DCU ONLINE Week Pt 4: Hands-On Impressions

DCU ONLINE Week Pt 4: Hands-On

In part one of our week long look at DC Universe Online, Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG for the PS3 and PC, Marv Wolfman told us about the story and the missions he stepped in to write for the game.

In part two of our visit to the SOE Austin Studio, we talked about the geography of the game, and some of the many locations fans will be able to visit in the virtual world.

In part three we took you through the very detailed process of how you will create a character in the game.

But how does it all come together?

Luckily, we had four hours with the game, thanks to Sony Online Entertainment flying us down to their Austin studio and putting us up.

My first DCUO Character

I started, as you do, at the beginning, creating my own unique character. I decided to go for a hero. I'm not usually someone who is very into character creation, but found myself spending an easy 35-40 minutes with this incredibly deep system. I made a slightly militaristic character, but highlighted his magical ties with the sorcerer's pants. Character creation was fun. There are some goofy names to a lot of the individual options (like a particular facial hair called "The Commander" that Star Trek: TNG fans would recognize), and so much variety, it should be relatively easy to make the new member of the DC Universe that you really want to. And that's what it really feels like; you are adding a character to the DC Universe here, not just some generic world.

From character creation, you go straight into an escape mission, where you learn the basics of your movement and abilities. Jumping straight into the fast-paced combat shows exactly what Sony Online Entertainment is trying to accomplish here. They are making an action game, a console game, a game for DC Comics fans, that happens to also be an MMORPG. Jumping into action against Brainiac's robots, firing arrows at them and bashing them with my bow, I felt right at home as an action-adventure fan.

Without getting into too much story, I chose Batman as my mentor, and thus started in Gotham City. There are tons of missions available right from the start, and each one has many side-missions you can complete. Having Oracle pop-up to brief you, having Batman do the same, interacting with Detective Bullock and Batwoman, and running through GCPD, and more, and more, it was almost overwhelming for a DC fan.

My First DCUO Character being AWESOME

The fighting is action packed, but it is definitely also RPG style. There is a strategy to it, and a fun mix of using powers alongside your weapon attacks. Experience points come pretty freely, allowing for new moves, new skills, and even movement upgrades in a rapid fashion. In my four hours, I got to level 8 with my archer, Perfect Shot. That was with a few stops and a lot of exploring Gotham just for fun, as well. And that's the thing about this game, in that four hours, I played some big missions, I completed some small objectives, and I spent some time just (literally, as I was a speedster) running around the city, exploring, and it was all fun. Boss fights were multi-stage, and just challenging enough to make you work for it, while not being so challenging (this early in the game) that you will get frustrated.

Of course, this being an MMO, I frequently ran into other heroes who were working on some of the same missions I was. This was extremely useful in completing some of the smaller objectives. Either I could focus on enemies while they helped civilians or vice-versa. it was seamless, and just like any hero running into another hero on the street. A simple, "Need a hand?" moment, a quick team-up, then we went on our separate ways.

As I said earlier, this is clearly an MMO made for the non-MMO crowd, and that's wonderful. Every fan of DC characters will find something to love here. If you're a casual fan from films and TV shows, you'll see the big characters you already know and love, and meet tons of new ones along the way. If you're a regular reader and collector, you'll get to interact with the places and people you have been reading for years, and thanks to writer Marv Wolfman and a dedicated development team, they do in fact act and sound like they do in the comics. I played it exclusively on the PS3 at this event, mostly because that was perfectly comfortable. There was never a point where I felt a need to move to a keyboard and mouse interface, away from the familiar and simple controls in my hand.

I've never been able to get into an MMORPG. I've tried a few, but usually dropped out within the first month. I can honestly say I am anxious to play more of this game, and can see it becoming a regular activity. There is so much more to explore, from group events to other areas to Player Versus Player combat and more upgrading, more customizing, and of course, more DC Characters to fight against and alongside. Having been a bit on the fence with this game in my past few chances to play it, I can now say early 2011 and beyond will have a lot of time dedicated to DC Universe Online.

What do you want to do in DCUO the most?

Twitter activity