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"DC Universe Online" (DCUO) Review PlayStation 3 (PS3)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


DC Universe Online (DCUO) - Superman Logo

DC Universe Online (DCUO) - Superman


The Bottom Line

While Superman has his weakness (allergy?) to Kryptonite, and Lex Luther sports an Earth threatening ego it is exactly those tragic shortcomings that allow us not only to relate, but to see them in incredible stories. "DC Universe Online" (DCUO) gives us a chance to play with those stories, to fight along side Wonder Woman, to fight as Batman, to rescue Harley Quinn from the wicked clutches of Robin (really) and to create new stories based on super-beings of our making. While no super-powered being is perfect, neither is any game, "DCUO" included, but a casual MMO that caters to participatory culture? Sign me up!
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  • DC Universe Online looks and plays as good as any MMO at launch to date
  • "DCUO" combines the very best of superhero action with MMO gameplay
  • Some of the best level design I've ever seen in an online game, very little "grinding"
  • "DCUO" sports deeper story and interesting characters earlier on than most games
  • Pretty and flexible, "DCUO" is the ultimate superhero sandbox


  • Clearly PC designers were in charge of the wonky menu system, bigger text and less menus please
  • Communication needs work, voice and text options are confusing and difficult to use well
  • I know it's an MMO, but same console multiplayer (sidekick?) would have been grand
  • No cross platform play means you sadly won't be playing against PC "DCUO" superheroes and villains
  • No $199 lifetime subscription offer for PS3 "DCUO" players


  • Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment, in conjunction with Warner Bros. and DC Comics
  • Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
  • "DCUO" ESRB Rating: T for Teen
  • Genre: Massively-multiplayer online action game (MOAG)
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC
  • Notes: Unlike other PS3 games, this one carries a $15 per month subscription (less if you buy bulk), it's online-only
  • Peripherals: A bluetooth headset, PlayStation Eye USB camera, or a USB keyboard makes communicating much easier

Guide Review - "DC Universe Online" (DCUO) Review PlayStation 3 (PS3)

As a preview, let me say upfront that I thoroughly am enjoying the game (MMO's are never "finished" until they shut-down, so any review is a snapshot), but let's get some of the super-problems out of the way before we get into the superpowers that "DC Universe Online" (DCUO) wows with.

The biggest hurdle DCUO faces is pleasing action game fans and MMO fans. The game is not as deep as a "World of Warcraft." At a basic level, there's no features like crafting. At a deeper level there's no minmaxing, in fact there are very few details about which powers do what damage, so it can be hard to figure out the best combos to use.

And combos matter because "DCUO" is an action game, but one where you level up, pick equipment (which you have to earn money to both buy and repair), pick powers, group up with peers, join guilds (leagues)... While action games usually are tightly balanced, crafted experiences, "DCUO" is a massive game, both in terms of geography and sheer options. Plenty of action but tons of choices.

So are there problems? Yes, of course. Much of the info you need to succeed you have to go online to get. There are tons of options that need explaining and the game does a poor job of doing so (switching "stances" for example). Navigating text heavy (and oddly slow) menus that are too small to read is a drag (note to developers, yes, you play at a desk with a screen 16 inches from your face, but if I can't read it easily on my 50" TV, the font's too small). Having the game not start because it can't download a required patch proves that many of the problems that plague PC gamers that have, unfortunately, followed "DCUO" to the PS3.

Problems aside, allow me a bit of superhero hyperbole: "DCUO" is a game changer. The game is gorgeous, addictive, and shockingly fun. While playing it I kept saying, "oh they'll need to fix this, and oh they'll need to fix that" but I kept playing, and playing. It's one of the more engaging console experiences I've had since "God of War III," and will probably surpass it as they will continue to update the game and add new content.

Fighting alongside Lex Luther (or Superman for the heroically inclined), exploring the Joker's fun house, disrupting Bane's drug ring with the help of newly made friends/super-people, the game grabs you, provides incredible experiences, and is chock full of content the quality of which an MMO has never seen. This is action game quality being distributed as an online game, and it's incredible.

Art, story, level design, it's all here and it's all superb. Sony Online Entertainment will constantly have to review "DCUO" and the flaws the players find, but that's normal for an online game. From the starting area to the end-game "DCUO" impresses on all levels. If you are looking for a casual MMO that you can fully play without having to commit your life to it, "DCUO" may be your new secret identity.

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