Review: DC Universe Online
Admit it, everyone at some point in their life wanted to have super powers. What would you choose? Would you fly? Command the elements? Use super-human strength? Well you need not wonder anymore, as DC Comics along with Sony and WB Games allows you to immerse yourself in the DC Universe (DCUO). The game starts off with a rather intense video of a giant battle being conducted between the heroes and villains of the DC world. The video sets up the plot for the rest of the entire game: Brainiac let the heroes and villains fight each other until they were essentially too weak to prevent his impending invasion of earth. When Brainiac’s exobytes were stolen by Lex Luthor, they were released onto the population of earth, each imbued with super powers. Thus they effectively created a new breed of super heroes and villains. That’s where you come in.
After a brief introduction, you choose whether you will fight for the side of justice and order, or embrace the chaos and join the villains. Depending on which path you choose your mentor changes as well. The heroes can choose from Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman while the villains choose from Lex Luthor, The Joker and Circe. Next, you choose what magic power you wish specialize it, your movement style (flight, ninja, super speed) and your weapons of choice. The character creation in DCUO is pretty diverse, allowing for a plethora of options in appearances ranging from skin patterns to sizes to clothing styles. Even if the styles you want aren’t offered in the beginning, as the game progresses you will be able to find many, many more styles in which you can alter your appearance.
Graphically the game is great, the environment is detailed and the effects are vibrant. The worlds are huge as well and can take quite a bit of time to travel them. Mechanically the game is smooth too. DCUO plays slightly differently than other MMORPGs I have experienced in the past. Most I have tried largely involves moving around and clicking skills while all actual combat moves are conducted automatically by the computer. DCUO hands over the combat controls to you. How you click the mouse to attack unleashes different combos, each with different effects. For example clicking and then holding the mouse button may stun an opponent, while rapidly clicking multiple times may knock an opponent in the air, setting him up for more combos. There is no shortage of things to do as well at any given point in the game. You can go about beating the missions the game gives you, earn bounty by taking out super villains/heroes that are walking the streets or participate in various co-op PvP missions and PvP battles . If none of those appeals to you, you can go find a district with copious amounts of enemies, and fight until your heart is content or you need hand surgery because all that clicking caused carpal tunnel.
For as fun of a game it is, there are some very strong drawbacks when comparing this to other MMORPGs. The first and biggest one for me was that it took forever to figure out how to install the game and get it to run. I spent hours scouring forums, message boards and FAQs in order to find out why the game wouldn’t launch. It was an infuriating experience and I can only hope that if you, the reader, decides to play the game that it goes more smoothly for you. I will include a link at the end of the article that made it possible to play the game once it was downloaded. Next, the game does have a rather steep learning curve. There are a multitude of things the game never explains to you that is incredibly useful to know. For example, as you take damage, so does your equipment and you need to repair it in order to use it. Also, being able to know how to use the armor attributes, skills and fighting styles cohesively is something never taught in tutorial and is something I am still trying to get the hang of. I had to repeatedly get my butt handed to me in PvP in order to figure out that something was up. Furthermore, the cities really don’t have any indicators of the strength of enemies in various districts. Far too often I found myself facing down enemies or getting dragged into a flight when I was just flying through that was way out of my league. This was more so an annoyance than an actual problem, but you get my gist. Lastly, there is your typical glitches like you get trapped in a wall, the boss just disappears or an item they were supposed to drop doesn’t show up.
Ultimately though, as long as you can actually manage to get the game started and you are either a quick learner or patient, DCUO is still worth playing. It is also free to play, which certainly makes going through all the trouble to install it worthwhile. DCUO provides plenty of entertainment for those who love the DC comics, are looking for a new MMORPG fix or just want to fulfill your inner kid desires and gain the superpowers we have only been able to dream of.
Final Rating: 8/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: PC
Approximate Time to Completion: Unknown
Game Achievements: 57 out of 524
Price: Free for Basic, Legendary is $9.99 per month for 12 months (approx. $119/yr).
Recommended Purchase Price: Free although I recommend spending a little extra cash to get things like DLC or extra character slots.