DC Universe Online Review
- Posted January 21st, 2011 at 22:59 EDT by Steven Williamson
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DC Universe Online is certainly brimming with potential, but until Sony irons out some of the kinks, the various bugs and server issues prevent it from being the triple-A console MMO experience we've been craving all this time.
- The production values. Great animation, character models, cut-scenes and audio work
- Teaming up with like-minded heroes/villains for co-op play and raids
- The addictive and fast leveling up system
- The repetitive mission types
- Slowdown, getting thrown out of servers and some game-spoiling glitches
- The clunky user-interface and chat function
Early adopters beware: DC Universe Online is typical of any subscription-based MMO that’s in its infancy. Though we’re promised an evolving world with brand new areas to explore, new characters to interact with and tons of new missions, it isn’t going to happen overnight. Likewise, the issues with server stability as well as the numerous bugs and glitches won’t be ironed out immediately either. Sony Online Entertainment’s aim in the long run is undoubtedly to deliver a game that’s worthy of its $14.99 monthly subscription fee, but having already forked out $59.99 for what amounts to a 30 day trial, committing further cash to the superhero cause still feels like quite a gamble.
That’s not to say our minds won’t be swayed over the coming weeks and months, because DC Universe does have a lot to offer. Furthermore, having played a lot of MMOs over the years, we’re acutely aware that things can change quite significantly over time; therefore we’ve made the decision to review DC Universe Online in two parts. This initial review, the one you’re reading right now, is based on our impressions so far. The final score we give may well differ in our second review, which will follow in a couple of months time, thus giving SOE ample opportunity to expand on the content, tweak things here and there and improve on existing issues.
At a time when superheroes are all the rage on T.V and film, gaining the official DC Universe license is an impressive feather in Sony’s cap, and one that immediately sets it apart from its PC rivals, Champions Online and City Of Heroes. With top writers and illustrators on board, the comic book art-style has instant appeal, as is being able to play as your favorite heroes and villains in the flesh. Needless to day, it’s a dream come true for comic book nerds. Characters are expertly handcrafted and sublimely animated. Voice-over work is impressive and the classic comic book narrative serves well to deliver a typically over-the-top, yet enjoyable tale that fits snugly into DC Universe’s magnificent history.
The storyline picks up after Lex Luthor returns from the future to the present day, having killed his archenemy Superman and other DC Comic characters. Luthor learns, however, that his magnificent feat wasn’t all his own doing and his plans for world domination haven’t quite worked out. Braniac, a time-travelling extra terrestrial android with attitude, has been sucking away at our heroes’ powers to facilitate his own plans of global domination. Luthor flees from Braniac having stolen nanobots from his mother ship, which he plans to use to turn ordinary humans into superheroes to create an army capable of taking him on. With some impressive cut-scenes, a suitably epic musical score and plenty of hectic fight scenes, the story serves its purpose well and delivers the perfect excuse for hundreds of heroes and villains to take to the streets of Metropolis and Gotham in preparation for the inevitable earth-saving battle.
Before you step into the action, you need to make the important choice of whether to be a hero or a villain. Your decision affects the people you meet in the game, as well as the missions you undertake and who you fight with and against. You get a variety of decent options to kit out your character, choosing from various powers, such as ice and fire. You then need to pick your preferred choice of movement, such as flight or acrobatics, as well as opting for one particular fighting style that will determine whether you’re the kind of superhero who likes to get up close and personal, or take your shots from a distance.
With your strengths and powers chosen, you’re next required to customize your superhero, choosing everything from the size of his body to the style of his haircut. Alternatively, you can pick a template, inspired by the likes of famous DC Universe characters, such as Batman, or Superman and then adopt it to your preferred look. You even choose a famous superhero mentor, who you get to fight alongside later in the game, but your choice also determines the type of rewards you gain from completed quests. There’s a decent range of options, ensuring that every type of typical MMO class can ... (continued on next page) ----