I may be in the minority here but I for one have been waiting for a MMO to come to the consoles for quite sometime. I know I am in the minority when I say that one of my fondest memories of playing MMO’s was Everquest Online Adventures on the PS2. Sure it had some major problems but I am one that has always preferred to play video games from the comfort of my couch rather then my office chair. So when I heard that SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) was coming out with a cross platform release of DC Universe Online (DCUO) for the PS3 and PC I was excited. So does DC Universe Online have what it takes to bring a worthwhile MMO to the PS3? Read our full review to find out.
As much as I have looked forward to having an MMO come to the PS3 I was adversely looking forward to writing a review on a console MMO. Having reviewed several MMO’s in the last decade it is by far the toughest genre to review. You will undoubtedly have some month or two jitters that happen to all new MMO’s and there is still this “feeling out” process that takes a lot longer with an MMO then say a 10 hour single player action game. Regardless I have sunk a ton of time into DC Universe and feel confident that I have gotten enough out of the game to get a proper read on it.
The game couldn’t start off any stronger with an awesome creation tool that allows you to build you own superhero. There are some templates or you can just go at it on your own and create one from scratch. And like in any MMO depending on which side you choose you will either start in Gotham or Metropolis. The fact of the matter is if I was rating DCUO on first impressions alone this would be an epic MMO because the first few hours are actually really entertaining.
We heard countless times during the development of DCUO that grinding is not a part of this game which is sort of the truth but in a lot of ways the game manages to just put repetition at the forefront of the games design. Once you get past the “awe” factor of the first few hours of taking in Gotham or Metropolis you start to realize how thin the experience begins to be. Most if not all of the quests are classic MMO quests where you get something or take down some villain. Where I think the developers missed the mark the most is not even giving you the chance to care about what is going on. They have a license which allows them a vast library of characters and back stories to enjoy.
Control wise DC Universe is a mixed bag. Movement is actually pretty good and outside of lag is actually impressive for such a vast game. Where things can really get a bit wonky is in the combat which can be good and awful within the same sitting. Lag is still a noticeable issue especially the further you get in the game and the more complicated the combos start to become. To me the idea of having an action style MMO is excellent but in order to do this lag cannot be apart of the equation and although it isn’t a constant problem it is there. The other big issue is that since you have to do what PC gamers are using a keyboard to do on a PS3 Controller things can be a bit over complicated. There are also some design flaws that make things more difficult then they need to be. Needless to say there is a big learning curve that your not necessarily helped to learn how to use in this game.
That’s another big issue I had with DC Universe Online is that it really does little to nothing to help you get in it. My wife who is a casual gamer quickly became frustrated when she had little clue what to do following the character creation. This holds throughout the entire game where you’re left to fend for yourself and figure it out on your own.
I may seem like I am slamming on DC Universe Online and in some ways I am but I should say that for many areas of the game that there is a lot to be impressed with. Although the game doesn’t hold your hand and guide you on how to use the controls you have to be impressed by how much they were able to cram in. There is also a lot of content plopped into the 30 level cap that the developers created. Although not all of it is unique it is quite a bit of stuff to do in DCUO.
Most of the time MMO’s are not visual powerhouses, and DCUO is no different. There are some really incredible areas of both Gotham and Metropolis and the initial sequences of both areas are great. Of course like any MMO its not going to match up with offline games on the PS3 however its actually one of the stronger areas of the game. I had some serious lag issues the first few days but it seemed to get better as the weeks went on.
The initial talk on DCUO was that this was going to be an MMO without having that “grinding” that is almost always associated with an MMO. However although there isn’t necessarily grinding in the same way that we have seen before there is still far to much repetition in DCUO. In fact one of my big issues is that the brief cameos of some of the bigger names in the DC universe really aren’t enough to keep you interested. I have said it already but bears repeating that the developers have yet to really tap into the license that they are using which could really help in those mid levels of the game.
As much as I wanted to get into DCUO there was nothing about it that made want to continue to throw down the monthly fees after the initial 30 day trial. There is some obvious potential in this game but at the time of this review there is not enough here to warrant the price of entry.