The Quarter Bin

Videos, Reviews, and Previews For Comic Fans

E3 09: Hands-On DC Universe Online

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On June - 10 - 2009

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While Chris and Luke got to check out DC Universe Online earlier this year, I got finally got some hands-on time at E3 last week. Read on for my impressions.

I was hoping to finally get a look at the game’s character creator, but unfortunately Sony wasn’t showing it off just yet. That’s probably for the best, because I could have easily spent an entire hour or more just creating the ultimate superhero (or villain… yeah, I’d probably go with villain). Instead, Sony showed us the characters they had created to show off at E3, and they all had distinctly different features and abilities. It seems like creating an online persona for DC Universe Online is going to be a deep, time-consuming experience; at least, I sure hope so.

I took on the role of one of the pre-created villains, and found playing with a PS3 controller to be ideal. It seemed like the game was easier to play with a controller than a keyboard and mouse, but that could just be my bias as a mainly console gamer talking. At any rate, it only took a few minutes to learn what buttons are mapped to attacks, healing spells, and other special abilities. My favorite was turning an enemy into a giant block of ice, and then throwing that block at other people I was fighting. My character could also fly, which was awesome. It felt exactly how superhero/villain flight should feel in a video game. As you probably already know, the game will feature some notorious bad guys from the DCU, and in this case I found myself teamed up with the Joker and Harley Quinn. While I tried to carry out Mr. J’s orders, I was continually interrupted by some pesky superheroes trying to say the day. At one point, I beat the hell out of Green Lantern, and later turned him into a block of ice, which I felt kind of bad about.

There was a heavy focus on the teamwork aspect, as you will need your comrades to pick you up when you’re down and assist you in a fight. One of my tasks was also to recruit new cronies to join the supervillain cause. At one point the game glitched out a little bit, putting me back at an older checkpoint, but keep in mind that DCU Online is still pre-alpha; Sony’s not even talking release windows yet, and the game is nowhere near done. It won’t be out until sometime until 2010 at the earliest, so some hiccups are to be expected right now.

If this game is as good as I want it to be, there’s no way fans of the DC Universe will be able to resist this MMO when it finally comes out. It’s early, but development seems to be going smoothly, and it looks like the developers are giving DC Universe Online the necessary time and attention it deserves. What I played wasn’t perfectly polished, but it was indicative that the game is off to a great start, and on its way to being a standout game in an overcrowded genre.


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