DC Universe Online

 By Maurice Lewis

Published by: Sony Online Entertainment (SOE)

Developed by: Sony Online Entertainment (SOE)

Number of Players: MMORPG (online) or 1 Player

Release Date: January 11, 2011

MSRP: $49.99 PC/ $59.99 for PS3

Rated: T for Teen

For: Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

Also Available On: PC/PS3

Rating: It’s ok.

 

DC Universe is a MMORPG, but don’t be fooled by the genre;  it has certain elements that may surprise you. As most MMO style games, you start off at the character creation screen.  You have the choices between being a superhero or a villain, which in a sense is choosing a faction. Character creation actually gives you templates of your favorite hero or villain, such as Superman, Batman, Joker, Catwoman etc…  I personally created my superhero to look like Magneto (I know taboo !).

When it comes to choosing factions I think DCUO lacks certain characteristics that made choosing factions a big part of your mmorpg experience.  There is a neat little option where you’re able to choose your characters personality. This determines your characters idle stance (animation your character does while you just stand there). The most part in character creation is choosing your mentor. He/she is esentially your quest giver. So choose wisely.

After choosing your character’s looks, you can choose its abilities and characteristics. You can select from a variety of things, such as having your character have frost abilities, fire abilities, mental, nature abilities etc… You also have secondary abilities, such as being strong physically with punches/brawler guns, kungfu, and even gadgets.  You can also duel wield certain weapons.  I really believe Sony did a good job implementing all of these abilities, giving you control of making your character balanced and well rounded.  Time to choose your super human ability.  Your choices are, flying/Superman Acrobatics/Batman, super speed/Flash, these are your modes of transportation.  Hey it beats riding the bus right?

 Gameplay

You start off in the newbie zone which turned out to be confusing.  If I wasn’t a veteran MMO player I would’ve been stuck in Brainiac’s ship for hours.  Another question, Why do both factions start off in the same basic training mode?  Basic training consist of you learning your hotkeys and practicing your abilities. 

Time to quest.  After making it through your basic training, you meet up with your quest giver/mentor. For example, if you’re evil and you chose The Joker, you will be placed in your home city, which is Gotham.  You grab a quest or a few, then you’re on your way. You have your basic start up quest, Locate Mr X, or kill X amount of enemies.  I didnt enjoy questing at all. Every quest felt so cramped.  Many  people tagged my mobs on pure accident, not only that but some quest were bunched up right next to each other causing multiple NPC interference.

Targeting enemies was also a major issue for me.  The AI tries to auto-target mobs but it fails miserably and is only 100% accurate with mobs that are directly in front of you. The fighting system makes up for the lackluster questing experience.  You have so many combinations you can use, I found myself actually interacting, and having more character control than im use to.  If the going gets tough, you have tons of escape routes.  I found flying to be the best ability, because you were basically unable to be touched by acrobatics, and super speed. I’ve noticed after every long quest chain, you go into a dungeon, and you’re fighting enemies from that quest chain, sometimes fighting a mini boss that you may remember from certain DC comics. DCUO has an alert system, this takes the place of having a instance group.  Alerts are for groups of 4.  I tried giving the PVE another chance because I love doing group dungeons.  Doing this also felt like I was just doing one big quest chain, and the experience was also lack luster.

PvP is very entertaining; its a breath of fresh air pulling off lethal combinations leaving your enemies wondering what hit them easily makes world PVP exciting.  You feel like you’re in a comic book.  With all that said, leveling seems to be a breeze, my only gripe is the skill tree seems to be pointless, as I rarely saw any real benefits.  The level cap is 30, and you will quickly realize the game play was created with nothing but pvp in mind.

My final thoughts

Character Creation was my favorite part of the game, as its every childs dream to be a superhero and while you may not  actually be that superhero, you get to control one and interact with all of your favorite comic book heros.  The rest of the gave leaves a lot to be desired.  There is lots of room for improvement but right now it’s just a break from the monotony of another MMO.

Sony Online Entertainment Releases Black Mana

Get ready…. the launch of Magic: The Gathering – Tactics is right around the corner! In preparation, Sony Online Entertainment is delivering the destructive Black Mana, bringing fans the corrupt creatures and deceiving spells appearing in the upcoming online animated grid-based tactics PC title due out this winter.

Malevolent, selfish and corrupt forces empower Black Mana magicians to return spirits from the dead, leach life from opponents and terrify weak-willed creatures. Planeswalkers will bring the occult forces of Black Mana to the battlefield, including the destructive Avatar of Woe, the legendary Lord of the Pit and the shadowy Royal Assassin 

Furthermore, Magic: The Gathering – Tactics is now in BETA. To access our Beta program, please send along your SOE Station ID and email address so we may flag your account for premium content. For more assets and information about the game, feel free to visit the official Magic: The Gathering Tactics website and Facebook Page.

Pirates of the Burning Sea

 

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By Mario Garcia

Manufacturer: Flying Lab Software / Sony Online Entertainment

Review Rating: 6

Website: Pirates of the Burning Sea

The MMO Pirates of the Burning Sea by Flying Lab Software and Sony online entertainment is a fun journey into 18th Century  world of pirates.  Three factions are fighting for control of the Caribbean and its lucrative wealth.  English Spanish and French Factions give career options such as officer privateer and freetrader.  The of course there are the Pirates carving a name out for themselves in history.

Early in the game the missions play out like most MMOs however, due to the locations alot of these quests are instanced.  I went through a few missions trying to locate where to find the bad guys only to discover that i had to go to the shipmaster and select the mission which went to a loading screen and then i found myself standing near the place i was but in combat. Hand to hand combat was a bit clunky, very much like most MMO’s and consisted of scripted moves depending on your skill level and combat style.  Taking to the seas was something i looked forward to.  The ships moved quite nicely between the different ports and though it did take a bit of time going from one port to another I was never bored.  The animations of the ships and the great soundtrack really gave it a truly epic scale.   Approaching an enemy ship would pull you into a combat mode that was truly the star of the game for me.  You had to keep track of the wind in order to keep from becoming a sitting duck, since you have to be moving in order to bring your cannons to bear on the enemy.  The different types of ammo available for the cannons also helped keep the combat fresh; do you pound on their hull with heavy shot or load bar or landrige  and take out their sails and crew.  The economy is a bit more daunting and like eve online is complicated but can allow your average player to really become a powerful character in the world.

The graphics on land are mediocre most of the charachters look like plastic dolls (beware of very sharp looking facial hair).  Occasional glitches in NPC movements, like carrying non existent barrels and stiff legged walking, removed some of the immersion.  On the open sea and in combat you really did feel a nice sense of the scale of the battles.  The soundtrack was one of the best parts of the game, really lending to the excitement and swashbuckling action.  Hand to hand combat as well as conveying the scale and might of the great fighting ships added to the realism. I was a bit disturbed with the lack of players that were around.  It seems as if this game’s heyday had come and gone which is a disappointment since the richness of the world feels like it could have been a really fun game for any pirate fan.

factor_lowmed Overall i think this game offers a richness and  complexity that most other “easier to play” MMO’s like World of warcraft lack. Though casual players may be turned off by the learning curve players who enjoy a rich and complex experince will like this game.  Hopefully it will be around to play for a while yet.