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Archive for the ‘Vindictus’ Category

According to Chris Cao, as of today the NDA for DC Universe Online has officially been lifted, so now I can finally rest easy. I was invited to the closed beta shortly before the wave of pre-order invites went out post November 15th, and, since my husband and I both pre-ordered, we then got two keys from that as well. I’ve been busily tearing up Gotham City and Metropolis ever since.

And what a time it has been! While it is evident in many ways why SOE decided to postpone the launch of DCUO, I have had a relatively smooth beta experience, and a lot of content to burn through (much of which I have not experienced due to lack of gaming hours and a reticence to “spoil” content for myself). Vindictus has softened me somewhat to the so-called “action” style of gameplay, and while I will never be someone who can compete on a high level – I have not yet PvP’ed, and frankly I’m afraid to – I am a bit above button-mashing level. Why, I can even pull off a combo or two from time to time, with no repetitive stress injuries resulting.

Story-wise, in my opinion DCUO delivers, as we chase story nugget after story nugget, with copious voice work (still in progress) and epic boss fights and cut scenes. This is, as I’ve said before, exactly why I play these games, and even if the combat weren’t as satisfying, the story would keep me playing longer than most. Because the combat is satisfying and fun, it’s all the sweeter.

Relative downsides include a lack of character customization to start off with, which is certainly a deal-breaker for some. I’m not sure this is a title for the heavy RPers, as its UI is FPS-style with no ability to click on other players or “inspect” them, and I’m not even sure there are emotes, let alone extensive ones. Chatting with in-game text becomes cumbersome. This is an action title for sure, which makes it all the more puzzling to separate the PC and PS3 players.

Since we’ve been in beta, Mr. Randomessa and I have rarely played Vindictus, as DCUO has been providing us with much of that good old smack-things-around fun, with much more scenic and character variety (my complaint, not his). Character graphics are not as smooth or impressive as Vindictus, to be sure, but I value the opportunity to make a character that is unique and distinct, something I’ve not had a problem with in DCUO thus far. Ideally I could have Vindictus’s graphics and DCUO’s versatility.

I do find myself longing for more non-combat content, which I’m not sure DCUO will reasonably provide given, again, the FPS interface. With no crafting planned, we are left with exploration and collection quests, which are nice, but not quite what I’m looking for when I say “non-combat content.” But after playing these two highly-active games, I am not quite sure how I will happily return to other titles with numbered skill bars. I won’t go so far as to say Guild Wars 2 is my only hope, but I am really chomping at the bit to see how they combine the “active” dodging and target-free aiming with action bars and weapon-swapping. It may be precisely the combination I crave, but I won’t know until I can get my hands on the controls.

If SOE can make good on its promise to continuously provide monthly and quarterly updates to “earn” our subscription dollars, this could very well be a title we keep on hand and go back and forth between. I can’t see us maintaining a steady subscription, especially since ultimately we both crave a fantasy title, but for this game, I don’t think I’d mind paying my $15 to pop in and see what’s new from time to time.

But enough from me at this late hour. I’m happy to now link to beta gameplay, previously leaked, now kosher (beware story spoilers):

2-man team with Martian Manhunter vs. Aquaman

Solo VS. Isis

Villain vs. Power Girl

8-man raid

Really, just check out the user’s links if you’re interested in more. He has a ton, including a Smallville 5-man and a 2-man team saving Batman’s hide.

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Vindictus Victorious

Having taken advantage of several Open Beta Key giveaways for Nexon’s Vindictus Open Beta, my better half and I have found ourselves spending considerably more time exploring this title than we usually devote to online gaming. I’d say we are about knee-deep into the amount of content (for certain values of content) that is available in the OB, and thus far it has made us forget all about a certain Cryptic MMO’s weekly episode updates, daily Guild Wars bounties and Zaishen missions, and even Guild Wars 2 media watching for the time being.

In a gaming first, I am playing a male character, since the Lann role is a dual sword-wielding damage-dealing tornado DPS with little use for subtlety, while Fiona is the tank a sword and shield character with powerful knockbacks and a bit more skill involved in utilizing her to her full potential. The game even warns you at character creation: Fiona is not for noobs. My better half plays her more than aptly.

Despite these character role/gender limitations, which normally put me quite off a game, I am enjoying myself tremendously in Vindictus. The smallest contributor to my enjoyment is how beautiful the game looks; even on my midrange rig, graphics flow smoothly, look great, and still deliver a decent framerate at normal settings, and yet the detail is stunningly impressive when you crank it all the way up to max. The story is nothing to write home about, but as an admitted story aficionado I appreciate the effort and that’s half the battle.

No, what impresses me the most about Vindictus is that the combat is so much fun, and that isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about an action game. My experience with Dungeons & Dragons Online was appalling, and with Chronicles of Spellborn I found combat something interesting, but more to be endured and grown accustomed to than something I was genuinely excited about. Action-oriented combat was one of my last niggling fears about Guild Wars 2: that if I can barely manage or remember to strafe in GW1, how can I be expected to add dodging to the mix? The answer, in Vindictus, is that it’s all in how the game lets you handle the controls. I have never felt dexterously-challenged by the lack of skill buttons to be mashed, or targets to be selected, by the use of the right and left mouse buttons or by context-sensitive kicks and throws. Not only that, but there’s something so incredibly satisfying about breaking apart a stone pillar, and subsequently picking up the pieces of that pillar to club enemies over the head with. Or picking up an enemy and throwing it at another enemy. Or grabbing an enemy by the neck and slamming its head into a wall.

Three days into the beta, and my better half and I are looking for ways to fit more Vindictus time in. It has already been declared “the best free MMO ever” in this household (though not by me), and we both know that when the game goes live, we’ll be rolling the Evie character and laying waste to everyone and everything with our Golemancy. While I will add the caveat that there does seem to be a degree of dungeon repetition the likes of which I have not previously tolerated in any given MMO, the ways in which combat can be switched up and varied on the fly really does lend to replayability in ways I didn’t expect.

It may not hold us off until Guild Wars 2 releases, but the environmental interactivity might give us a taste of what can be achieved with a good engine and implementation.

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