According to Chris Cao, as of today the NDA for DC Universe Online has officially been lifted, so now I can finally rest easy. I was invited to the closed beta shortly before the wave of pre-order invites went out post November 15th, and, since my husband and I both pre-ordered, we then got two keys from that as well. I’ve been busily tearing up Gotham City and Metropolis ever since.
And what a time it has been! While it is evident in many ways why SOE decided to postpone the launch of DCUO, I have had a relatively smooth beta experience, and a lot of content to burn through (much of which I have not experienced due to lack of gaming hours and a reticence to “spoil” content for myself). Vindictus has softened me somewhat to the so-called “action” style of gameplay, and while I will never be someone who can compete on a high level – I have not yet PvP’ed, and frankly I’m afraid to – I am a bit above button-mashing level. Why, I can even pull off a combo or two from time to time, with no repetitive stress injuries resulting.
Story-wise, in my opinion DCUO delivers, as we chase story nugget after story nugget, with copious voice work (still in progress) and epic boss fights and cut scenes. This is, as I’ve said before, exactly why I play these games, and even if the combat weren’t as satisfying, the story would keep me playing longer than most. Because the combat is satisfying and fun, it’s all the sweeter.
Relative downsides include a lack of character customization to start off with, which is certainly a deal-breaker for some. I’m not sure this is a title for the heavy RPers, as its UI is FPS-style with no ability to click on other players or “inspect” them, and I’m not even sure there are emotes, let alone extensive ones. Chatting with in-game text becomes cumbersome. This is an action title for sure, which makes it all the more puzzling to separate the PC and PS3 players.
Since we’ve been in beta, Mr. Randomessa and I have rarely played Vindictus, as DCUO has been providing us with much of that good old smack-things-around fun, with much more scenic and character variety (my complaint, not his). Character graphics are not as smooth or impressive as Vindictus, to be sure, but I value the opportunity to make a character that is unique and distinct, something I’ve not had a problem with in DCUO thus far. Ideally I could have Vindictus’s graphics and DCUO’s versatility.
I do find myself longing for more non-combat content, which I’m not sure DCUO will reasonably provide given, again, the FPS interface. With no crafting planned, we are left with exploration and collection quests, which are nice, but not quite what I’m looking for when I say “non-combat content.” But after playing these two highly-active games, I am not quite sure how I will happily return to other titles with numbered skill bars. I won’t go so far as to say Guild Wars 2 is my only hope, but I am really chomping at the bit to see how they combine the “active” dodging and target-free aiming with action bars and weapon-swapping. It may be precisely the combination I crave, but I won’t know until I can get my hands on the controls.
If SOE can make good on its promise to continuously provide monthly and quarterly updates to “earn” our subscription dollars, this could very well be a title we keep on hand and go back and forth between. I can’t see us maintaining a steady subscription, especially since ultimately we both crave a fantasy title, but for this game, I don’t think I’d mind paying my $15 to pop in and see what’s new from time to time.
But enough from me at this late hour. I’m happy to now link to beta gameplay, previously leaked, now kosher (beware story spoilers):
Really, just check out the user’s links if you’re interested in more. He has a ton, including a Smallville 5-man and a 2-man team saving Batman’s hide.