DC, Marvel games target both comic camps
By MISHA DAVENPORT email@example.com February 16, 2011 5:02PM
"DC Universe Online"
‘DC UNIVERSE ONLINE’
★★★ Reviewed for: PS3, also available for PC
Price: $49.99-$59.99; requires monthly $14.99 subscription for online play
Rated: T for mild blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes and violence
‘Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds’
Reviewed for PS3; also available for 360
Rated: T for mild language, partial nudity, sexual themes and violence.
Updated: May 26, 2011 6:15AM
While not quite as heated as the division between red state/blue state or Republican/Democrat, comic book readers sometimes fall into groups of fans of the two major publishing houses, DC and Marvel. Two recently released video games should appeal to the comic book geek in you, regardless of which camp you align yourself with.
“DC Universe Online” is an massive, multiplayer online game that lets you create your own superhero or villain and then live in the DC Universe with everyone else playing the monthly $14.99 fee (your first month is free).
The plot in a nutshell: In the far off future Lex Luthor, the Joker, Brainiac and Circe succeed in killing the holy DC trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Brainiac double-crosses everyone. Lex Luthor goes back in time to release nanobots that give everyday people superhero powers and to implore the trinity to train and prepare these new heroes for the coming threat.
The game loses points for offering such a simplistic choice of hero or villain. I opted for hero and then proceeded to design my character from gender and physical appearance right down to special powers and the emblem on his costume.
You’re required to pick a mentor (Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman for heroes and the Joker, Lex Luthor or Circe for villains). I figured Superman would be too quick to criticize (the guy is a bit of a perfectionist) and Batman would be too tough. So, I picked Wonder Woman thinking I would get a nurturing, mother type. This Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior and a bit of a drill sergeant, though.
Like traditional role playing games, completing official missions from your mentor and side missions you pick up along the way earn you experience points and sometimes cash and other items. Experience points allow you to level up and you can assign skill and experience points to beef up things like combat techniques, you magic proficiency and your health.
While the worlds were immense, I’m not sure there’s enough there to plunk down $15 a month once the initial free month is up.
“Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds” is not quite as immersive , but is nonetheless just as fun as the DC game. In this button-mashing fighter, Marvel villain Doctor Doom teams up with “Resident Evil” baddie Albert Wesker to conquer both of their respective worlds. Heroes from the comic book and video game universes must join forces to defeat their common enemies.
On the Marvel side, gamers can play as Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor and Storm to name a few (The Fantastic Four are absent for some strange reason). Familiar Capcom characters include Arthur (from “Ghosts ’n Goblins”), Amaterasu (“Okami”), Chris Redfield (“Resident Evil”) and Viewtiful Joe.
Up to two players can compete with a team featuring a roster of these characters. Each of them has their own special moves, of course. You have the ability to tag-team characters in the middle of the fight.
Control-wise, the button mashing has been simplified. Buttons represent light, medium and heavy attacks with special moves being assigned to the remaining button. Once per match, you can press all four buttons for the “X factor” wherein all three of your players can take on additional damage and cancel out any super combos for a brief time. When used wisely, it can be the difference between being down for the count or winning the match. Hard-core gamers may cry foul at the simplicity of the button schemes, but it opens up the game to a much wider audience.