DC universe online beta impressions

Posted: January 7, 2011 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

The beta for Sony online entertainment’s big time super hero mmo, DC Universe online has come to a close and it’s time to share my thoughts. Was it worthy enough to fly with Superman or not fit enough to lick Bizarro’s boots?

After watching the awesome opening cinema which has the good guys and bad guys duking it out in the near future, you are sent to the pretty robust character creator. From here you’ll chose what gender you are, what your powers are and customize your costume and gear. You also get to chose who your mentor will be. Your missions will vary depending on who you pick to side with. You can side with Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman on the good side and Lex Luthor, Joker or Circe on the bad side. Although you will do missions for various heroes or villains, the majority of them will come from the person who is your mentor.

There are a lot of missions available in the beta but they mostly all involved you going to point X to beat the snot out of your enemies. The combat is very different than your standard mmo. In a typical mmo, your character just attacks on his/her own after you select attack but in DCUO, you control every single attack that your character does in real time. This game plays like a beat em up and it definitely makes the battles more entertaining and makes you feel more involved. You can unleash your super moves by holding either of the shoulder buttons down and pressing one of the face buttons. Another neat thing is that you can actually block attacks. There was no counter attack that I know of but having a block button in there was pretty cool in and of itself.

Your missions take place in either Gotham city or Metropolis. Each individual city was huge and definitely rivaled any Grand theft auto game in terms of city size. You can also enter the Justice league of America Watchtower or the Legion of Doom headquarters. Both of these bases were monstrously huge and I got lost plenty of times. Luckily there is a map where you can set a waypoint but even then you will still get lost in these two places. Traversal throughout either of the cities or the bases differs depending on what you chose as your mode of travel. You can either fly, run at super speed or be an acrobat. My least favorite was acrobat. Yeah it’s cool to be able to climb any surface and run kinda fast but it felt like a watered down version of being a speedster. Speedsters (as you can guess) are able to run really fast but on top of that they can run up the sides of buildings and run on water. Also if you are running up the side of a bulding and then jump you can cover even greater distances. The animation of your character moving their arms and legs around as they fall to the ground after a huge jump is pretty fun. As great as the speeders are, even they pale in comparison to the fliers. This was one of the few games where flying feels authentic. I really liked the way that the flight controls were implemented and how you felt in complete control of where you wanted to fly to.

What wasn’t so smooth was the way that the game ran. I haven’t had these many crashes in a game since I played Fallout 3. It was really frustrating to be in the middle of a mission and then have everything freeze on you. I know that this was a beta but it was ridiculous. The game mostly froze on me when I would engage my super speed or flight powers. Considering that this is a game about super people this made the crashes even worse.

This game was obviously made to be played by more than one person. You can handle the first few missions on your own but after you reach level 8 or so, you would need to team up with others just to survive. Yeah, I know it’s an mmo but it would have been good to have the option to go at it alone. My friends and I have different schedules so it was kind of hard to get together sometimes. Normally I would not complain about not being able to play alone in an mmo but considering that Bioware’s upcoming mmo, Star Wars: The old republic can be played alone from beginning to end, I would have liked for DCUO to have had this option. Again, this was a beta so perhaps the real game will give you the option to go solo.

Being that this is an mmo the graphics were not spectacular but they were still pretty good. The characters were designed by artist extraordinaire Jim Lee and you can clearly see his style permeate through the various heroes and villians. After you complete missions you are treated to a slide show of drawings and even though not all of them where drawn by Lee, they were of very high quality. As a fan of comic books I really enjoyed these parts. The loading screens are all drawn by Jim Lee and they look amazing. There are a few parts in game that will visually blow you away though. When you are a flier and you go up as high as you can in any given city and witness the impressive draw distance or when you look out into space while you are in the JLA Watchtower are two of the more note worthy “wow” moments.

Overall, I had a good time with DC Universe Online. It was a kind of a hollow gaming experience because all you really did was just beat up on enemies but I liked seeing and interacting with characters from DC comics. Unfortunately there is no option for a lifetime subscription for Playstation 3 owners. The thought of paying 15 dollars a month to play a game is not something I can support so this is probably the last time I will ever play DCUO. For everyone else who is going to fork over the cash monthly I hope you guys have fun and that the game will have a lot of cool content in the future.


  • Very deep character customization options
  • Huge cities and bases to explore
  • Fun to play with friends
  • Character designs by Jim Lee


  • Combat is too simple
  • Too buggy even for a beta
  • You level up too fast
  • Textures sometimes load up late

DC Universe online will be released for the PC and Playstation 3 on January 11th.

  1. Im in love with this game. I wont open it till I’ve paid the $200 for the life time online. As bad as it may sound I will be spending at least 12 to 15hurs a day on this game. I truly hope my ps3 can handle it & that the $200 life time subscription is worth it.

    • Romudeth says:

      Remember that the lifetime subscription is not available to PS3 users. If you play it on the PS3 you have no choice but to pay the 15 dollars a month.

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