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Universal Monsters Online
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Universal Monsters Online

Release Date:  August 2012
Publisher:  Bigpoint
Developer:  Universal Studios
Genre:  
Sponsor:

Inspired by the greatest Universal Monster films, Universal Monsters Online, a free-to-play action-strategy MMORPG, is about to come out as another effort-condensing works out of the cooperation between Bigpoint US and Universal Pictures.

Overview:

In this vast gallery of monsters, you will be able to have a personal contact with the well-known iconic characters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man. It is reported that, together with Bigpoint US’ The Mummy Returns, the game is to be built upon the Unity 3D platform, which will enable players to have more stunning gaming experiences. Aside from that, the deep gameplay and cinematic audio are also expected to appeal to players.

Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint, claims that there is large room in transforming Hollywood films into browser-based games. After their first attempt – the successful release of Battlestar Galactica Online and The Mummy Online, the result of which has surpassed their expectations, they are pretty willing to have another go to exploit more resources in this field.

Review:

Universal Monsters Online is an action real-time strategy game. The game is actually what you’d experience if you take the PvP arenas or battlefields out of a traditional MMO and separated them out into their own title, which just gets rid of the boring level-grinding and character-building process and puts players immediately into blood-splashing deathmatch-style arena brawler. Since the monstrous world of Universal Monsters Online had a heavy PvP focus anyway, it is easy to pick up and play but might take some time and effort to master it.

Each player in universal monsters online controls one of a number of heroes including infamous wolf-man and Duracula,which are grouped with others in teams of 5. Battles are standard two-sided, meaning there are 10 players going at it at all times. The team which kills more players from the opposite faction when the time limit expires, or destroys the base is the winner. Depending on the map, the road to victory can be as simple as slaying the most opposing players or as complicated as combining kills strategically and controlling tactic points.

Combat does feature tons of familiar MMORPG trappings. Attacks and other skills like buffs, snares and heals are mapped to the QWER keys, though each Hero can only have five active at any given time. There are also skill-CDs to manage too, which might be a bit tricky when the action gets frantic. One thing’s for sure: teamwork is crucial, and going it alone will almost always lead to your death. Thankfully, the next respawn is only 10 seconds away, and players can pick a different hero from the ones available to them and come back in with a new character of completely new style. This is a nice feature for sure, because the heroes are pretty clearly responsible for different roles – melee DPS, tank, ranged DPS, healer, and so on – and the team mix can easily be adjusted on their will. Some even have skills specifically depending on the makeup of the team. Players can join pre-formed teams or simply queue for the next random game with other like-minded folks by pressing the“Play” button. Whatever the matchmaking formula is, it seems to work well, as I always found myself in battles with fellow newbies more often than not.

Universal Monsters Online keeps plenty of stats on player performance, including kills, assists, capture of enemy beacons and more. All of the numbers are displayed at the wrap-up screen of each match, giving everyone a chance to see who was holding up his or her end of the deal. Rewards also get divvied out in the form of Experience Points and Silvers.

Leveling up is done by players, which allows new abilities such as passive traits or destructive AOE skills called Super Abilities to be unlocked for any Hero owned. Here lies the rub, because owning other heroes is expensive. They can be purchased for Silvers, but the price is so high that it takes tons of matches before you can afford any of them.

The quicker solution is to buy Gold, the game’s premium currency, for real money. It’s great that the option is there, but just like other games running under the same F2P model, there’s really no way people who play for free can hope to compete with those who spend money to buy more heroes and the most powerful gears. There’s an imbalance issue between the haves and have-nots.

Universal Monsters Online is fun anyway, and might be the best browser game yet at capturing the chaotic flavor of the fantasy universe. It’s a definite must-try if the Online Battle Arena or Action Real Time Strategy is your cup of coffee. Anyway, just be prepared to lay out either money or a whole lot of time if you plan on playing with the big fans around the worlds.

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