned.

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