Try-It Tuesday: DC Universe Online

It’s been a long, long while since I last tried out DCUO. The tutorial really was a turn-off to this game and didn’t make me want to stick around to push deeper into it, and I have all sorts of reservations these days about dealing with Daybreak. But as part of my effort to go on an MMO safari this month and also to expand my look into superhero MMOs for my column, I thought it was high past time to do that.

DCUO is the type of game where for every one good thing it does, it does another poorly. The character creator is a perfect example of this, with tons of options laid out in the most awkward and difficult-to-use format possible. There really should be a different version for PC users so we’re not saddled with the cruddy console-friendly UI that is on display here.

Unlike City of Heroes, DCUO goes a more modern route with being an action MMO with lots of clicking, combos, and movement. It’s very fast-paced in this approach, and I can see that as being both a pro and con. I definitely enjoyed getting into scraps (especially when I got the hang of the symbiosis between powers and melee attacks) but it always felt like my power selection and usage here took a backseat. Plus, those powersets were about as generic and unthrilling as possible, which is why I went with mental abilities and called it a day.

I made a robot staff-fighter who could do some fancy mental projections and fly around. It was fine for my purposes, and after a while I got into a groove of mindlessly knocking out missions and slapping bad guys around with my staff and the odd car wielded as a weapon. It was odd seeing my costume evolve with gear, but I like the idea of collecting pieces and using them cosmetically in the future.

Probably my most favorite part was the ability to fly right off the bat. Actually, my three-year-old wanted to hang out with me while trying this and he figured that the spacebar was the answer to everything. Bad guy? SPACEBAR. Quest objective? SPACEBAR! That naturally sent me shooting vertical about three hundred feet, but he felt involved and happy and I couldn’t take that away from him. Plus, DCUO has no fall damage, so I’d just un-toggle flight and we’d crash down on the ground with a statisfying thump.

There’s a lot I’ve yet to wrap my head around, how the systems work and just how pay-to-win (or paywalled) this game is, but for now, it’s a fun diversion for a half-hour here or there. I love to zoom around Gotham picking fights as a bad guy (yes, you can be a villain in this one!) and hearing some of the classic voice acting from the Batman series and elsewhere.

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