Monday, December 05, 2011

DC Universe online quick review

As mentioned I managed to download the loader for DC Universe; then the patch; then the entire 15Gb game. I then managed to create a super-villain and finally conked out when I saw the queue to start standing at over 2000. Well I happened to be awake early on Sunday morning and thought "Hey let's give it a whirl".

First things first - amusingly the opening sequence of  'adverts' are all in 1080p resolution; however the game itself switches down to 720p. Oh and it needed yet another 125Mb patch.

Finally I reach the server and the queue is only 800+; that level I'll wait for.... and wait for. I started the clock when it hit 697 and the game finally started just over 16 minutes later. Beyond the ticking down of the counter there is no indication that anything is happening and during this period you can do nothing - absolutely nothing. Sure if you're on a PC you can squeeze the window and check your internet; pull up Solitaire whatever; on a PS3 you can do nothing except sit there and watch it. Oh you can wander off; but the game starts without warning so you can come back to find your character just standing around in an, albeit safe, zone, which isn't a good impression.

The initial level acts as a tutorial and not a very good one. I suspect it's more an aide mémoire to the manual (that downloaders don't get) and indeed there's no menu to pull up to display controls; so, as an aside, it's also not even possible to change them. The interface shows several bars without the tutorial explaining what they are; the enemies drop coloured bubbles that you collect, but again no idea what they are.

While working through this level I hit Start to try and delve into the menu. It's a mess! As an MMO it doesn't pause the game; I'm not going to complain about that (unlike Sacred 2), but again there's no explanation as to how anything works within it. I kept being told I'd received an email yet had no way of reading it until I'd left the level.

Likewise Levelling up I was given points to spend with no information as to what or how this works. Out in the real world I had a task to perform - pick up a mutagen from a van near Metropolis South University - and that's where exactly? There were arrows around the edge of the mini-map; but the location I'm expected to get to doesn't display on the main menu map. At last I realised which arrow to follow and that the area highlights as orange on the mini-map when I reach it.

Getting my arse kicked means having to flee back to the safe zone - very annoying when according to my inventory I have health replenishing items that I can't access. Somehow; don't ask me how; I discovered I could assign these items to a quick-use slot and again no the tutorial makes no mention of this. Much better and the game becomes more enjoyable.

I follow one of the quests and match up against Power-Girl by helping Parasite. When I left I found a Vault ticket that transports me to a Joker Vault packed with goodies and hurty things. I used it and then was suddenly bombarded by information as to how to proceed with the Power-Girl quest "Help Parasite" "Obtain DNA" it told me. Um I've finished it.

So all together I've levelled up; bought items; finished quests; obtained multiple quests and discovered how to pick between them and all with no or seriously minimal help. I've a vague understanding how to communicate with my fellow players, but had little chance to. The NPCs made up for the silence as they happily cycled through their few stock phrases.

I ended the game and later in the day gave it another go - queue length 4000+ yeah no. That's the main problem - I may go into a priority queue if I paid a subscription; but beyond that I see little incentive to pay money for this.

It may seem odd; but the biggest impression this left me with was of the Playstation Home space with super-powers thrown in. If the queue length was shorter I would find this mildly diverting for a quick quest; but having to schedule an hour simply for the privilege of playing the game... no that's not going to happen.


Blogger said...

Still not playing Solitaire on your mobile? Download The Coolest Version (Available for Android & iOS)