gdc 2013

Infinite Crisis

Hands-on With The DC Universe MOBA
by Tim Turi on Mar 26, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Turbine
Release: 2013
Platform: PC

Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, developer Turbine Inc. showed off a new MOBA featuring the DC comics universe. Infinite Crisis is a free-to-play PC game in line with other Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas like League of Legends and DOTA 2. 

The game places an emphasis on alternate universes, and those parallel timelines collide in Infinite Crisis. Multiple versions of Batman are included in the game, like a twisted vampiric Nightmare Batman and a steampunk variant called Gaslight Batman. Other characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern will also feature different elseworld versions. Turbine will trickle out new characters in the months following the game’s fall release.

Infinite Crisis also features destructive player vs. player combat. Players can toss cars at each other or call down meteors to devastate their foes. If you master Superman’s super strength ability -which allows him to toss vehicles – you can unlock that ability for use by other characters.

I got my hands on the latest build of Infinite Crisis on a map set in Gotham City. There are currently three maps planned to be included with the release of the game. The Gotham City map features a circular path enveloping a central park area, with team bases branching out the east and west sides. Cataclysmic events like a meteor strike can render sections of the map impassable, changing the flow of battle.

I played as Gaslight Joker, a tank-class character with a huge butcher’s cleaver, a rotten chunk of ham, and a tremendous gut. This Joker iteration has special abilities like a rat swarm which attacks nearby enemies, a rotten meat toss which damages and scares enemies, and a snack time ability that increases defense and mobility. I filled my two stolen ability slots with super strength and x-ray vision, which allowed me to see invisible enemies and throw vehicles much further. 

The overall flow of battle feels similar to other PC MOBA titles. Players point and click across the map, purchase stat-boosting gear with gold collected from fallen enemies (last hitting is part of the game), and vie for control of towers while minions march into battle. I focused on upgrading my health and distracting the enemy team so my allies could attack from afar and capture towers. Capturing towers drains the other team’s points, and the first team to hit zero points loses in a dramatic explosion. Unfortunately for me, our team lost. My favorite moment from the match involved stalking Nightmare Batman while carrying a big van, activating x-ray vision, and tossing it across the screen to deal big damage.

After my brief hands-on time with Infinite Crisis, it’s obvious the game sticks very close to established MOBA conventions, but with the enticement of legendary characters and environments from the DC Universe. I enjoy the art style and plethora of characters available, but we’ll know whether the game can stand apart from the crowd of me-too MOBAs when the games arrives this fall.

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