I now have a full week of DC Universe Online under my belt and my character is at level 18. I’m still enjoying the game, but most of the same doubts remain from my first weekend in DCUO. A few other aspects of the game have been bugging me as well. Let’s go through the list in my rolling (not a) review of DCUO.
Voice Acting — DCUO’s voice acting is irritatingly inconsistent. There are some marvelous performance from Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (The Joker), and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) — voice actors with fantastic track records. Then there are disappointing performances from Dwight Schultz (The Flash) and Tracy Bush (Booster Gold). Frankly…they suck. The Flash sounds like a nob and Booster sounds like an even bigger nob.
Sure, I understand that Booster Gold hasn’t always been the best hero in the DC Universe. He’s attempted (and failed at) numerous get-rich-quick schemes and sold out his image for things like toothpaste commercials. Still, he has saved lives and the world on numerous occasions. His voice work in DCUO just makes him sound like a complete tool. I really, truly hate it.
Rescue Me! — The game’s scripted missions have been the same after 18 levels. It’s a lot of find X, beat up Y, and defeat boss Z. I’m still enjoying it, but there’s a recurring theme in these missions that’s really starting to bug me — a hero always needs rescuing. I’ve had to bail out Raven, Batwoman, Robin, Nightwing, Supergirl, Wonder Girl, and several other heroes that I can’t remember. In the comics they’re extremely capable beings. In DCUO, they can’t walk for more than 50 feet without getting kidnapped.
As a comic book fan, it’s off-putting. I’m supposed to be a new hero that’s still learning the ropes. The people I’ve saved are established characters that have pulled of marvelous feats time and time again. A scrub like me is supposed to be bailing them out?!? This would have made sense later in the game (maybe level 20?). Perhaps the writers could have used several of DC’s damsels in distress for the early portions. For example, it would have made more sense to me if The Flash needed my help saving his wife Linda Park while he was being assaulted by Gorilla Grodd.
Diversity — I spent some time doing “Wanted” missions, tackling really powerful villains that are impossible to take down alone. Teaming up with others to down Solomon Grundy and Bizarro was a real kick. The first time I did it was a complete accident. I was randomly running around Metropolis (at super speed) and saw four heroes beating on Bizarro. Naturally, I stopped to help. He was almost defeated by the time I got there, so I got a ton of experience for a minute of fighting. In my experience, you can always count on randomly passing heroes to stop and chip in.
The group missions I’ve tackled were fun too. Teaming up as a group of four, our party received various orders from Martian Manhunter. It was basically defeat X and gather item Y over and over again, but it was fun completing the task with strangers at various levels.
This week I plan on doing more PvP missions. Hopefully my character is ready for the challenge.
Still Fun? — Yeah, I’m still enjoying the game, especially when I get to team up with my friends. I’m still marking out when different heroes and villains make appearances in my adventures. I love earning and finding new gear that makes my hero even more powerful. But, I’m still not sure I want to play for more than the 30-day trial. I have an aching suspicion that the repetitive mission structure will bore me and the novelty of the cameos will wear off. Let’s see how it goes after another week!
As always, if you have any questions about my experience with DCUO, please leave a comment. If you’d like to play with me — and it would be way more fun if you did — I’m “RPad TV” on the Crisis server.