Category Archives: dc universe online

Taking Inventory

With the addition of the PlayStation 2, I felt it was time to take inventory of exactly how far down the rabbit hole The Non-Gamer has fallen since this started. The first problems were that Ray also gave me PS2 games with the PS2, then I bought a few myself. Damn you, GameStop, for liquidating your PS2 games at buy-two-get-one-free.

Of course I started this blog after the purchase of a PS3. So far we haven’t purchased many PS3 games actually. I got one of the Ultimate Alliances because I really wanted to play it. I bought DC Universe Online as soon as I learned it was going to be free to play. The Bride bought Disney Universe and Sing It, and then there are all those games Ray lent us. There have been a few other games, but for the most part we have been downloading them.

The PlayStation Network provides an amazing, ever-changing selection of demos and trial versions of games. At last count, we had over eighty games in our system, including at least a dozen we have purchased. Pain is one of my favorites to this day. Whenever I open the PlayStation Network, I will end up playing it for at least a little while, good for a bit of stress relief.

Now even though I call myself The Non-Gamer, and this blog started with the purchase of the PlayStation 3, I do own other game systems. As I’ve mentioned I bought an Atari 2600 back in the 1980s. We have almost two of the old Atari game shelves full of the little cartridges

Once we got married, one of the big deal buys we made was an old Nintendo Entertainment System along with all the bells and whistles, not to mention about thirty different games. While I love stuff like the Mario games, there is always the problem of “turn waiting.”

We also have a Super Nintendo as well, but only two games for that, Justice League Task Force and Super Godzilla. Yeah, it was a Christmas gift, and was feeding two of my peculiar obsessions. It did not get much play as no instructions came with the game system, or either of the two games.

I haven’t even thought of the dozens of games on iPhone if they count.

Wow, I guess I’m not much of a Non-Gamer after all. Now, can someone please tell me how to turn off the PlayStation 2?

Justice League Heroes Revisited

When I got the PlayStation 2, my first order of business was playing Justice League Heroes. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed playing this game a few New Year’s Eves ago and wanted to play again.

I jumped right in, and after a half-hour or so of button-mashing I finally figured out what buttons to push and what combinations did what. Of course I was only on the first level so it was just Superman and Batman and I was only fighting Brainiac’s minions and rescuing citizens. Fun, but slow going. I did find a nice tactic in having Superman carry around a car to beat the baddies with. But that’s as far as I got. I played a few more times but couldn’t get any farther than the confrontation with Brainiac (another of his minions actually). I needed help, as I am, after all, The Non-Gamer. I needed Jeff.

Jeff, as I’ve mentioned before, has some sort of supernatural gaming skill, mad mad skilz when it comes to videogames, so I waited ’til the next time he was over and urged him to play.

With Jeff’s help we got quickly through the Superman/Batman phase and into the Martian Manhunter phase against the Queen Bee, and even into the Flash/Green Lantern phase taking on The Key. And that’s when I realized what I liked about the game so much. Unlike DCU Online where you deal with more new player characters than anything else, here you are established characters fighting real villains in a semi-accurate DC Comics continuity.

Now while we saved the game at the point where we stopped, I think I still may need Jeff’s help to move forward. Either way, I definitely give Justice League Heroes higher marks than DCU Online. I can’t wait to get back to playing. Thanks, Jeff!

Flash Friendly Blob

Tales from Space: About a Blob, another one of my free downloads from the PlayStation Store is cartoony fun that doesn’t require much thinking or much imagination. In other words, it is just The Non-Gamer’s speed. And sometimes, after trying to play DCU Online, or heavens forbid, BioShock, that is exactly the kind of game you want.

The game borrows quite liberally from Monsters Vs. Aliens‘ B.O.B., more than it does from the original movie The Blob with Steve McQueen or any of its sequels and/or remakes. And that’s kind of cool, as I said, this is more cartoon than anything else.

You’re a blob, small b, and you absorb things, and you’re on the move in a laboratory (or a farm if you’re daring and want to try the ‘hard’ level). Honestly, I don’t know if there’s much more to it. Don’t get burned, and keep moving. Simple. Just like life.

About a Blob has a nice flash animation intro in the spirit of keep-it-simple-stupid, ya know. It’s easy to learn, lots of tips, all the stuff that for The Non-Gamer makes for a near perfect demo. Just my speed, I like it. The longer I played, the better I got. I had a good time. What more is there to say? Thumbs up.

