DC Universe Online (PC)

DC Universe Online PC box
7.66 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Mechanics: 7/10
Story: 8/10

Very good super hero vibe

Console mechanics in PC game

Game Info

GAME NAME: DC Universe Online

DEVELOPER(S): Sony Online Entertainment

PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment and Warner Brothers Games



RELEASE DATE(S): Jan 11, 2011


 DC Universe Online is the latest superhero MMO to be released (January 2011) into a market already replete with City of Heroes and Champions Online. So what was developer Sony Online Entertainment – Austin thinking? Probably that they could do it better and make some nice coin while they were at it. And that is likely to be true, but City of Heroes/Villains and Champions Online are not the only MMOs in the market, and certainly not the market’s MMO gold standard. Still, in the month that I played DCUO I found it to be a game that does indeed grow on you, and, if you spend enough time experimenting, you’re very likely to find that unique mix of superpowers and skills that unlocks your own inner superhero.

DCUO has two player factions, Heroes and Villains, and irrespective of which you chose, the opening of the game begins with your character awakening on one of Braniac’s spaceships that he is using to capture and store metahumans (that’s fancy talk for superheroes). And be you villain or hero, you fight your way through the ship to a final confrontation with one of Braniac’s robot cronies. It is at this point that your faction leader shows up to help you finish the job and escape. You then find yourself transported to the first of your factions bases in Metropolis or Gotham depending on who you chose for your mentor. Gameplay then proceeds with you helping your faction by doing quests in story arcs that unfold across the cities and include such notable figures as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Lex Luthor, the Joker, Circe, and tons of other characters from the DC Universe.

In terms of input controls, you have to understand that DCUO was designed to function both on home computers and on the Playstation 3. This is significant because the controls seem tailor-made for the PS3, even on the PC version of the game. The first thing that jumped out at me was that there was no mouse cursor in the open world (it only appears in menus). Instead of this tried and true input method, players are left with a reticle with the camera tied to the player’s character. Movement is controlled by the WASD keys and all standard combat strikes are performed by clicking the mouse buttons in various combinations. So, yeah, it’ a little weird and would probably work better on the PS3. Combat related abilities are limited to the 1-6 keys on the keyboard with 7-8 being for potions or special devices. Add all this up and both combat and movement can sometimes be a bit frustrating.

The sound and video are both very good. There are tons of excellent voice-overs from Mark Hamil (as the Joker), Kevin Conroy (as Batman), and many, many others. The ambient music is quite nice and the rendering of Metropolis and Gotham are done very well, giving each city a distinctive feel while allowing for some diversity in the various sub-districts. And, speaking as someone with a level 15 hero, the heroes’ space station is massive, easy to get lost in, and amazingly rendered. There are some glitches with the graphics that need to be addressed, such as looking at your character from a certain angle and having his/her hair or other equipment disappear like a see-through layer.

In the end, I’d have to say DCUO is a surprisingly decent game, but it is no World of Warcraft. The core game mechanics are just not that highly polished. Many times, and I’ve heard this from others as well, the game just feels sluggish. It’s not the game itself that is lagging, it’s just that the mechanics, animations and input methods are not as smooth as they need to be in today’s market. Not surprisingly, I cancelled my subscription after my free month of playtime ended, but I am willing to buy a subscription card or two if I can ever find one. I give DCUO a 7.66 out of 10 and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed playing City of Heroes or Champions Online. I tend to think superhero games are for cosplayers, but if the shoe fits, you might as well go dancing. Too, there is a very real possibility that DCUO will get markedly better as Sony continues to patch the game in response to its player-base.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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