Apr 9, 2012

DC Universe Online Thoughts

Recently I have decided to start delving into the vast majority of free to play MMOs out there, because hey why not, the barrier of entry is hard drive space.

First one I wanted to try out, especially given how much I have loved the New 52, was DC Universe Online. And I must say it is way better than I thought it would be. Most Superhero MMOs focus on character creation and then fall apart once you hit the actual game. Crafting systems are complicated and there are issues with loot, as most of it is non-visible so it doesn't conflict with the hours you could put into the character creation system. DC sides steps that by having a pretty decent starting point for wardrobe options and then giving items art that you can modify based on what you want to look like. Love what you created to begin with? Lock it so you can equip the better statistic items and still look like the character you created.

My big love though comes with the fact that I can play it with a controller. While it is a bit cumbersome to navigate the menus on a controller, the combat feels like I am playing God of War instead of yet another World of Warcraft knock off. The combo system of mixing light and heavy attacks with holds and taps gives great depth, especially when the leveling system doesn't just increase your action bar style powers, but also what combos you can perform. Only having 6 abilities on your action bar allow a greater variety in play style in addition to the light-heavy style brawler. Add two different kind of power trees to draw from means selecting the same power style from your friend doesn't lock you into playing the same way. With a handful of brawling styles and power styles each character feels different while being able to compete freely without sweeping changes to certain abilities.

The questing system is quite linear, but it doesn't feel like it is forcing your hand. Every quest line is around a series of six quests that culminate in a small solo instance where you get to combat a unique DC character while teaming up with an ally to help bring the pain. Fighting Bane with the aid of Nightwing feels satisfying, and the precursor quests build up a mini arc that fits like a puzzle piece into the bigger picture. It really makes you feel like a hero, or a villain, when you get to finish these mission, and completion honestly felt like I was making progress into a bigger world.

Now that I have hit max level I am ready to continue my adventures as a hero and try to level a villain as well. The game is overall solid, but could use just a bit more polish, specifically in the interface and endgame progression department. But until then, I am content beating up baddies while under the light of the Batsignal.