To a die hard comic book fan, DC Universe Online may seem like the Holy Grail of video-games. The ability to create a character, choose their powers, weapons, fighting style, and even customize your own superhero costume, before going out into thebig bad world and fighting alongside and against a host of your favourite superheroes and villains, could seem like the pinnacle of enjoyment. However to the casual gamer DCUO is button-mashing MMORPG that is mediocre at best.
You can find DCUO in the PSN Store, and download it for free, so you might as well give it a try I suppose. That is if you can stand the excrutiating download time. I’m gonna make a point here that absolutely nothing in the next sentence is exaggerated. After downloading and installing from the PSN Store, I then had to wait nine and a half hours for the game data to download, and then a further three to four minutes of black-screen, where I thought the game was broken or had crashed, before I was taken to the first menu screen. Whilst this doesn’t impact the quality of the game itself, it’s certainly something worth thinking about.
After waiting so long, when the game actually got started I really wanted to enjoy it. I made my character, I watched my origin story (sort of), and it started off looking pretty good. Then I started playing. Within the first five minutes you can see pretty much everything the game has to offer. You’ll be travelling from area to area, beating up hordes of cookie cutter enemies and levelling up every now and again to unlock and upgrade your abilities.
The combat starts to open out a little when you unlock new abilities and really start to customize your fighting style, but most of the time you’ll just be mashing that one button to pound on everyone.
For people who have played an MMO before, it’s only what’s to be expected, but for people looking for a varied action game, you might be better looking somewhere else. It’s hard not to make comparisons to games like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, as you are essentially doing the same thing, yet I couldn’t help but feel like M:UA did it better.
Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some highs here. Levelling up is satisfying, some of the boss fights are pretty fun, and the main hub is fantastic. This is a large room where you can run around, looking at all the other players who are online and in the hub with you. Considering the high levels of customization when creating your character, it’s interesting to see some of the heroes and villains that other players have made. It’s just a shame that there is very little interaction to be had with these characters.
Also, the inclusion of well known characters from the DC Universe make the game feel more authentic than other games in this vein. Take X Men: Destiny for example, which was a colossal let down, featured very few actual X-Men references beyond the fact that you’re a mutant. DCUO is brimming with iconic heroes and villains, that really make you feel involved in this world.
DCUO is an MMO that does what an MMO should do. For people who enjoy these sorts of games, or just want to make your own DC character and pretend you’re a genuine part of the canon, this could be quite enjoyable. For everyone else, it might be worth a try, purely because it’s free! Just so long as you can find a way to otherwise occupy yourself for nine and a half hours...