[DCUO] First Impressions

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I managed to get in some game time in DC Universe Online last night and this afternoon. Above is a picture of Pid the Mentalist. He is flying somewhere over Metropolis. I have only played the game a very short time, maybe 4 hours including 20 mins. or so in the character creator. I have already formed some opinions of the game, but I will not give any “verdicts” this early. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts and findings regarding the game so far.

After downloading the game (which was no small feat as it seems like my firewall/antivirus software does not like these clients and I have a similar problem with WoW) I can fire up the LaunchPad software which sometimes works, and sometimes it does not. It seems like it locks up at the “initialization” step 1 out of every 3 times I try and log in.

Once in the game it looks very much like a console game from the start. The opening credits and splash screens remind me of Madden Football or CoD. The character creation process is pretty straight forward although the way the power systems work is a little odd. You pick your super power (in my case I selected mental powers) and then a fighting form. The fighting forms have little to no correlation to the super power. As a mentalist I assumed there should be a fighting form that utilized mind blasts or some such, but instead I could pick things like dual wielding swords or pistols. I wound up selecting hand rays as it was the only thing that was close to something I thought someone with mental powers would possess. After that you may customize your avatar a bit which is definitely more robust than a typical MMO, but not as flexible as Champions Online. In the end I settled for a hooded, arcane outfit with glowing eyes.

Once I picked my character name and selected “next,” I was thrust into a starter area that had some tutorial tips to help guide you through it. This area is all solo content and had a casual pace. The first thing I noticed is that you can’t move via the mouse buttons like I am used to, and you have to use the WASD or arrow keys for movement. There is also no mouse cursor, but rather the game is always in  mouse-look mode. The left mouse button is for punching and the right is for ranged combat. The 1-9 keys are reserved for your super powers that you acquire as you gain levels. Ultimately it is very awkward to control with the mouse and keyboard as you need to keep your fingers on the movement keys, but then have to take them off to use super powers and use the block ability.

I managed to muddle my way through and after the tutorial area, I had already gained two levels. The game prompts you to select your new skills (no trainers, awesome!) and when you open up the powers and skills UI, there are some skill trees with available options. I have to say I am completely lost with how I should spend my points, but as it stands I am just picking things that allow me to do ranged combat.

The game’s graphics are pretty good and have that cell shaded look to them. Not quite as obvious as Champions, but there nonetheless. I don’t have the settings cranked up to full, but I will attempt to play with the settings later.

Once you complete the tutorial you are thrust into the game world. I chose Superman as my mentor, so I was placed in Metropolis. You start in the metropolis Police Station and are told to find a quest giver to get a quest. Along the way you find a kiosk that also gives a quest that requires you to tour various parts of the city and gives you a history lesson or colorful anecdote for each site. The game directs you into Metropolis proper and you go about doing your quests. They involve killing x mobs and destroying y whatevers. Often the quests will update on the fly and your mentor will chime in and tell you what the next step is.

The first quest line I ran through had me rescuing citizens from Gorilla Grod’s troops and stopping the contraptions that the evil primate had set up around the city from de-evolving the citizens into ape-like baddies. Ultimately the quest line has you rescue a super hero and the two of you take on Grod in a boss battle. This reminded me of boss battles in any number of console games like Arkham Asylum or something of that ilk. The very best part was at the end when Grod monologues before making an escape at which time he tells you and the other super hero that we will “Rue the day” that we meddled in his plans. That is some good comic book shtick right there.

Some other random things I noted:

  • The spawn rates for the mobs seemed adequate for the number of people playing.
  • Screen caps automatically hide the UI so you don’t have to.
  • Screen caps are saved as 4 MB bitmap files instead of much smaller jpg’s (so be careful).

All in all the game reminded me a lot of Champions Online with a different IP. I admit I have never played CoX so it may be similar to that too. The game did seem to lack a lot of in game guidance and I often felt kind of lost as far as what I should do with skill ups and gear and such. Following quests was easy enough with the mini-map.

I have not done any group content as of yet, and I don’t see anything in the game that helps facilitate people finding groups. I hope to do some of that in the future. I need to dig up my xbox controller too to see if the game is a little less awkward with that.

More to come in the weeks ahead.

-Pid

 

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One Response to “[DCUO] First Impressions”

  1. Sprawl Says:

    Good info! I recently posted my own p(review) of DCUO.

    http://zsprawl.com/wp/2011/01/first-look-review-of-dc-universe-online/

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