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DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: PS3, PC - January 11, 2011; PS4 - November 15, 2013; Nintendo Switch - August 6, 2019

Synopsis: DC Universe Online brings high-energy action to the forefront with a combat system designed to deliver a fast-paced action experience with the extraordinary powers of DC Super Heroes and Villains at your disposal. DCUO offers a dramatic online setting where players battle with or against their favorite DC Super Heroes and Villains including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Joker. For the very first time, players and fans will be able to enter this fabled world as an active force for good or evil. The action and drama will play out in such well-known locations such as Gotham City and Metropolis.

We join our hero perched atop a granite gargoyle high above the city of Gotham. His eyes squint as he monitors the streets below, searching for crooked criminal conduct. From afar, he hears the alarm from Gotham National Bank and he dives from the darkness into the illumination of the streets. He soars through the canyon of skyscrapers, hearing the buzz of the citizens below that he has chosen to protect. He sees the bank is only a block away - just then a burst of red passes him to join in the fray. As the two heroes approach the crime scene, they hear the creepy cackling of The Joker. This will not be a run-of-the-mill fight for justice, but then again - what is, in the DC Universe?

Key Features: Immerse yourself in the intensity that is played out in a carefully detailed 3D world that spans the entire DC Universe with locations such as Gotham City and Metropolis. Create your own custom hero or villain and then embark on story-driven adventures that have been written by famous DC writers. Will you choose to don the cape and mask to fight for good - or are your intentions more sinister?

- Battle with or against your favorite DC Comics heroes and villains, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Joker;
- Live out the action and drama in detailed, well-known locations such as Gotham City and Metropolis;
- Experience the intensity of the DC Universe in a 3D art style designed by legendary comic book artist Jim Lee;
- Take on story-driven adventures created by DC writers;
- Extreme customization lets you construct your own hero or villain;
- Use the environment to your advantage with the state-of-the-art physics engine that turns the world into your weapon;
- 30-day subscription included; Internet connection and additional recurring subscription fees are required to play

Scroll past the review for more images and a selection of trailers!

DC Universe Online Review
By James Harvey

Giving players an opportunity to fight alongside some of the biggest heroes in the DC Comics universe, DC Universe Online is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) where you can do battle against the worst and team up with the best. With thousands of others players taking part, all decked out in their own costumes and allegiances to their own hero or villain, this hefty effort from DC Comics and Sony Online Entertainment ends up being a fun piece of wish-fulfilment for fans of the best superhero universe around, even if it's not entirely perfect.

Following a devastating battle where both the heroes and villains of Earth have nearly decimated each other (which you'll see play out in an incredible CGI opening sequence, which you can watch in the player below the review), with the Justice League and the remainder of the planet's heroes in tatters at best, the sudden appearance of Brainiac threatens to end all life on the planet. Lex Luthor, realizing the world is doomed, travels back in time to warn the Justice League of the upcoming apocalypse and releases exobytes all over the world. These exobytes gift thousands of individuals with random super powers, giving them the opportunity to fight against Brainiac and his seemingly unending robot army.

DC Universe Online kicks off from there, with players quickly greeted with the character creator menu, which offers up a solid amount of customization options. Players also have the option of using their favorite characters as somewhat of a template for design choices, which is a neat idea but might restrict optimization. It's worth noting that choices made in the customization process will influence some of the characters from the DC Universe players will meet and locations they'll frequent on their adventures. Spending the time here in order to tailor your character is worthwhile, especially since it could impact the outcome on some play aspects.

While not as extensive as regular MMO players are likely expecting, there's still a good amount of character-building options, but it's not consistent across the board (colors can be limited for certain costume items but weirdly not others, for example) and that can get frustrating at times, but it's not a major hindrance. Still, before you know it, and after a brisk tutorial, players are on the street and ready to begin. Given how huge and far away some events and battles can be, it's nice that character choices have skills to make that travelling a little easier.

