by HG Staff
previewed on PC
Quests are initiated by reports of disturbing events somewhere in the city that set the stage for a variety of missions. You may hear about some raging gorillas on the loose, a police force mopping up gangs on the street, souls getting sucked out of innocent civilians by forces of evil or - if you are playing the opposite side - the forces of good preventing souls getting sucked from innocents. With each report, a quest chain starts that will take you to various places in the city where you will be tasked to ‘fix’ whatever is going wrong and find out what lies behind the disturbance. On completing your main objective, Oracle, Calculator or the mentor tied to this particular chain will contact you and send you off to your next objective. This will continue until you have arrived at the final stage of your quest, which takes place inside an Instance (a personal “dungeon”) so that you can finish the end-boss in peace.
Sony doesn’t shy away from swift hook-ups with familiar DC legends and whether it is a mentor or a foe, you’ll be seeing a lot of familiar faces throughout your quests. Especially worth mentioning are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman acting as mentors for the goody-two-shoes heroes. On the villain side you will encounter The Joker, Lex Luthor and Circe to encourage you on your path towards chaos and world domination.
Unlike most MMO’s, DCUO appears to be completely finished and polished when it comes to voice acting. The Calculator and Oracle speak with very pleasant voices as they guide you through the game. The voices of Superman (Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame) and Lex Luthor (James Masters of Buffy fame) are spot on and The Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) is absolutely fantastic. If there are Oscars to be won for game voice acting, Mark has our vote.
Heroes or villains
Shortly after most of us had started playing, conflicting reports about the quests started dominating our discussions around the game. Some complained that every mission seemed the same; others said they had been served more than enough variety to keep them entertained. As it turns out, there appears to be a considerable difference between the quests given to villains and those given to heroes. Ingvi’s experiences with both alignments describe this quite well, saying:
“When I got my first quest as a villain, I ran out of the building full of enthusiasm and a few minutes later I happily reported back to Lex Luthor that I was successful. Pleased with my performance, he gave me my next quest, which looked so much alike to the previous one that they might have well been the same but for the location. A little disappointed, I ran to the next mission and button mashed my way through that as well, remembering that monotony is not really a new affliction to the world of MMORPGs. When I had overpowered the police and done my villainous deed, I again contacted Mr. Luthor to give him the good news. “That's great” he responded, “but if you could head over to another part of town and do pretty much the same thing you were doing before, that'd be great”. By this time he was reminding me of Bill Lumbergh from Office Space and I was quite tempted to pull a printer execution on him. Fortunately I was out of paper. Completely demoralized by this, I decided to make a new character and give the Hero side a try where the missions turned out to be a lot more entertaining and diverse.”
Player versus Player combat comes in several flavors. The first is ‘World PvP’ which is an optional game mode that can be initiated on a non-PvP server by flagging yourself as a target for player-to-player action. From then on, you are fair game to anyone of the opposite alignment who has done the same. You can also sign up for 2 vs. 2 and 4 vs. 4 games where you duke it out as modern-day, fantasy style gladiators in Instance arenas. These fights can be very explosive and lots of fun, especially when the participants are well balanced in both classes and levels.
‘Legends PvP’ is a whole different ballgame. Here you can dress up as iconic superheroes such as Batman, Robin, Harley Quinn and the Joker and fight for dominance over Arkham Asylum. Playing with a predetermined character completely levels the field, rendering your character’s skills, level and equipment a non-issue. Only your personal skill plays a part here.