The Other Side

It had been a while since I cracked open the PS3. That’s actually a good thing as I’ve been getting some writing done. Life also sometimes gets in the way. I played the prerequisite hour or so of Pain, and then went looking for something else to play.

As our current tabletop DC Comics role-playing game has been stalled by folks’ busy schedule I was jonesing for superhero action so I turned to DCU Online. As I said, it had been a while, so it took forever and a day for it to download updates. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just me because I haven’t turned on the machine in a bit?

When it was done I flew around Metropolis as The Red Sun trying to figure out what’s what when I got a brainstorm. You have options in the game to have more than one character so I thought, just for kicks and giggles, I’d make a super-villain, and see what different. Walking through the steps of creation was easier this time. I think I had a young woman with zombie skin, inspired by Live Wire and the Joker with electrical powers. As last time, the hardest part was the naming. After several misses, I hit on the name Deadshock, although I think it’s spelled ‘dedshok.’

Much like my problems as a hero, I had a hard time getting out of Brainiac’s spaceship, which is apparently the default starting point. Being a villain, at least I didn’t have to fight my way out like before. But I did still have to find a way out.

Once out I ended up in Metropolis, and instead going to the police station I went to the villain equivalent. Same steps, same rules, same old same old, just cooler powers this time. I did take quite a delight in blasting everything in sight. I have to go to a certain place for a mission, yet I can’t find it. I guess I need to buy a GPS.

Is there some sort of guide as to how to play this game? Color me confused, as I’m a DC Comics fan who really wants to play and experience this world – and I’m hopefully just limited by my non-experience with games.

St. Patrick’s Day in the DC Universe

At Christmas the DC Universe Online game had some special goodies going on with Larfleeze the Orange Lantern. There’s something similar happening this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day with Superman foe Mister Mxyzptlk. I guess the fifth dimensional imp is the closest that DC Comics has to a leprechaun, so he shows up with pots of gold full of gold coins. Here’s a video that gives you a better idea.

I gave it a shot with The Red Sun, but I don’t think I managed to snag any coins. I’m still working on the controller…

The YouTube video is courtesy of 2TM’s House Of Pain.

Christmas in the DC Universe Online

When last we left The Red Sun, in the DC Universe Online game, he had escaped from Brainiac’s ship and was wandering around the Metropolis (at least I think it’s Metropolis) police station trying not to tick off other online players whose characters, flagging their names behind them, whizzed to and fro. Yeah, I was lost again. Basically I was at the “Now what?” point.

Eventually after wandering in circles for awhile, and trying to talk to characters who were not player-controlled, I learned that Super-Gorilla Grodd was attacking again, this time with a plan to turn humans into apes. Again? But that trick never works. Despite all that, I learned how to fly, and use the map, and got myself to the big battle.

Battle is kind of a misleading. Massacre is more like it. They beat me down, bad. Luckily Jeff came over and gave me a boost with the game. He played his way through quite a few gorilla soldiers, and got us (I know, but I’ll get to play after he’s done) to the next level. Coolness, thank you, Jeff.

In the midst of battle throughout Metropolis (yep, it’s definitely Metropolis), we kept seeing Christmas trees, which I thought at first were a nice holiday decoration. I’m guessing that’s what the massive update was before we started playing. It could have been that or the two new (buyable) updates for speedsters and Green Lanterns, of which there were many, far too many actually. I guess everyone abandons their old characters when new powers become available.

We soon learned that the update was probably a special Christmas present for DCUO players – a new adventure called “Season’s Greedings” featuring Orange Lantern Larfleeze who has come to Earth to strike back at Santa for leaving him empty-handed this year. The new quest involves collecting stolen gifts and fighting Larfleeze’s orange constructs without being trapped in snowglobes or turned into orange energy snowmen.

What a pleasant surprise! It sure beats being clobbered by big monkeys any day. Merry Christmas!

…And Breaking the Hero

Okay, last time, I had finally succeeded in creating a character to play in DC Universe Online, called “theredsun” AKA The Red Sun, a Mon-El clone with fire powers. I was all set to start playing in the DC Universe, woo hoo! And then the game started.

I don’t know what I did wrong, or if I did do something wrong, but I started out on Brainiac’s spaceship. I had to get out before I could actually start playing. The narrative, the computer, or whatever, kept telling me I only had to take out a couple guards and I could go. But no, that never worked out. There kept being ‘just two more guards’ and then I had to find the exit. It never seemed to end.

