Infinite Crisis Open Beta Review
GameSpot's open beta reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available to the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote time and Internet bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication.
Infinite Crisis is yet another game spawned to compete with the titans of the multiplayer online battle arena genre. In this particular thematic iteration, you take command of various iconic DC universe comic book heroes, including favorites from the Justice League, as well as some alternate-universe incarnations such as Nightmare Batman, Gaslight Joker, or Atomic Wonder Woman.
As Superman, you can swoop in like a speeding bullet to save a teammate and fight foes with your super strength. The Flash battles with quickness, gaining additional damage based on how fast he's going. The Joker brings his full bag of tricks to the battlefield, battling with an array of sinister toys befitting his not-all-there demeanor. The twist to Infinite Crisis' pool of champions comes from the overlapping alternate universes offering different takes on the same familiar characters. Gaslight Joker brings no tricks and few treats as his filth-themed kit covers an archetypal tank, winning battles by throwing around his extra weight. The vampiric Nightmare Batman forgoes the bruiser nature of standard Batman in exchange for the ability to lock down and assassinate a single target, or multiple targets if left unchecked.
Players may choose additional stolen powers for their champions to cover some of their weaknesses or solidify some of their strengths. The game's various environmental objects are often targets of these stolen powers, such as the ability to hoist an idle vehicle over your head and throw it into an enemy team. Each character has their own character-specific incarnation of a stolen power, such as Wonder Woman's super strength, allowing her to throw environmental objects farther, or Cyborg's teleport, allowing him to reach the destination more quickly than the default.
In its current open-beta state, the game has two maps available for matchmaking: Gotham Heights and Gotham Divided. Gotham Heights pits two teams of heroes against one another in a battle to drain the opponent's power core to death by controlling a set of capture points. Your team must hold more points than the enemy to begin the drain. Teams must decide how to divide up on the circular map to best execute their plan to dominate the enemy, with typical occurrences leading to repeated skirmishes for control of Wayne Tower which adorns the top-most point of the map, while one or two allies defend your bottom lane. Before play can stagnate with a 3-2 advantage to either side, a central capture point allows players to activate an orbital cannon, summoning powerful drones that must be stopped to prevent them from neutralizing an already-captured territory. Since points only drain for the team with the lead in held territories, no game is ever over until it is truly over, leading to potential nail-biting comebacks.
Gotham Divided features the MOBA genre standard gameplay of two bases connected by three lanes and a jungle of neutral creatures, with the set goal of destroying your enemy's base. Each lane is guarded by towers that must be destroyed as you progress further toward your coup-de-grace. Slaying the neutral monsters can enable your character to call down certain power-ups from which anyone on the team may benefit, such as a movement-speed enhancing shrine. Atypically of the genre, the map is oriented left-to-right rather than bottom-left corner to top-right corner.
The game has a well-executed method of balancing the "denying" gold farming methods of Dota 2 with the staunch "no denying" stance in League of Legends by introducing a mechanic called credits. If you score the last hit on a drone, you acquire credits automatically. However, if the drone simply dies nearby, it drops credits. Walking over the credits will pick them up, although the amount is less than if you had scored the killing blow on the drone. Credits dropped for enemies will appear grey on your screen, and walking over the grey credits will stomp them out, preventing your opponent from acquiring that money. The credit pick-up mechanic also makes it easier for players less skilled at last-hitting to still be able to acquire money, so long as they are able to walk to where a minion has died.
A third map, Coast City Marina, is available for custom games and a practice queue which pits you against only AI opponents. The map features only two lanes and much more room in the urban jungle, and seems suited to smaller teams despite the practice queue giving your team 5 players. The map blends both territory capture and base siege gameplay with its three power relays which players may capture in order to boost their credit gain and map control. I did not get to experiment with this game in custom games, but it definitely has potential to be a fun mode especially for 3v3s.
Infinite Crisis still has room for improvement, specifically with its character AI pathing and user interface. Character movement is oddly constrained, with heroes moving as if controlled by an old eight-way joystick rather than a mouse and keyboard. The UI has its ups and downs--its ups being that the game recommends items for new players to purchase and skills for them to rank up. The biggest downside is that your health and mana (will) values aren't displayed by default. While you can click on your health bar to toggle from a ruler-style tick mark to actual numbers to simply a percent listing, it's easy to miss the option until you've gotten a good number of games under your belt. The in-game shop is a bit daunting to navigate as well, with icons and costs being arranged in a chaotic manner. If not for checkboxes highlighting items that give specific stats, it would be much harder to choose which League of Legends-cloned item you were trying to buy.
Sorely missing from the game at present is a surrender function; although Gotham Heights matches are often no more than 20 minutes, Gotham Divided matches can drag on, leading to the frustration of playing in a lost match.
Overall, Infinite Crisis is shaping up to be a solid MOBA. It hasn't quite reached its potential, but it's only just begun its open beta and has plenty of time to improve before release. There are some flashes of brilliance in its design, but also keyboard-smashing frustrations that can only be hammered out by solid feedback moving forward in the beta phase.
An online battle arena featuring 27 heroes to choose from and three gameplay modes.
|What's to Come?||More champions and matchmaking for the Coast City Marina map are on the way.|
|What Does it Cost?|
Infinite Crisis is free to play, with the ability to purchase heroes and additional costumes for them.
|When Will it be Finished?|
Infinite Crisis does not yet have a set release date.
|What's the Verdict?|
The core gameplay is good, but a few frustrating elements and poor balance can disrupt your good time. However, with WB promoting the game alongside its other DC Universe games, you may be able to snag exclusive skins if you join early; keep your eyes peeled for that opportune moment.
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