DCUO Reviewlet

I’ve had a mostly enjoyable time with the low-level content. DC’s big advantage is its iconic characters; how many other MMOs get to bring IP with the heft of Superman or Batman to the table? (Even SW:TOR loses here because it is TOR.) Play is dynamic and I have enjoyed both the setting and particularly the use of significant but less popular DC villains early on.

My experience is mostly low-level Metropolis. Unlike CoX, you can fly from day one, so you get the immediate experience of soaring over rooftops. It’s soothing, and the urge to wander around and look at things is rewarded by collections and clickies scattered across the map. I have really enjoyed reaching the iconic villain at the end of each arc, both seeing them in combat and then the cut scene where the villain speaks about his/her plans, hatred, etc. The take on Grodd is centrist, neither comic nor horrific (I’ve seen both in comics), while the Doctor Psycho scene is one of the best things I have seen in-game in a while. You never knew you wanted a scene with some Wonder Woman villain you’ve probably never heard of, but it sketches the character with surprising depth in one minute, including the use of images to show things left unsaid and explain about our unreliable narrator. (This is a common problem in comic books and graphic novels: forcing the text to do all the work rather than letting the images carry their own weight.)

The gameplay is simple, basically targeting an enemy and clicking until it falls down. The simple gameplay is explained well. For anything more advanced, you’re mostly on your own, enjoy clicking through menus. You can pick things up and throw them at enemies, although I have yet to find a car I can use like that. The basic enemies are plentiful, not terribly interesting, and only present a challenge in their absurdly quick respawn timers (for all the players in the area). You get to feel like a superhero as you endlessly beat down theoretically even-con enemies.

DCUO is F2P. The main limits for not being a subscriber are (item and character) slots and a cash limit. If you spend $5, you get the medium tier with 6 character slots and some restrictions removed, so that’s going to be worth it if the game has any appeal to you at all.

: Zubon

9 thoughts on “DCUO Reviewlet”

  1. Speaking at an old DCUO vet – the combat can become more indepth, as you can chain those attacks together in different interesting ways ala fighting games.

    But it is the MMO I have enjoyed most, sadly, though – content ran out, and so did my interest.

  2. I experimented with DCUO – experimented in that I bought it on the PS3 to see what a MMO plays like on a console. I can assure you, it doesn’t fare well.

    The combat and gameplay is interesting enough, and you’re right the characters are varied and amusing, but with the PS3 version you simply cannot communicate with other players. The in-game keyboard is clunky and slow, and by the time you’ve eeked out your message the recipient is long gone.

    That said, the character creation is a lot of fun and if you view it as a big single player game where you sometimes get to team up with other non-communicative players then it will probably be worth more than the £0 you pay per month.

  3. At level 22 you unlock the bottom half of the Iconic Powers (the top half you unlock at level 10), including Super Strength, which let’s you lift up and use cars as weapons.

    1. My hero has a bad habit of going hunting for a car to steal and throw and especially dense packs of enemies outdoors. Good thing this game doesn’t have Dark Side points for detonating cars that presumably have passengers in them? But yes, this power is highly recommended.

  4. I’ve spent far more time just cruising around Metropolis reveling in the view and taking screenshots than I have actually fighting or questing. I’d recommend trying both of the other travel options, too. Super-speed and Acrobatics are both highly entertaining ways to see the city.

    The PvE is very good, for many of the reasons you outline, but I think DCUO really shines as a PvP game. I had so many great moments, while I was playing regularly, when I got into ad hoc hero vs vilain rumbles while questing or just cruising about.

    It really did have the feel of being inside a DC comic, deep in losing combat with some villain, about to be knocked out, when some hero would barrel out of the sky and send my opponent crashing back into a building and the tide would turn. So much more dynamic and involving and physical than PvP in other MMOs I’ve played, and yet almost always amusing and entertaining rather than over-exciting or upsetting (I don’t enjoy adrenaline rushes at all).

