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Hands-on with Infinite Crisis' new Coast City Marina map

Gavin Townsley

Superheroes always seem to find a reason to start throwing punches. In fact, their instinctual need for violence is a perfect fit for the MOBA genre. Endless arena battles with little or no consequences make for a description divined for tight-loving super beings.

Infinite Crisis, the new DC Comics-based MOBA from Turbine and Warner Bros. Entertainment, is introducing its closed beta to a new map: Coast City Marina. The map is a mixture of massive-urban jungles, capture points, and even a giant-AoE doomsday device. It's as though every type of MOBA gametype were mashed into one large, everything-on-it burger. And then Batman beat you up with it.

The Roster and powers

Infinite Crisis already has some awesome champions to choose from. There's Doomsday, Joker, Poison Ivy, Zatanna, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, just to name a few. It even has Batman three ways: Batman, Nightmare Batman, and Gaslight Batman. My team was a fan of the latter, putting me in the midst of way too much bat and man for my comfort. I decided to be different and check out Poison Ivy, one of the game's support-driven characters.

One of my favorite champions was Gaslight Joker, who happened to lane with me in a later match. This joker is an obese, unpleasant version of the man in purple. He threw hunks of rotten meat that caused enemies to become "filthy" and run in fear. His ultimate summons a swarm of rats that eat and consume anything near the Joker, especially if they are filthy targets.

Hands On with Infinite Crisis's new map
One of Infinite Crisis' unique concepts is the idea of stolen powers. These powers, akin to summoner spells in League of Legends, are earned via leveling up individual champions through matches played. Playing Poison Ivy will eventually unlock a basic and a higher tiered ability, both of which can then be selected while playing other champions like Gaslight Joker.

One of the more basic stolen powers was simply Super Strength. My teammate used the power to pick up a vehicle and lumber around with it until an enemy moved close enough to catch it with his face. The hit stunned the enemy Green Lantern, opening up an opportunity for us to nab a kill and take out the enemy tower. Other objects like debris from crushed structures or meteors dropped by other stolen powers serve as items that can be used via Super Strength for extra damage and utility.

Jungle, lanes, and capture points

Coast City Marina immediately looks different from the traditional three-lane arenas of other MOBA games. Shaped like an upside-down pentagon, the 5v5 map has two lanes: a longer top lane surrounded by more jungle and a shorter lower lane that serves as the more direct line toward the enemy base. I took the top lane with Poison Ivy while the Batmans messed around in the jungle and on the lower lane.

The jungle in the center of the map is massive, capable of supporting several characters who wish to jungle for some champion ganks. There are plenty of urban jungle creatures to kill and more than ample opportunities to catch the enemy junglers off guard.

Hands On with Infinite Crisis's new map
The capture points, called power relays, serve as incentive to get the team or a few characters together and help the lane pushers, like myself. Each capture point unlocks benefits to the team for a period of time. After a few minutes, the power relays fail and open up for a fresh capture chance. The benefits include increased drone (minion) damage with one captured relay and elite drone spawns in the top lane with two relays; a third relay unlocks later in the match, providing elite drones to the bottom lane. The system not only keeps junglers moving but also helps the dedicated lane-pushing players more consistently than in other games.

Doomsday Device

The Doomsday Device is the game-changer of Coast City Marina. A giant turret-like structure guards the center of the map and unlocked roughly half way through our match. Upon the defeat of the turret, a small usable item will drop, giving the player that uses it a new skill. The skill paints a giant AoE circle, roughly three times the size of a turret's range, which does significant damage to any enemy unfortunate enough to be nearby.

Hands On with Infinite Crisis's new map
My first attempt at using the Doomsday device was embarrassing. The device starts a one-minute long timer the moment you defeat the guard turret. In a frantic rush to use the skill, I managed to overkill a solitary drone as my enemies ran away with ease. The timer added a sense of urgency to capitalize on our reward, forcing quick decisions to initiate team fights or to use the AoE to help nuke down one of the enemy towers.

Coast City Marina is a busy map to say the least. Even as a character pushing lanes, I felt almost overwhelmed by the number of objectives to consider along with the standard MOBA depth. This wasn't a bad thing, though. I felt challenged and constantly active during my matches with my Batmen team. If I wasn't pushing lanes, I was helping support jungle fights or disrupting enemy attempts at the doomsday device. Coast City brought to play many of the things I love about capture and defend gameplay while continuing to give me that MOBA-lane gameplay I've come to adore.

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

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