And picking up to play is actually fairly slick, especially if you're familiar with MMOs, but new players should be able to pick up things pretty well. Naturally, as with any new game, expect some growing pains and maybe annoyance along the way. Players will need to figure out what type of character they want to play as and how to manage and use abilities - not just to master for themselves, but also for their role in any group events. Depending on your role, iut's fairly quick to intuit when is the optimal time to heal, recharge powers, use certain abilities - typical MMO/RPG stuff. However, DC Universe Online approaches battles a little different, focusing more on leveling and third-person action as opposed to crafting and queues (which actually may be more attractive to new players than seasoned vets).

In terms of what players will be facing, quests in DC Universe Online are split between a host of smaller missions, which will usually require you to face off against a name DC Universe character in a specific part of the map, but only after taking out a few lower-level thugs and hopefully picking up some good material. These are usually enjoyable scuffles, and they do a good job of putting you into this iteration of the DC Universe, but they can feel a little repetitive after awhile. There are plenty of collectibles scattered about to help keep players occupied and break up the raid routine. They're easy to spot but they're always pretty well hidden about, so while players may need to put in a little legwork, they're not obnoxiously difficult to obtain. Comic book fans will especially enjoy grabbing them, as most provide neat insight into the four-color origins of some of DC Comics' best and brightest.

Naturally, some of these fights will be more difficult than others, especially if you find yourself in iconic locations from the DC Universe. Being sent to a location like Bludhaven or Smallville means that players should expect a more challenging fight of varying degrees. Loot for these battles is, naturally, much better and fairly rewarding. There is also loot that will be key in helping with progression, regardless of character type, so players will need to keep an attentive eye out. It's clear this will be an important aspect in being able to successfully execute future raids and battles, both as players move ahead and new content is released by Sony.

And with the variety of powers, skills and mentors to choose fun, and good customization, there's plenty here to keep players from getting bored. And, even if a player opts to restart with a new character and skill set, the abilities to create drastically different combos help keep the repetitiveness at bay, for the most part, when covering the same ground over and over. Level progress is fairly paced, so most should be able to avoid any major fatigue. That will vary from player to player, of course, with seasoned pros at a bigger chance of succumbing to boredom as opposed to fresh faces to the genre. It's worth noting that the game does offer the ability to play as some of your favorite DC Comics characters via its PVP mode, which can keep play fresh.

Visually, comic fans will dig DC Universe Online since it is very clearly inspired from the four-color page of whence these of these heroes were born. Colors, graphics looked ripped straight from the latest issue of Action Comics or Batman, and they look pretty fantastic on the PS3. Granted, pop-in is fairly common but not unexpected, with only controls really taking a hit with slight delays between selecting and executing most actions. Continuing with that thought, menu navigation can also be shade tricky as occasionally menus are either slow to load, don't register selections and occasionally close without prompts. Naturally, some of this can be chalked up to bugs that will be ironed out in future patches.

In terms of the vocal performances in DC Universe Online, out of the gate, hearing Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their respective roles as Batman and The Joker is a total joy. Overall, voice acting may not be strong across the board, but major characters are handled well for the most part. That said, some of the minor roles or canned bits of dialogue could've been performed and handled better.

The good here thankfully does a fine job outweighing out the bad, as the bad comes more from technical issues than anything story, graphics or character-based. In addition to the bugs mentioned above, players can expect to run into issues like sound glitches, power commands that don't properly execute, some non-responsive NPCs and terrain bugs. Naturally, this is almost to be expected in a game just getting off the ground, so it's safe to assume these will be addressed quickly. It's disappointing to see, but nothing game-breaking (for now).

Even with its issues, DC Universe Online is off to a fine start and is a solid MMO for players to jump into, especially for the long-time fans of the best universe in comics. It's got a lot going for it, such as a dense universe filled with characters and locations, some excellent voice actors, great settings and atmosphere, and fun action-based combat. Sadly, it also does come with a few problems that need to be addressed, Still, getting a game like this on a gaming console is pretty impressive, bugs and all, but it will definitely need help and proper support to thrive. More variety and consistent content will be key in this game surviving for the long-haul, unquestionably, but what's here forms a strong base for the future. Recommended to Check Out!

Review written in 2011.

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