Friday, January 7, 2011
Oh, I DO love to fly!
I really didn't intend to get hooked on this game. I curse my brother every day, because if not for him, I wouldn't even OWN a PlayStation 3 (PS3). But, darn it, over the holidays, he downloaded the Beta version of DC Universe Online -- and I got hopelessly hooked. The Beta is down now -- it was pulled off the network the other night in preparation for the official finished game release, which is next Tuesday. YES, I went out and reserved a copy, so I can pick it up and install it on Tuesday. I miss the Beta, and must have the game -- which is probably EXACTLY what Sony, Warner Brothers, and DC hoped would happen to a great many gamers. CURSE THEM!
Oh, but it's FUN. The premise is this, and it's an old JLA chestnut with a twist: Lex Luthor drops in from the future to inform Supes, Bats, and Wondy that Brainiac took over the earth because all of the heroes and villains were too busy wiping each other out to stop him. SO, Luthor came to the past to warn everyone -- and also to infect the earth with Brainiac-created nano technology that enables ordinary folks from earth to become super-powered, so they can join in the fight. THAT's where the players come in.
As a player, I got to create my own character, with my own powers, choose a mentor (Supes, Bats, or Wondy for heroes; Luthor, Joker, or Circe for villains), and go kick butt. I chose the hero side and Wonder Woman as my mentor -- and created a character based on my favorite ol' public domain GREEN hero (more on that some other time). THEN I got to run around. OH, it was fun. My character can fly, and flying is wonderful. I hadn't expected it to be as much fun as it is. I could have been a speedster, or an acrobat -- but, really, nothing beats flying.
Game environments so far are split between fully-realized versions of Gotham and Metropolis. It's downright surreal to be able to run around these two cities and go pretty much wherever I want. My character was based in Metropolis, so that's where I did the most exploring. Some details still need to be hammered out by the game creators, but I had a heck of a lot of fun running around the city. Nabbed a few muggers, too!
There's too much to explain about this game, so I'm just going to touch on a few things I did and/or noticed. (Anyone who wants to know more can visit the game's official site at http://www.dcuniverseonline.com/) -->
- The JLA satellite is HUGE, but well worth exploring. The funniest thing I encountered early in the Beta launch was Supergirl hanging around in the Meta wing, dressed in a skankier-than-usual version of her costume, with bikini briefs in place of her skirt, and no cape. I went up to her to talk to her and she said, "Cool costume! Wonder if I should change mine? Maybe later." Several days later, I met up with her in the same place, and she was back to wearing her skirt and cape -- and looking a LOT less skanky. Too funny.
- The villains do have a Hall of Doom, but I didn't explore it too much.
- Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill DO voice Batman and the Joker. Hooray!
- Oracle provides remote assistance to hero players, and Calculator assists villain players. It's a really nice setup.
- Players can choose to engage in PVP (player-vs-player) mode or not. You don't HAVE to interact with other players, though it is encouraged. You can also form teams and what not. Teams can pool their resources and create their own online virtual group bank accounts and make group equipment purchases. (They can also host dance parties.)
- I got to team up with Zatanna to fight Felix Faust. It was FUN. I also got to take on ALL of the Titans at the same time, who had been possessed by Trigon. That WASN'T so fun. I got my butt kicked several times before I figured out how to stop 'em all.
- Players start off at level 1 and can progress all the way to level 30. I got up to Level 15 -- and STILL managed to get my butt kicked by Bane, who was a measely Level 10. Grrrrrr.
- Did I mention that I love flying? I love being able to fly away from a battle when I'm getting too close to getting knocked out, and then just hovering somewhere until I regain enough health to rejoin the battle. It's also so PEACEFUL to be able to fly high above the city, or the water, and just -- fly. There's something very, well, ZEN about it for lack of a better word. I just love it.
- The cities are full of kiosks containing tour information by Booster Gold, in the best Booster Gold fashion. The recordings are a hoot.
- Every player starts off in a Brainiac ship, where Brainiac is supposedly keeping captured humans to try to remove his nano technology from them. Every player "wakes up" on the ship and has to escape -- every single time a new character is created. It's kinda monotonous if you want to create a bunch of different characters (a hero AND a villain, say). EXCEPT, one time I was shocked to encounter Ambush Bug up there! Yes, Ambush Bug is present in the game, and he seems to pop up wherever and whenever he pleases.
- I DID encounter several Green Lanterns, including Hal. Actually, my encounter with Hal was kinda weird. I was exploring Metropolis and found the Daily Planet building, which had been "bottled" by Brainiac. Hal was there standing on the sidewalk and apparently just looking at the building. I walked up to him -- and if it's possible for a virtual gaming character to look startled, he came awfully darned close. He responded with a sort-of "welcome-aboard-and-thanks-for-fighting-the-good-fight" and then flew away. It was WEIRD.
- While exploring the Metropolis energy plant, I ran into a full-blown Sinestro Corps War. There were Green Lantern and Sinestro Corp members all over the place, beating the tar out of each other. They were all Level 22, so there was no WAY I was wading into THAT battle. However, a Sinestro Corps member came after me and I had no choice but to fight him off. I actually beat him! And then I immediately got the paint kicked out of me by a whole bunch of Sinestro Corps members who jumped me in retaliation. When I came to, there was a Green Lantern chick standing over me, offering to buy or sell equipment or fix anything of mine that was broken. I just took the opportunity to get outta Dodge, so to speak.
- I wasn't TOO surprised to see a LOT of Marvel fans running around, with Marvel-based creations. One player I talked to said, yes, he WAS a Marvel fan, but the game looked so cool that he just HAD to try it. He loved it and said he wished Marvel had something like it. I had to explain to him who Booster Gold and Oracle were. He was a bit shocked by the whole Barbara Gordon tale.
So, that's it. I'm HOOKED. I'm DOOMED. Soooooo DOOMED.