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Superheroes… everybody loves ’em. Well, except Supervillains but in a game like DC Universe Online you get to be whichever you like.

Sony Online Entertainment unleashed DC Universe Online onto the world with the promise of finally being able to live out your fantasy of being a Superhero/villain in one of the worlds most beloved fictional universes.

We put some brightly coloured underwear over our ski-pants (and an extra pair on our head just to be safe) and ventured forth to fight for truth, justice and the Lazygamer way.

[ For full transparency I would just like to make it clear that due to the nature of MMO games, it is virtually an unending experience so I played the game for roughly 25 hours with my highest character level reaching lvl. 14 ]

DC Universe online carries with it a clever little story that pretty much explains why a world could possibly be filled with super-powered men and woman. In the end times, the good guys lost, Lex off-ed Superman – but only in time for Brainiac to rock up and destroy the world as we know it.

Due to this rather bleak outcome, Lex Luthor travels back in time to warn Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman about the future events and how they can prevent them. Utilizing these little Brainiac thingamajigs containing the essence of superpowers (or something like that) he unleashes powers onto the people of Earth, which means a whole lot of new superheroes for Supes, the Bat and WonderBetty to train up and prepare for the future.

As with any MMO, the experience begins with you creating your character. Instead of the usual method of picking a class, you are asked questions such as if you are a hero or villain, who your mentor is and then your more typical choices such as if you want to use fire, ice, magic, gadgets and so on.

The fun part then begins when you get to create what your Superhero looks like with options like gender, size, stances and then a wide arrange of outfits, belts, masks, hoods… you can really get creative here and it’s actually very seldom that you will see similar looking heroes running around in the game, save for those who have tried to mimic an already existing character.

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That’s my hero Falkirk on the left, and a friends hero Red Snow on the right. Lookin’ slick.

Fans of comics and especially the DC Universe will definitely get an added kick out of DCUO as they finally become a part of a world that they love so dearly. I loved my created Superhero so much that I have already gotten my talented friends to start sketching me up some artworks of him to mess around with.

Once all that is done, and you have your aptly named Captain Underpants ready to go, you are thrown into a solo introductory level to get you used to things, and then after that begin in either Metropolis or Gotham depending on who you chose as your mentor.

The two cities are absolutely massive and are traversed using nothing more than your characters superpowers, which is a choice of flight, superspeed or acrobatics. In them you will use the many police stations as headquarters/safehouses where you can do things like meet major characters for important missions or trade/sell/repair items and so on.

Missions are plentiful and can be obtained by anything from major superheroes in the storyline, or just running into people in the streets that require assistance.

One of the major issues with MMO titles is that missions tend to become grind-fests that usually revolve around going somewhere, killing a certain amount of a specific enemy type and bringing back a certain amount of a certain item. This problem is still unfortunately quite present in DCUO, with many of the missions. Besides “boss missions” which will have you and your group in their own instance inside some sort of closed off area as well as legends modes where you can play as famous characters, most of the missions take place in the cities themselves.

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The real fun of an MMO is, of course, hooking up with other people and friends and then battling alongside each other. Playing alone or alongside random other heroes who are on the same mission as you can be decent, but its no understatement to say that the fun-factor of the game multiplies significantly when playing with your friends working together and chatting away (later in the game you can also create leagues similar to what guilds would be in other MMOs).

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The game plays out a little like a third-person action/adventure, which has you mashing on your attack buttons or doing specific combos (like tap, tap. hold) but then also using combinations of face buttons and triggers to utilize your awesome powers that you unlock as you level up. It has a fun feel to it, but can still wear really thin after killing number 15 of 20 specific enemies you are busy with.

Being a superhero isn’t just about beating up some baddies though. As mentioned earlier, you are given the option of flight, superspeed or acrobatics and its with these powers that you might find yourself having a lot of fun as a your cruise around from mission to mission. Just as with your combat skills and powers, you are also able to make your way through upgrade trees that affect movement as well. Begin with a speedster and you will have the option of running fast (even up walls and across water) but hit level 9 and you can start upgrading your character to run at one hell of a pace or double-jump over great distances.

SOE has done a good job of creating a control scheme that works on the Playstation 3, however the menus are more than a chore for the most part. Bringing up the main menu is sluggish and even opening sections or switching tabs can be a cumbersome activity that really brings the experience down overall. Later levels also open up the options to create leagues as well as participate in Player vs Player events as well as raids but again, it’s all a little clumsy.

Visually, the game won’t blow you away but that’s to be expected considering that it’s an open world MMO. Still, thanks to the comic-like art style, it mostly gets away with it and especially looks pretty when cruising around the dark and sinister looking skyline of Gotham City however there are a few issues with character elements and accessories popping in and out.

There are also a couple of technical issues and some bugs that still hamper the game well after release. We ran into issues that ranged from sound effects completely disappearing after a while to issues with menus getting stuck, or not being navigable.

Also, it must be noted that your internet line will need to be fairly decent as issues tend to arise from lower line speeds. If your line speed is slow you will have problems where damage takes seconds to register on opponents, and sometimes the lag is so bad that you are fighting opponents that aren’t there but have already been defeated by other players. This happens due to the fact that the game only streams elements over the internet when needed. For capped users, we are also not fully aware of how much the bandwidth usage is.

Last Updated: February 8, 2011

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DC Universe Online
Summary
7.8

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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