DC Universe Online





Early last week subscribers to the PS3′s premium service, Playstation Plus, got full access to the beta for Sony Online Entertainments upcoming MMO DC Universe Online. I’ve been excited for this game since they announced it a couple of years ago and have been patiently waiting for it to come out.

The game starts off in the future with all the heroes fighting all the villains. Everyone ends up killing each other and Brainiac invades earth. We come to learn that Brainiac had been stealing powers from all the powered people in the DCU which caused both sides to lose. Jump to the “present” and you see Lex Luthor from the future talking Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman into helping him stop that future from happening. He then infects the world with nanobots that give normal people like you and me powers. That is where your character comes in. You play your own character that fights with the heroes or villains. When making your character you have your choice of 6 mentors. This choice determines where you start and what your opening line of quests are. For heroes you have your choice of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. And for Villains you choose between Lex Luthor, Joker, and Circe. After that you choose your main attacks. This ranges from energy hand blasts to dual pistols, to melee weapons. Next up is what kind of power set would you like to have. Do you want to wield the powers of Fire or Ice? Do you prefer Gadgets? Or how about Telekinesis? For my character I chose Ice as my power and a Staff as my weapon. I would say the combat in the game is a mixture of Phantasy Star Online and WoW. Your skills and powers are  hotlinked to certain keys (Holding L2 or R2 while pushing one of the 4 main buttons), while your weapon attacks are done mainly with the square button. As you progress you get new combos you can do with your weapon that are based on the timing of how you hit square.

I started off in Metropolis getting mission assignments from my mentor, Wonder Woman. The first quest line revolved around saving Zatanna from Felix Faust, then tracking down Faust and teaming with Zatanna to fight him. Most of the quest lines follow that loose guide. You save or assist a character, then you team up with that character to fight the bad guy. Eventually you can go up to the JLA Watchtower, which is also how you travel between Metropolis and Gotham. There are lots of side missions to do. My favorites are the “Wanted” or “Bounty” missions. When you hit certain levels bounties become available in the form of really strong characters that you usually have to be in a group to take on. I’ve faced Bizarro and Solomon Grundy. But the toughest one became available during my favorite quest line that I’ve played so far. I got to team up with the Green Lantern Corps against the Sinestro Corp in downtown Metropolis. The bounty came in the form of Arkillo, one of the stronger members of the Sinestro Corp.  For a comic geek like me, getting to do something like that was so much fun!

The level cap on the full game is going to be 30. Although for the beta it caps out at 20. While that may seem low for an MMO I have heard that a lot of the content in the game is “End Level” content. I am ok with this. Past MMO’s I have played, like WoW, I would get bored and lose interest in the game once I got to around level 30.

Now is that to say it is without fault? No, it isn’t. However it is a beta test, this is the phase of a game meant to work out all the little bugs. On the PS3 the biggest problem for me has been freezing issues where the whole console locks up. This issue is getting better though. On Thursday when I started playing the game it froze more times than I could keep track of, but by Saturday it only froze on me a couple of times. SOE seems to be getting a bunch of the problems worked through which gives me hope. Past that I haven’t had any big issues other than  some minor bugs, and most of those all seem to have been fixed already. An example would be checkpoints for quests not showing up, or areas for a quest being inaccessible to some people but not all.

Overall I think this is a fun and enjoyable game. Will this game be for everyone? No it won’t. Do you have to be well versed in DC continuity to enjoy it? No, you don’t. My roommate is not well versed in DC past knowing who the iconic characters are and he has had a good time. Its has also made him curious about other characters that he isn’t that familiar with. With the low level cap I don’t know how much “end game” content there actually will be, but  expect a report when I get the full game in January.  I’ve been excited for this game since it was announced two years ago and I’m even more pumped now.