DC Universe Online, started in January was created a great buzz in the Internet with its release. As a new game in the market, it had to earn it’s place near to already successful games like City of Heroes and Champion Online. How is it turned out ? Now, that DC Universe Online adapted a Free to Play business model, maybe it’s time to see for ourselves, is it worth to play or not ?

The game is based on DC Comics, which is one of the two biggest universes in comic book history. It’s mostly based on the “old” titles, so you will find nothing from the New 52. I guess DC fans out there could decide if it’s good or bad for them. Otherwise the game is set in an alternate realty to the main DC Universe. The release video was stunning, so I recommend to see it, even if you are not drawn into the game itself.

Lex Luthor comes back from a war torn future, because after winning an open war against Earth’s heroes, and killing Superman he lost everything he gained with the victory. As it turned out, it was Braniac who manipulated the events, and took over Earth with most of it’s superpowered beings dead, he had no opposition. He created nanobots, called exobytes to create an army of superpowered soldiers, but good old Lex stole it, and it’s the main reason why this much supperpowered beings (the player characters) arrived onto the scene.

So about the game…

First of all, DC Universe Online is not an MMO in the classic sense. If you accept this you will enjoy the game much more! Sure, you have a character and you gain levels and items as you progress from quest to quest… but back on this later.

The first thing you could recognize, after downloading the 14GB client,  that the character generation is not as variable as you may seen it in other titles. You are especially lacking in costume and personalization options, so there is a good chance, you won’t be able to make your imagined look for your character. For example you have only 3 body types for a male character, with no possible adjustments. Then you could select power manually, or you cold be a “just like” character, but I felt this part somewhat off. For example a green werewolf-like creature running up on wall has nothing to do with Beast Boy in my book.

But if you get past the character generation there are many things to enjoy. The graphics are good, both cities (Gotham an Metropolis) are well made,with all well-known landmarks included. Gotham is in perpetual darkness, and Metropolis is much like the modern city as in the comics. There is voice acting for the characters all around the game, which is a big plus, even with the very varied quality of the acting. Mark Hamill as Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman are in the top grade as you may guess, but some others will cause severe brain damage, especially with the cheesy lines they have to say.

The game control is far from the typical MMO, instead you get something like you would find in a console-game with lots of combo-moves, blocks etc. While this makes the fights somewhat more intense, superpowers often takes a backseat behind straight brawling, so your clicking power is at least as much important as your character build. This could be a good thing for players who enjoy titles like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, or fast paced combat overall, but I’m not sure if it’s intented towards “typical” MMO players. I recommend a gamepad for PC players, that’s for sure.

If you look at the quest you won’t find many surprises : kill 10 of these, collect 10 of those, smash a boss and the like. You may already met these things in other MMO-s. However now you don’t beat up a random guy but Harley Quinn or Scarecrow which (at least for a comic book lover as myself) makes it much more enjoyable. You also have some races depending on your movement powers, and a very few unique quests, but overall it gets somewhat repetitive soon.

It’s practically very easy to reach the maximum level with a character (30-35 hours of play), but luckily the game have a lots of endgame possibilities from duos (previous quests in somewhat powered-up format, which you should solve with a partner) to daily quests and multi-player raids.

There are still some bugs in the game here and there, the chat is virtually useless when it’s most needed, and there is a serious lagging issue since it went F2P, but overall I think DC Universe Online is an enjoyable game, at least for short term use. The only thing I really can’t grasp or accept is the looting part… since when Superman or Wonder Woman collected new belts, hats and armor from fallen foes for personal use?

And what do we get as a free, premium or a legendary user ?

As a free player you get 2 character slots, most of the game content (except DLC packs) so it’s basically everything you need to play. You may consider to upgrade to premium account for $5, to have 6 character slots and the ability to use the voice chat. I only recommend the monthly subscription, if you already tried the game and became totally addicted to it.

You may want to check the official homepage : DC Universe Online

So, if you ready, get your capes and became a hero or villain !

Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros