Chad's DC Universe Online Impressions, Part 1

by: Chad -
One of the biggest MMOs to come out in a long time is nearly upon us, DC Universe Online.  GamingNexus was given a chance to check out the closed beta and I'm able to play it on my PC.  It took a while to download the 12GB (or more after two patches) game and I was anxious to play as soon as possible.  Right from the beginning I was pulled into the story of the game.  Players are treated with an excellent opening cinematic complete with a large-scale superhero battle and even time travel.  It sets up the mythology of DCUO well and even explains why anyone can become a superhero.

Character creation takes a while because the customization options are so robust.  I'm not kidding - I probably spent 15-20 minutes just looking through all of my options.  You'll be able to choose sex, stature, skin type (rock, metal, feline, etc), and even the colors of nearly every item on your character.  This is before choosing your combat style, method of quick travel, and mentor.  Like I said, it's robust.

If you feel a little lost and aren't sure where to begin, DCUO has a neat "similar to" feature that allows you to base your own character off of a well-know DC figure.  I found it especially entertaining to see female versions of Joker, Mr. Freeze and Green Arrow.  I decided to go with a man made of metal with a flowing cape.  The only part of the process that wasn't enjoyable was having to scroll through all of the options; I'm surprised that the buttons for each selection are so large. They make all of the lists needlessly long.  I'm sure it's a personal preference, though.

After locking in your character, DCUO immediately throws you into action.  You are stuck on an enemy space ship and must find a way off of the ship to get back to earth.  I found the introduction to combat very clear and understandable.  The left mouse button is a basic quick attack and the right button is a stronger attack.  Special abilities get assigned to the number keys like many other "hot bar" style game.   Destroying enemies leads to loot in the form of glowing holographic spheres on the ground.  You can either run up to them to collect or press one button and they'll all be drawn to you. 

To be honest, I was surprised that I had to be so involved with the battles.  Maybe it's because EverQuest and Anarchy Online are the two MMOs that I've spent the most time with in the past.  There is no auto attack here.  Expect to be clicking a lot through your battles (unless you use a controller) but I found it refreshing instead of taxing.  The environment was fairly interactive, too - barrels can be picked up and tossed at enemies and computer stations that could be destroyed.  

Before too long, I'd say 8-10 minutes of playing, I was through the ship to a final area.  After a mini-boss, the iconic Man of Steel showed up to assist in my escape.  We were whisked away to Earth and I found myself in a police station in Gotham City.  It all happened so fast that I was glad for a safe zone that would allow me to take a breather.  

[My impressions will continue in a later post.]
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