Hands-on – DC Universe Online

Hey there guys. As promised, here is the first real content post of this blog. If you worked out the ‘hint’ gave in the previous post you should already know what this will be about. And if you didn’t … well, you either didn’t read the post or failed to work out the hint, in which case, you fail!

No really, let’s talk about DC Universe Online now.
Once you’ve chosen your mentor you go to the next set of screens where you choose your power (Fire, Ice, Gadgets, Sorcery, Mental and Nature), your movement type (Flight, Super-Speed or Acrobatics), your weapon type (ranging from Brawling, Hand Blasters à la Iron Man, Guns, Martial Arts, Dual Wield, …).
Character creation screen

Next up, you get to work on the look of your character. You can either base your costume on an existing hero or villain in the DC universe or you can start from scratch and choose your very own personalised suit complete with emblem and/or cape. The character customization screens can be extremely intimidating at first glance but after a quick browse of the various option you get the hang of it quite fast.

Once you’re finished creating your character you move on to one of the best looking cinematics I’ve seen. Its purpose is to explain the plot a little bit and basically explains the recent influx of new heroes and villains. In the not too distant future Lex Luthor and his gang of villains manage to finally defeat the Justice League of America in what seems to be endless battles. He even manages to defeat the Man of Steel himself as he drives a spear made of Kryptonite through his heart. The next scene shows how Brainiac invades the world after which we move on to a scene with Lex Luthor meeting with Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman and explains that he came from the future to give the world a fighting chance, he does this by releasing the so-called ‘Exobytes’ onto the planet which basically gives mere humans superpowers, hence the increase in heroes and villains of which you are now part.
Metropolis from the sky

After a short tutorial level you are unleashed upon the world to save the day or take over the planet. Speaking of the world, it is immense. Basically, you run around in either Gotham City or Metropolis completing quests and side missions given to you by the various characters of the DC universe. It can easily take you several minutes to traverse either of the 2 cities, not to mention all the recognizable landsmarks such as the Superman statue, Lexcorp tower or the Batsignal. Next to that you have your faction specific zone, for the heroes that would be the Watchtower and for Villains the Hall of Doom. These hubs have all the things you’ll ever need going from vendors, mailboxes, respeccing devices to side missions. Not to mention all the DC universe characters hanging out there.

Next to all of these quests you also get your generic dungeons (called Alerts) and PvP arena’s where you compete against other players. Once you reach level 30, the level cap, you get access to the raid content which I understand is fairly limited at this point.

 In my opinion the producers of this game have captured the athmosphere of the DC universe very well. This is in part due to the great voice acting of all the celebrated voice actors like Kevin Conroy as Batman or Mark Hamill as the Joker. Granted, the voice acting of some other things like innocent bystanders, or the people you generally encounter in the game isn’t too good.
One of the other things I really like about this game is the talent tree system. Basically, you choose certain skills and traits for your characters that help you on quests and in Alerts. These trees are dependant on your chosen power and can be very fun to use. Next to that you also get to choose from Iconic Powers which is basically a power from one of the DC universe characters. For instance, you can choose Superman’s heat vision if you choose to.
The quests you get end up getting quite repetitive after a while, since it’s bascially always the same: go kill this, collect this many of x and so on. But this is, I suppose the way MMO’s are built. What will bother you more is the very console-based feel of the game menu’s. This is very manageable if you play on a PS3, but when you’re playing on the pc like I do it can get quite annoying sometimes. But, once you get used to it, it’s not so bad.
Inside the Watchtower, the heroes’ base

I have a feeling that this game will get fairly boring for a lot of people very fast. Sure, there are hidden collectibles and achievements to collect all around the world, but that isn’t something the majority of players will pursue. For these reasons I’m not sure if it’s worth paying 12 something euros a month for this game, although I’m sure more varied content will arrive in future patches.

For the fans, this will be a very very rewarding experience and certainly worth the money spent on the game, however it can get very repetitive after a while. For people who have no idea about the DC universe this will still be a decent game, but you will miss out on all the clever dialogues and things to see around the world.

Author: Niels Van Hellemont

Hi, my name is Niels and I'm a long time fan of movies, anime, comics, games and whatnot. Could say that I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the above mentioned things. I'm currently studying for a Bachelor After Bachelor in Advanced Business Management - Human Resources Management.

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