I’m going to make my introduction short and then get straight to the meat of this article. Hi, I’m Sean, yet another fellow gamer. Every now and then I’ll write an article and chime in with another point of view. With that out of the way, onto the article!
Welcome DC’s long awaited MMO, DC Universe Online. Together with Sony Online Entertainment, they’ve created a super hero action MMO to rival that of City of Heroes/Villains. The game releases on January 11th but a beta was running on PC as well as the PS3 for those fortunate to be Playstation Plus members. Over the holidays I had a chance to sit down with the beta and give it a once over as a member of the Playstation Plus ranks and figured I’d share my thoughts on it.
Now I’ve never been big on massively multi-player online games. I dabbled in City of Heroes for a while and played Diablo 2 very briefly. Since I’m a bit of a comic nerd DC Universe seemed right up my alley as I have had a recent desire to get into MMOs a bit more. I was lucky enough to get into the tail end of the beta and give it a whirl. Part of that stems from me being swayed by the excellent trailer DC/SOE released at last year’s E3. Yes, that trailer was purely CGI and in no way represented the way that game would look, aside from character styling. Still, that trailer is a nice jumping off point as it’s the introduction to DC Universe’s world.
Like with City of Heroes, it’s very much a customized experience. The story of the game revolves around ordinary humans being bestowed with fantastic super powers. You of course get to design the way your character looks, their main super power, and of course a weapon for hand to hand combat. Pretty basic stuff at first but like with MMOs of old, as you level your character you’re able to choose new abilities that branch off from your initial choices. For example, I chose to make my character have mental super powers. The first power I was able to use as a result of this choice was telekinesis which allowed me to use my mind to lift enemies into the air, immobilizing them.
As I continued to level, I expanded on this, added a telekinetic push ability as well as psychic “blades” that I could throw at my enemies. These powers of course added variety to the combat and allowed me to mix up my attacks along with my weapon of choice, a bow and arrow. Much like my super power, I could level up my tactics to add better and stronger shots.
After you create your character, you’re able to choice one of three mentors, Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman. Each character provides a different mission path-way. For the beta, I decided to use Batman as my mentor which led to interactions with many of Gotham’s secondary characters while Batman provided direction. At one point I even got to fight alongside Batwoman so it’s nice to see little touches like that. Which leads me to assume that as you reach the end up game you’re able to team up with other Justice League allies, your mentor included.
Though it’s contained in the DC Comics world, Universe still adheres to the basics of an MMO so if you were wondering about that you can breathe easy. There is loot that you pick up along the way, plenty of side quests, and stores where you can use the money you’ve earned to upgrade your look. Yes these upgrades come with pros and cons that can affect the ability of your character.
So yes, essentially this is a super hero MMO set in a world populated by DC’s best characters. Interesting concept and from what I experienced in the beta, very good execution. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some issues. I thought the use of the PS3 controller seemed a little rigid. Perhaps I would’ve had better luck using a keyboard and mouse. Also I experienced a lot of freezing issues during my time with the game. The same issue was reported by various users, all at indiscriminate times. Given there constant patching to the beta, I suspect it’s something that they’ll have worked out before next week’s launch day.