The most astounding aspect of DC Universe Online – and it is a feature that distinguishes it from many others like it – is your choice between playing as good or evil, and the resulting existence of both sides in the very same virtual online world. Expect constant battles, grinding for levels, and to have run-ins with characters from all ends of the DC universe in one of the most exciting things to some from DC since their portrayals of Superman himself.
The game begins with the creation of you character and the all-important choice of selecting between playing as a good or evil character. You get to choose your character’s appearance and edit it somewhat, but the level of customisation isn’t as far-reaching as some fans may have hoped for when entering into the game. In spite of this, you are able to choose between a variety of weapons that use single-hands, dual-wield, hand-blasting, firearms, and a great deal more. You can also choose a power set for your character, with your power being limited by an indicator bar that is reminiscent of the ‘mana’ bar seen in many fantasy games.
Your choice between good and evil decides whether your headquarters will be Arkham Asylum or the Justice League of America Watchtower, two locations that fans of the DC Universe will feel right at home in. From your base location, you are able to customise your appearance, weapons, and items, with the latter two being upgraded as you gain experience and level up and your items having an effect on your attributes.
This game is noticeably heavy on the battling, which can only be good thing for those seeking non-stop action, and the level of control you have over every move in the battle is unlike any other MMO that you are likely to have played. Controls feel responsive like the character is responding to your every command as opposed to many MMOs where your input only seems to occasionally lead to your protagonist doing exactly what you asked for and not merely a vague interpretation of it.
The sheer quantity of battles however means that those wishing to explore all of the locations in the DC Universe in detail will be a little disappointed, with the focus being mainly on the action and not the exploration of the surrounding areas in any satisfying depth. You will find that you will reach your level cap very quickly as well, and time after that is simply spent grinding for better items and weapons. This could be another blessing, though, since the game is free for a month only, which is plenty of time to get all you need out of the experience, and you can take solace in the fact that it is objectively superior to Marvel Heroes as well, regardless of the DC vs Marvel rivalry.