Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DC Universe Online - Game Review

Who among us never dreamt of having superman’s unstoppable powers (when we were little who knew about Kryptonite…), of running as fast as the Flash (even been struck by lightning didn’t sound so bad) or maybe of just being as COOL, as SCARY and as unimaginably AWESOME as Batman!

OK, OK… so I am a little in favor of the bat, but really, who doesn’t love the bat…

Back to business. This is a review about the MMORPG called “DC Universe online

A little history about the game; Published by SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) and WBIE (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) on January 2011, this game was meant to allow the players to create characters and fight alongside their time long comic heroes and villains as their “protégés”.

A fact that was supposed to raise DCU above all other “superheroes” MMORPG’s was the fact that the game was designed for both PC and PS3, a fact that at the end might have been (at least in the writers opinion) one of its main disadvantages.

Now for the game itself…

The game begins with one of the most beautiful introduction movies ever created for these games, where we see the world in ruins, corpses of heroes and villain alike lie between the rubble as the main icons of the DC universe are at each other’s throat.
In some of the most choreographed battles I have ever seen, we are exposed to each of the heroes & villains strengths and abilities – as the battle strategies are set by Batman on the heroes’ side and by Lex Luthor on the villains’ side.
Other main icons such as Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Circe, Deathstroke and Black Adam fight for their lives using all their skills and powers. In what will become one of the greatest moments in the game story, the villains get the upper hand, and all the heroes go down, allowing Luthor to “break” Wonder Woman and make her call out in pain… 

"allowing Luthor to “break” Wonder Woman and make her call out in pain…"

I guess by now you are all asking where is Superman in all of this?
Well, old red and blue is out in space, recharging in front of the sun when he hears the cry, and by god, that’s one of the moments we should all say “thank you” for not really needing to fight him. As Superman reaches earth he kills Black Adam (melting his head with his heat vision!!!) and breaks Luthor’s armor before going to Wonder Woman, only to find her dead with Kryptonite in her mouth.
Luthor then appears above Superman and in a moment of pure insanity skewer him on his spear.

With all the earth heroes dead, Luthor is left to see as an immense fleet of spaceships led by none other than Brainiac falls on earth.

" Luthor is left to see as an immense fleet of spaceships led by none other than Brainiac falls on earth..."

From there we are taken back to a time before the war of the heroes and villains began, finding future Luthor talking to the leaders of the Justice League (Sup’s, WWoman and Bat’s), telling them about the danger that is coming. Using data he stole from Brainiac, future Luthor releases special nano-bots to earth, bringing different superpowers to the normal people of earth, so that they’ll have a fighting chance.

When the movie ended I could feel the tingling sensation I usually get when I am sure I am about to enjoy something I have waited for along long time.

The game:

When creating your character you can choose the basic options of Gender and built and then you can customize your powers and your outfit, your skin, eye color and so on...

"customize your powers and your outfit, your skin, eye color and so on..."

The “features” that make you “super” are divided into 2 categories, “Power” and “Weapon” ranging from powers over fire, ice, gadgets, mystic powers etc… to weapons such as bow and arrow, dual guns, martial arts, brawling, staff and more (those who love Harley Quinn can rest assured that you can use a two handed heavy weapon as well).

"powers over fire, ice, gadgets, mystic powers etc…"

"weapons such as bow and arrow, dual guns, martial arts, brawling, staff and more... (Harley Quinn is proud!)"

Another interesting power is the “fast travel” power - allowing you to either fly, run like Flash, or be acrobatic like Batman. The two I liked the most were flying and acrobatics, but then again some of you might enjoy running and ricocheting against walls in super speed sprint (the one I chose for my first character was the super speed run, just to let you know).

"Flight... need I say more?"

Once you finish creating your character on all of its aspect and find it a name that is not already in use you are thrown into the game with another amazing cut scene, this time in a comic’s style. When the scene ends you find yourself on a Brainiac harvest ship.

From here on you are learning the game and its special system, which in my opinion has both good and annoying parts…

Except for the amazing graphics which is one of the best things of the game, the character movement and action are fluid, whether they are running, flying, jumping or fighting. the animation is one of the best I’ve encountered while playing a “Superheroes” MMO, and even as I write this review I find myself thinking about creating a new character just to see how it will look and feel.

Also great is the fact that you actually get to interact with your heroes\villains in their respective cities of Gotham and Metropolis, speaking with the likes of Catwoman or Batgirl. Fighting the scarecrow and other rivaling iconic NPC’s really makes you feel the amazing world that is the DC Universe.

Another thing I really liked is the fact that you can “lock” the look and as they call it “style” of the character that even if you receive new armor parts and weapons, your appearance will not change, allowing you to keep your original outfit, or otherwise create a new one from the pieces you will collect.

"but really, who doesn’t love the bat…"

On the other end, due to the fact that this game is for both PC and PS3 the developers chose to find a way for the game to give an even experience for both platform players, although the servers for PC and PS3 are different servers and players of one platform may not interact with players for the other platform!

One of the things that annoyed me the most as a PC player was that I had to get used to the fact that I had no mouse pointer and I was only able to move the character view point with moving the mouse and attack using the mouse buttons.

The worst thing in my opinion, and it hurts me to say it about a game I was sure I was going to love, is that although this is a MMO, the story is very linear. You are given a specific quest chain that you must finish in order to progress.
You are not given an option to choose another way of action, or to continue on another quest and “dump” the current one, or else you will not be able to reach other places – which I am sure might be a nice way to conduct things if it was a single player game with a “start” and an “end” but not in a MMORPG.

I will admit that a ray of light came for the game on the 1st of November 2011, when it changed its payment method and became a “free to play” game, with options for the players to buy added value items when they want to upgrade their game experience.

"changed its payment method and became a “free to play” game"

In less than a month the player pool grew to over a million, allowing players who didn’t want to pay for this game due to reviews it received, to explore the new universe and see it for themselves.
In conclusion, I really must say that I hoped this game would be implemented differently, but on the upside, if you are new to the MMO game style, this game will be one of the best places to start.

All I can wish you all is to fly, run or jump while shooting arrows, bullets or turrets of fire while just having FUN, because this is in the end if nothing else, a fun game.

And if I had to give this game a score, I would give it a 7.5/10.

With Much Respect,



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