DC Universe Online PS4 - First Impressions
With the release of the PlayStation 4, Sony seems to be hitting all the right buttons for gamers, everywhere. Not too long ago, PlayStation advertised itself as the best place to play. It should be noted that it is quickly living up to this claim. The PlayStation 4 is continuing with this line of thinking, quickly offering several free to play games early in the console's life cycle. One of these games is the hit pc MMORPG DC Universe Online.
In DC Universe Online, gamers are given the chance to take an active role in the DC Universe. The game is made by Sony Online Entertainment, SOE and developed by Sony and WB games, with license from DC comics. The game takes place in an alternate universe, one in which the heroes and villains of DC comics must work together or against each other to save the world. The story goes that Lex Luther, the formidable arch villain to Superman, makes a deal with Brainiac to wipe out all the superheros. Unknown to Lex Luther however, the powers of the superheros are being siphoned off and stored to make Brianiac a more lethal and formidable army. Lex steals the powers of the superheros and does a time travel trick to another time line before the take down of the superheros. Here, he lets the powers out over the earth, where they are absorbed by regular humans. These humans are granted new powers and can choose to help the Superheros or to become a Supervillain.
When DC Universe Online first came out, it followed a monthly charge model. A charge of nearly fifteen dollars a month was more than most gamers were willing to shell out. The subscriptions fell off and the teams behind the game quickly made the game into a free to play model. This allows anyone to play the game. One of the many micro-transactions is apparent in the very beginning during the character creation mode. In this mode, players get to create the superhero or villain of their dreams, for a price. It quickly becomes apparent that the most appealing apparel for your character is locked behind a paywall. It would be very easy to drop several dollars on the game before you ever get to play a second of this free to play to game. However, once you decide on the look and powers of your character, the game begins.
The first thing that players are charged with is escaping the clutches of Brainiac as you are being held on one of his flying ships, high above the ground. After a few training sessions, Superman comes along to lend a helping hand. This allows the player to reach the relative safety of the ground. Once on the ground, players will go to their relative hubs. The heroes go to the police station, while the villains go to a secret hideout.
At these hubs, players will receive quests, just like any other MMORPG, and be able to join a group of other players to complete missions or to grind for experience points. The game plays well for an MMO, the controls are fairly straightforward and the game offers plenty in the way of travel, including super speed and flight. The dualshock 4 controller is suited for the task, however text entry can be problematic in the fact that you are using a controller instead of a keyboard. One of the things that is great about DC Universe Online is that a player doesn't have to join groups if they don't wish to, at least not in the early stages. This allows for solo gamers to still enjoy the game without dealing with others. One thing that should be noted is that the game uses the usual fetch quests in the beginning, but these do not feel like the traditional “gather five feathers” quest that is the bane of most MMO's.
As with any MMORPG, this game is not that great to look at. The opening cinematic and following cut-scenes are movie studio quality, however that all changes once the game starts. The character models are kinda blocky in their appearance and movement. However the special powers, when used in combat are nice to look at as they are very colorful in their execution. The textures of the game are rather bland and the vegetation of the game looks flat, as if it is made of cardboard. The heroes and the villains don't look as good as one would expect seeing as they are clearly not randomly generated by the player. DC Universe Online is also available on the PS3, but it is very clear from the outset that the PS4 version of the game is head and shoulders above the last gen model.
The sounds of the game are a total opposite from the in game graphics. The explosions are loud and the sound of the superpowers being used is exceptional. The game has some of the best voice acting for the story characters, seen in a while. It is obvious from the start that the game will have a depth in it's storytelling that most MMO's miss or completely avoid and it is because of this attention to the voice acting. It is one of the biggest redeeming qualities of the game.
DC Universe Online is a big game in scope and size. It would take the average player several months of playing to enjoy all that the game has to offer. The problem is that the game is just not fun enough to make to someone want to spend all this time playing. In short, DC Universe is a really good free to play game to burn some time with, but not much else. The game is available for download on the PlayStation store. Happy Gaming!
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