Thoughts on my first day of DCUO below.
Installation went pretty smoothly, though I wished the install hadn’t decided to fullscreen itself — it got in the way of my watching Justice League Unlimited, a fitting pump-me-up choice of time-bidding. The packaging was infinitely forgettable — all cardboard, no plastic, with several dumb advertisement inserts to boot — but the game did come with a free 10-day visitor pass. Apparently, though, there isn’t a free place to download the client, as I’m suppose to hand off the installation dvds, too. So, sorry internet friends!
I had read Internet Rumors about players having problems setting up their Station Access accounts/validating their game codes. I was very careful and followed all the instructions. There were still a few twists — I neglected to enter my billing information the first time, and because of that I couldn’t log into the game momentarily, even though I thought I had done everything — but I eventually figured it out. Apparently, the DCUO Launchpad remembers all of my log-in information, so starting up the game is as easy as firing up the launch client, making sure the game is up-to-date, and hitting ‘play’.
My first really big hurdle came when I tried to set-up my 360 game controller. In a problem completely unrelated to DCUO, any time I plugged in my controller, my computer’s sound would fill with static and stay that way until a reboot without the controller plugged in. It’s apparently a widespread problem, but the only solution I found was ‘buy an external USB hub.’ So waited to play until I went to Target and bought an external hub. Yeah, I could have started to play without it, but by all accounts the game is much more fun with a controller — and now that I have played it with a controller, I’m not planning on switching.
Character Creation & Tutorial
The character creator isn’t as impressive as City of X or Champions Online, but it’s still more robust than most other MMOs. I plan on making a Joker-esque villain at some point, and I want to make a Green Lantern, once they’re released — but today, I felt like playing a down-to-earth, jeans-wearing take on Wonder Woman.
So meet Cassidy Yates, of the Last Laugh server.
The central conceit of the game is that a time-traveling Lex Luthor, in an attempt to prevent Brainiac’s future conquest of Earth, unilaterally decided the best course of action was to ‘uplift’ a sizeable chunk of the world’s population into superhero-hood (WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG). The backstory goes really well with the type of superhero I usually make in games like this — normal humans that gain powers accidentally. I’m particularly proud of how Yates’ ‘costume’ looks very normal — jeans with tennis shoes! — but was able to showcase a color scheme inspired by Wonder Woman.
The game opens on one of Brainiac’s ships — future-Lex stole the ability to grant superpowers from Brainiac, and the present-day Brainiac recognize his (future) work, and wants it back, manually. So I start fighting my way out of a hex-themed, purple-loving ship…
… only to discover that, yeah, this is an invasion fleet, too. Of course it would be.
Long story short, I kick some ass, and then an Adam Baldwin-voiced Superman shows up, and we kick more ass together.
That’s a good segue into my experience with the game proper — damn, the voice acting has been awesome! If I were asked to point to the best, most memorable feature of the game so far, it’d definitely have to be the voice acting. Getting Kevin Conroy to reprise the role of Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker was an extremely intelligent move, but I’ve not really hit any duds yet. Even the random people you can interact have a canned line or two to say, and they say it well.
Outside of waxing eloquent about the voice overs, I want to say that the voice acting was implemented well. I’ve only had to visit quest givers to pick-up a quest, and then to to end the quest chain. In the meantime, Wonder Woman or Oracle call me up via a communicator and update me on-the-fly. Its very superhero-feeling.
(To be fair, I suspect that the voice acting was necessitated by the console market — it’d be pretty dumb to communicate vital information to a console player using tiny, tiny letter. I’m not complaining though.)
Without revealing too much, the entire chain felt very fun and ‘comic booky.’ I flew around saving civilians, fighting soulless minions, and the final showdown — in a Chinese theater, no less — was great. It culminates in a drawn cutscene and a voice over by Faust himself, a very fitting capstone for the entire chain.
Play wise, the game feels very natural on a gamepad; I’ve not even attempted to use a keyboard and mouse. I’m not really certain how the fighting combos would even work with a keyboard — it is very much an ‘action MMO’, even more so than Champions Online. I’m enjoying playing the game this way — though I recognize it isn’t for everyone, and I’m a little miffed that the “invert axis” command inverts both, or neither — the X- and Y-axes aren’t their own options. I hope that is fixed soon.
On the whole, though, I’m really happy with the game. I don’t know how much content is out there, and I don’t know if the quality will keep up — though I suspect the answers are “enough for me” and “yes.”
So in the meantime… here’s to the future.