So I finally started DC Universe Online over the weekend. It’s been an interesting experience so far. I’m glad that the game comes with a 30-day trial because I’m still not sure if it’s enjoyable enough to play it for more than that. Certainly I had fun with the game, but it has odd quirks and frustrating aspects. Here are my initial impressions — not a review! — of DCUO.
Character Creation — For my first character, I chose a hero on the Crisis server. A few of my friends are playing as villains, but I can’t bring myself to play that way. My character is a bow-wielding gadget-using super-speedster hero that’s mentored by Batman. The choices were perfect, since they allowed me to pay tribute to three of my favorite comic-book characters — Nightwing, The Flash (Wally West), and Arsenal. From a stats and characteristics perspective, creating a character in DCUO is simple and straightfoward.
I didn’t do too much in the way of customizing my hero’s physical appearance because…well, I kind of suck at it. I was able to quickly put together a character that looked acceptable through the game’s various templates. I was envious of dozens of the characters I saw online. With the customization tools, players made accurate versions of Marvel characters (saw an awesome Thor), videogame characters (loved the Ezio Auditore I encountered), and more. If you’re into creating facsimiles of your favorite characters from other worlds, DCUO appears to have powerful tools that let you do so.
Going Solo — For my first few quests, I went on solo mission. Everything I’ve encountered so far (I’m at level nine) is simple. I was repeatedly tasked with going to location X, beating up a certain amount of minion Y, and gathering a certain amount of object Z. After several minutes of hunting and gathering, I fought a boss. The gameplay template is super simple so far and would probably be a tad dull if it weren’t for all the awesome cameos. Encountering different DC Universe heroes and villains totally makes the quests. I love conversing with and taking orders from Batman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, etc.
What I don’t know is if it will remain interesting after several more hours. Will the mission structures get more complex? Will the cameos lose their charm? That remains to be seen. I should have a better idea after playing more of the game this week.
Forming Alliances — Playing the game with a friend is much easier and way more fun. Unfortunately, it’s also rather aimless and unorganized — at least in my experience. I tried several times with several parties to get voice chat to work. For various reasons, it just wasn’t happening. This made group questing a bit difficult. Typing on a gamepad is never fun, so my friends and I resorted to using AIM. Having to switch betwen my Dual Shock and my Google Chrome Cr-48 was a little annoying and made for a disjointed experience.
I have a call in to Sony Online Entertainment to see what the voice chat issues are. There’s a chance that my friends and I were trying to do it wrong. Still, something like this should be easy to use. The game would be much better, easier, and more fun with voice chat.
The Verdict So Far — I like the game so far, but I’m not sure it will hold my attention. I’m hoping that the quests become more complex and diverse. I’m really hoping that there’s a solution for my voice-chat woes. As it stands now, I’m not certain that I’ll play the game beyond the 30-day trial.
As always, let me know if you have any questions about DCUO. If you’re interested in playing with me, I’m “RPad TV” on Crisis. Super Buddies unite!!!