Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preview / DC Universe Online

DC Universe (DCU) is an MMORPG that's being developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). It's set to release simultaneously on PS3 and PC on November 2nd 2010, I'll be most likely picking it up for PS3 on that very day. Unless reviews are extremely negative and there doesn't seem to be any hope of this being a good game, then I'll pass. Let's see what we know so far...

DC superheroes combined with an MMORPG, that really never felt like a good fit to me. Thankfully SOE have taken their own approach to the MMO genre. The developers have promised that DCU will be very action oriented, and will lack an auto-attack feature like in most MMO's. Although FFXIV won't include an auto-attack, so I'm sure they are referring to the massively popular MMO, World of Warcraft, as well as Final Fantasy XI. Both of which are still very active games that DCU will have to compete with. Not to mention FFXIV releasing a couple months earlier than DCU, but FFXIV is PC exclusive for awhile.

From all the game-play videos I've seen, DCU does seem to pull off the action-oriented combat quite nicely. The only thing that hasn't really been shown off much yet, or even talked about, is the user interface and the menu system. They've talked about how skills are used in battle, but nothing about item usage or how you even learn these skills. At least not to my knowledge anyways. In one video I've seen a player equip a new helmet, then select whether or not you can actually see that new helmet. This is a great feature because, let's say you pick up a silly looking helmet that doesn't work right with your super-costume, you can select another graphic but still have those stats that the new item gave you. I really love this feature and wish more MMO's would have that option. Especially for the silly items, and every MMO has them. Usually giving them away on special occasions or holidays. Final Fantasy XI had a bunch of Halloween items for example, and sometimes you'd want to equip them for their special stats or abilities, but you'd look out of place at say... Christmas, and vise-versa.

Have you ever had a dream that involved waking up on the island in ABC's Lost, just randomly one day? Or an even better example, traveling to Smallville and meeting your favorite characters? Well I have, and yes I'm a total geek. I don't read comics much, especially not big name comics. I do own maybe 20 or 30 from some other comic series', but I haven't looked at them in years, and to be honest, I have no idea where they even are. Anyways, some people though, might dream about suddenly being part of a comic book universe. Perhaps you dream about showing up in Gotham City and being a part of that world. Maybe you'd be walking the streets and patrolling for baddies as a superhero. I don't mean patrolling the streets as Batman, but rather, as you. Or what about teaming up with the Joker as a villain and capturing Robin?

"The legend is you!" is the catch-phrase thingy that the developers are showing in pretty much all the trailers. It sounds cheesy but this is exactly what the idea for the game is. You walk around in Metropolis and Gotham City as your own created hero.

You create your hero from scratch, using an editor system that they haven't shown off yet. We're just a couple months away and I have no idea why they haven't shown off the most important aspect of any MMO. If you're like most MMO players you'll create a character, then maybe play for years to come. You'll be viewing this character for a long time to come, so it better have some amazing creation options.

I feel secure that the character creation system will be pretty awesome though, why? Because all the game-play videos I've seen have shown drastically different characters doing all sorts of things. Crazy white angel looking guys with wings flying around bashing people's faces in with maces, clowns with psychic powers, iron clad knights with capes that can chain super-fast sword attacks together to juggle opponents in the air, hulked-out (What's the DC equivalent of the Hulk?) giants that can pick up buses, as well as super-speedsters that can run up walls. I think most of the characters are a bit similar to any DC character you can think of, which isn't a bad thing. There's a wide range of DC characters in the comic universe. If you like Batman, you can make a character a little similar to Batman, with black armor and a cape. But he really doesn't end up looking much like Batman at all, more like he's inspired by Batman. You like the Flash? Well it looks like you can make a similar character but maybe add some cool armor or a visor perhaps.

All the story for DCU has been created using famous DC comic writers and artists so things are looking like it will all be top notch material. I've seen a Harleyquinn scene so far and it really does look amazing, way better than I expected actually. The more I see about this game the more I get excited to play it. I highly suggest to anyone that has even a little interest in this game, go to Youtube and do a search for "DC Universe Online Gameplay" and you'll find some excellent videos showing off battle sequences as well as some of the quests.

My brother will be staying with me and my family within the next few weeks and we've already discussed the idea of playing DCU online together. MMORPG's are best played with friends rather than alone, and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather hang out in an MMO with to be honest. Especially someone right down the hall from where I'll be playing. I really am hoping that DCU turns out to be a great game that I'll be playing for awhile.

$14.99/month is a bit steep though if it's not a very deep RPG with an insane amount of items and lots of levels to gain, as well as constant content updates. I'm only worried about it though because the higher-ups at SOE haven't revealed any of the stuff I'm truly looking for yet. So currently I have mixed feelings about whether to get excited or just forget about it and keep looking forward to Final Fantasy XIV. Anyone out in interweb-land looking forward to this game? Or even thinking about giving it a chance? $59.99 plus $15 per month, pretty steep for an iffy game right? I could always just keep visiting my own personal DC Universe in dream-land, or bug Kate Austen on Lost island some more.