I must have been flying or walking around this stupid ship for hours, when Jeff finally showed up, figured stuff out in a few minutes and finally got The Red Sun off the ship. Damn gaming veteran. I’m jealous and frustrated, yes, but also thankful. I think I might’ve died on the ship if he hadn’t come along, and lord knows what that would’ve meant, maybe starting the character creation process over again.

Off the ship, I found myself in a city, and at a police headquarters, which seemed more like the place I should’ve started. The weird part, and Jeff informed me this was how online games worked, was seeing other costumed folk wandering aimlessly around. All of them had their names floating above them. This I thought was funny, and I wondered what would happen if I just followed one of them around constantly.

By this time however, we had other non-videogames things to do and had to leave it go. So I guess I just missed out on getting a cyber-punch in the nose. Good place to stop though, and hopefully the game saved.

Making the Hero

I was so anxious to get started playing DC Universe Online that I jumped right in without a parachute or even knowing how to swim. I was immediately confronted with an intimidating barrage of additional downloads and Apple style contract agreements just to get on with it. It did much to diminish my enthusiasm. Again, I’m learning that patience is a major factor in playing these newer videogames.

I was finally able to play, no, that’s not the right word… I was finally able to actually do something some time the next day. After a fantastic cinematic about the framing sequence of the story of the game, I would be able to start making my character. I have to tell you though, that this intro -which I had seen before, but on YouTube – is absolutely stunning on the high definition big screen. I’m happy to watch it multiple times and did.

Here’s the gist: Brainiac is secretly absorbing the powers of Earth’s metahumans while also inciting them to go to war with each other. In the final climatic battle that we see, Luthor and the other major villains destroy what is left of the Justice League. When no one is left standing except for Luthor, Brainiac plays his hand, and invades the Earth. No is left to stop him. Luthor steals Brainiac’s power-absorbing devices and travels back in time to warn the Justice League. On his way, he releases the devices which shower the earth with excess powers, creating new superhumans (the players), whom the heroes, and villains, must train to eventually stop Brainiac. Got it?

So to start, you are a new hero, inspired by any of several metahuman characters in the DC Universe, and you go on training missions to learn your craft and prepare to fight Brainiac. In the meantime, you get to interact with established heroes and villains and explore the elaborate fantasy world that is the DC Universe.

Now I had been told that there was a detailed character creation system, but that’s not so true. My initial thought was to create an existing but obscure DC character that wouldn’t already be in the game. My fantasies included the Golden Age Mr. Terrific, Congo Bill, and from the Legion’s time, Questar. Wasn’t happening.

There’s a limited number of heroes who can ‘inspire’ your character, and your powers and costume color schemes kind of match up to that hero (or villain), or at least that’s the way it appears to me. If that’s not the case, please let me know, because as I’ve pointed out on multiple occasions, I am handicapped when it comes to videogames. I ended up finally with a character inspired by Superman, who looks like Mon-El, has fire powers, and called The Red Sun, spelled in the game “theredsun” because someone, or several someones probably already thought of it. Ah, the perils of online gaming – everyone’s doing it.

Next, The Red Sun actually gets to adventure in the DC Universe…

The Value of Good Customer Service

When I heard about the free play offer on DC Universe Online for October, I decided it was time to buy the game I wanted the most, but never bought because of that pesky monthly subscription fee thing. So I went to the usual two places I have gotten my PS3 games from, Play N Trade, and then Walmart, and both let me down.

I was about to turn to the wonderful online worlds of Amazon and eBay when I remembered that there was a Game Stop right in town, mere moments from my home. I have been hesitant to shop at Game Stop as a company for one reason. My sister is a librarian, and some years back, there was someone filching videotapes and DVDs from the library, and selling them en masse to the local Game Stop. Considering that all of the items were marked with ‘property of said library,’ there’s no way the GS folks couldn’t have known what was up. It had to be a partner job. I had a hard time trusting Game Stop after that.

Proximity, and a crazed need for the DC Universe Online game prevailed and I called the Marlton Game Stop, not the one in the incident described above, it should be noted. Yes, they had a copy of the game, and sure, they’d hold it for me. Woohoo. I went right over.

When I went in, they knew exactly who I was and what I wanted. They tried to sell me on other games, but in a friendly, conversational manner – not like it was their job to do so, but because they wanted to. They hipped me to a game The Bride would definitely be interested in, a pseudo-sequel to the Portal games called Quantum Conundrum. And we also talked for a bit about comics and tabletop role-playing games.

Suffice it to say, the next time I’m looking to buy new games, they will be my first stop. That’s the value of good customer service. And for more info about playing DC Universe Online for free, check out this link.