DC Universe Online: You damned dirty apes!
Introducing a new feature here at The Unplayables, the MMO Log takes a look at our adventures through the various MMO offerings available. As the usual MMO is packed with hours of content these aren’t intended to be full official reviews, but rather a chronicling of our time spent sampling the game. As Steam is offering DC Universe Online for half off this weekend I thought it would be a good time to check it out and see if its worth your subscription dollars. Read on to see a harrowing tale of heroics in the face of some seriously heinous monkey business!
Before I begin, as this is the first MMO Log for DCUO I would like to briefly cover the game and some of its mechanics. Most notably the fact that DCUO was developed both on the PC and the PS3 and the effect that has on the control scheme. When I started playing the game I was using standard mouse and keyboard however it never really felt right, the camera was floaty and difficult to control without fiddling with the options. Once I switched to using a gamepad however everything came together nicely, this is one MMO that clearly does work better on a controller and it’s strange to even think that is possible. Another main difference between DCUO and other MMOs is the combat. In DCUO combat is handled in real-time and you are given light and strong attacks in addition to your abilities, so instead of turning your auto-attack on and waiting for power cooldowns you are actively attacking while mixing in powers and abilities. Early on this does result in a lot of button mashing, however once you upgrade your attack abilities it unlocks combos such as tap x, hold x, tap x which help to mix up the combat. Overall thus far the game plays decently and has a nice action game feel to it that is refreshing from other MMOs.
Character customization was actually somewhat limited. While I only created 1 character I did look at all the options available and compared to offerings from City of Heroes and Champions Online the customization wasn’t as fully featured, however you should be able to get something you are happy with. I went with an ice based hero using staves for combat. There were multiple power sets available (Fire, Sorcery, Gadgets, etc) and you can choose your weapon (Sword, guns, fists, etc) and mobility power (Flight, super speed, etc). The hero types aren’t anything we haven’t seen in other superhero MMOs but why would you expect anything different here? You are also given the option of choosing your mentor of Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman for heroes. I went with Superman for now because I’ll probably choose Joker on my villain playthrough and wanted to see Metropolis now.
Upon creating my character I awoke on one of Brainiacs ships and must break free. This consists basically of walking down some red and orange corridors and button mashing against some robots occasionally. I did run into a giant spider-like robot that I had to hit with my stick until it stopped moving but eventually I overcame it. During these sections you are introduced to your melee and power abilities as well as environment destruction and interaction such as throwing exploding barrels at enemies to cause massive damage!
While I was only level 0 at this point (REALLY just Plain Zero!) I only had access to my one ability which increased my attack damage and reflected some damage back to my attackers. I made my way through the ship destroying more robots until I came to the boss of the ship, or at least what I assume was the boss of the ship because his health bar was bigger than everyone elses. It probably would’ve been curtains for poor Plain Zero had I not been saved at the last second by my knight in shining armor… er… red spandex underwear…
After blowing up the spaceship in true hero fashion me and Supes were treated to another animated cinematic wherein Brainiac got really mad that his technology had been stolen and used to give every average joe on the street superpowers. It’s a pretty simple story but it does its job of explaining why there are a million no-name superheroes running around town. Now that I had been rescued by Superman I guess it was time for me to be indoctrinated into the Justice League or something… Really he just dropped me off at the Metropolis Police Department… well ok thanks for nothing Superman. I guess I’ll just start at the bottom then, there seems to be plenty of crime happening JUST 20 FEET FROM THE POLICE STATION!
Since the MDP was too busy to get out and investigate I guess it was up to me. First stop, the beach next door. One thing that I really liked about DCUO was that while the MPD was a hub for vendors it’s not necessarily a quest hub. Quests are given to you over your comm link and turned in the same way, so when you end a quest or start a new one you don’t have to constantly run back and forth to the same quest giver. All that aside I had bigger problems on my hand, it appears a bunch of monkeys had taken over the city and were quickly de-evolving the local citizens into apes! How are these taxpayers supposed to vote if they’re busy eating bananas and flinging poo around?! Clearly this was a job for newest Justice League applicant PLAIN ZERO!
I decided the best way to get to the bottom of this dastardly plot was to punch every monkey in the face! Or at least 10 to 15 of each monkey type. I also made sure to shut down no more nor less than 10 of their monkey de-evolving chambers. Sure I left a ton of them lying about, but you gotta leave some for the other heroes I guess… The streets had become overrun with these hairy apes and it was up to me to find out who was behind it. While I was out hitting the pavement and doling out most UN-ape law justice I guess Superman was watching over me as he’d already figured out exactly what was going on and even had Flash already at Gorilla Grodds hideout (That guy really IS fast!)
I headed over to Gorilla Grodds (I guess I really should’ve figured out he was behind this sooner…)
fortress hideout generic warehouse and proceeded to head inside. Grodd set up a series of empty hallways to throw me off the track but I knew Flash was in here somewhere. I asked the local guards if they had seen him but they didn’t seem interested in helping me. After a few smacks with my staff they seemed to come around to my way of thinking. They informed me Flash was being held at the end of these corridors… probably should’ve seen that coming. I continued on my travels and finally found Flash had been captured… not very impressed with the fastest man alive already. I destroyed the nearest computer I could find and freed Flash (My Justice League application is a shoe in now!)
Of course Gorilla Grodd was standing just 20 feet away while I did all of this, though he didn’t seem to mind that I was freeing Flash, once I had done it he got REALLY pissed off… Well, there’s just one of him and two of us so it shouldn’t be too difficult really. That’s when the rest of the gorilla minions came running into the room. Well then, guess it was time to combine our powers and take these guys back to the zoo. Or I could just beat them all up alone while Flash just kind of ran around the room a lot not doing much… man these Justice League guys are kind of overrated…
Once his minions had been taken care of it was time to face off with Gorilla Grodd himself. At least this time Flash decided to give me a hand. Grodd was a formidable opponent but with Flash there to get his attention I was able to attack when he wasn’t paying attention and get in some decent damage on him. The fight was actually pretty easy since Grodd didn’t seem to be interested in me, but who could blame him I barely have a name! Of course he had a very large health bar (He is a boss of bosses so it should be EXTRA big) but it seemed like maybe Flash could’ve sped things up and done a little more damage…
Eventually we were able to wear down the big hairy gorilla, but not before he just ran off and escaped. I guess there are some things even Flash isn’t fast enough to stop… like a giant gorilla slowly lumbering out of his hideout… hmmm. Will have to inform Superman this may have been an inside job and to keep an eye on Flash. With Gorilla Grodd on the run Flash saw little reason to continue hanging out with me and ran off through a teleporter. I followed through and was deposited back outside to the streets of Metropolis where Superman congratulated me on my work (Thanks Supes) and told me to stop by MPD as Flash wanted to thank me personally.
Even though I defeated Gorilla Grodd the streets were still swarming with de-evolved gorillas… odd I thought, but I had bigger fish to fry because I am a Justice League Applicant Level 6 now! I flew over to the MPD as quickly as I could to see what Flash had to say to me (Maybe he wanted to bring me in on his scheme… or he knew I was figuring it out and wanted me eliminated…). I found Flash in the locker room checking his e-mails. Thankfully he didn’t kill me but gave me a cool new jacket to wear! Thanks Flash, maybe I was wrong about that guy after all.
With Gorilla Grodd on the run and some less than level 6 heroes out there to clean up the rest of the gorilla menace I think the city of Metropolis is once again safe for now!