    1. I loved how City of Heroes set up 4 distinct travel powers, Flight, Super Speed (running), Super Jumping and Teleporting (once I found out about a macro that made it 2-click move). Each travel power had distinct benefits and extra bonus powers associated with it–plus after Guild Wars and a year of WoW, it was cool to be able to fly at level 6 (well, Hover, but it was a pre-req power to get true Flight at level 14)!

      Champions Online, aside from cool way to do Teleport, was a disappointment in Travel powers in that they seemed mostly cosmetic. Their Acrobatic travel power didn’t seem to have anything to offset the advantages gained by the various Flight powers or Super Leaping other than a cosmetic look. Acrobatic was akin to COH’s Ninja Run, but Ninja Run let you do cool FORWARD flips as well as backward flips unlike Acrobatic, and Ninja Run could be stacked with COH’s Fitness Leap and Run as well as every COH’s character’s built-in Sprint to create a real nice travel power. The biggest disappoint was Champions Online’s Super Speed running, unlike COH’s version which had a noticeable boost in Stealth, mobs in Champions Online would attack you left and right.

      That brought me to DCUO’s 3 travel powers, Flight, Acrobatic and Super Speed. Each one is fun in their own right and each have their advantages–but also each have boost in both horizontal AND vertical travel. Flight, well, duh. Acrobatic boosts your jumping–but you can also crawl vertical walls and even ceilings, as well as glide horizontally at a slight downward rate; tho at level 10 you get Rocket Glide so you have stable horizontal glide. Super Speed running lets you RUN up vertical walls and even upside–if you keep moving, otherwise you fall–plus you can jump while running upward to do super leaps. On top of that, they all have about a dozen extra powers unlocked at level 9 that lets you use travel powers as attacks, boosts to speed, draw thugs to you or knock them back, resist knockbacks, etc.

      I’m mixed about DCUO’s UI for pc because it uses the mouse to aim, so the normal method of getting information by clicking on an icon is replaced by keyboard commands, so you can’t hover your pointer over a UI element to get any detail about it (e.g., there seems to be no way to figure out exactly how many experience points you have). You press enter to type in a chat window, but the rest of the UI is grayed out so you can’t use your pointer then to hover over elements. Plus you HAVE to use your mouse AND keys to move your character, unless you at level 9 or higher and using one of Boosts to your Travel power that lets you auto-move, then you can use just your mouse to direct where you going.

      Also DCUO doesn’t let you move backwards. You can’t walk or run backwards nor fly backwards. If you try to walk or run backwards, your character simply turns 180 degrees and moves forward in that direction. To fly down you have to move forward and dive, but you can’t do a standard Superman move of flying downward feet-first. Weird.

      1. I still keep trying to hit the “fly down” key from CoX. OTOH, landing is surprisingly satisfying in DCUO, turning freefall into an awesome impact that can be used as an attack in the flying tree.

        1. Yeah, there’s no damage whatsover from falling in DCUO. I was totally surprised by that. It was so ingrained in me from COH and CO and WoW. I was stunned. Part of me wishes there was some to give more … edge … to the travel powers, but I gotta admit it’s liberating to leap from tall buildings in a single bound or to do a super speed run up a wall and then leap up and over for blocks at a time.

          Plus the lack of damage has helped when I’ve run smack into Solomon Grundy and been knocked for BLOCKS up and back in the air flat on my back. Owchie.

  5. I’ve been playing again, I bought it when it came out and only played for about 8 hours before getting bored and hating the controls on the PC. Now when it’s free i’m playing more with my friends (I also found the wasd setting :) )

    One thing though, my first character had flight which was fine, it felt hard to control sometimes (I still can’t figure out how to land, maybe pressing F ? )

    But my 2nd character is acrobatic, and holy cow does that give me motion sickness. I was fine the first hour or so, but then suddenly i couldn’t deal with it anymore, which is too bad because it is really cool power, and i like this character. not sure what to do

    (well actually when the S.O. gets back in town I won’t be able to play for hours, so maybe that will take care of itself :) )

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