DC Universe Online: PS3 review (Villain)


  • Format: PS3 (version tested), PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: SCEE
  • Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
  • Players: MMO (1 per console)
  • Site: http://www.dcuniverseonline.com/

EXT. NIGHT. Birds-eye view of a rural town.

Camera slowly pulls in and levels out; an unremarkable street in an unremarkable town. View swoops up and into the first floor window of a house, almost indistinguishable from the others. A visibly excited young man – a NOOB to the MMO genre – puts his new DC Universe Online disc into his PS3.

CUT TO: Time lapse footage of a clock recording several hours as the necessary files are downloaded and installed. Footage slows, then returns to normal speed.

QUICK PAN TO: NOOB pondering server selection.

NOOB: Hmm… all low or medium population. PvP… that means you can fight other players, right? I’ll go for that. Should be great fun!

Thunder and lightning outside the window. The theme from the Halloween movies plays briefly.

NOOB goes through the character creation process. Immediately choosing to create a male villain, he chooses Joker as his mentor over Lex Luthor and Circe. Eventually, after carefully going through the many customisation options, he has crafted a flying tiger man with magical powers called Evil DAVE.

Superman was REALLY hungover; he looked terrible, and he'd put his costume on inside out again.

QUICK ZOOM into the TV set. We are now inside the game world, following Evil DAVE. NOOB can be heard as a disembodied voice.

After a fairly short action sequence inside a spaceship which culminates in a fight alongside Lex Luthor, Evil DAVE is let loose upon the streets of Gotham. The entire city is dirty, dark, and of questionable graphical quality. We follow him as he explores his surroundings, flying faster than a speeding toddler.

It’s not long before the first player-created heroes and villains appear. They all seem to be surprisingly distinct in appearance and fighting styles, and it takes a long time before we have seen two that look greatly alike. It is clear that most of them are far more experienced than Evil DAVE.

NOOB: Okay Evil Dave, let’s start levelling you up! We’ve already had Joker offer us a mission. Can’t beat Mark Hamill; wish we had more than that head in the corner talking at us, though. It doesn’t even have decent lip synching!

DAVE: Bring on my enemies, so that I may crush them!

Evil DAVE goes on to complete several missions where he fights various law enforcement officers, and rescues gangsters and thugs. There are perhaps a hundred NPCs involved, with seven character models between them. Despite shooting beams of energy from his hands and casting spells of dark magic at his foes, Evil DAVE feels less like a powerful supervillain and more like Derren Brown with an ASBO. He soon finds himself shooting, casting and punching almost at random.

Yup; it's Marcus Fenix behind that mask.

DAVE: What are you doing?

NOOB: (frustrated) Button bashing! There’s no AI to these enemies, just overwhelming numbers coming from all directions! On top of that, the block button’s no good for most of these attacks!

DAVE: Then call for help. Rally my evil brethren!

NOOB: Nobody’s around in the inside bits. Hell, I might as well be playing offline there! And didn’t you see? Most of the people outside are asking for help from villains much stronger than you, or on their way to missions of their own. I can’t find or invite my friends via the XMB – you know, like I can in pretty much every other game I own! All I get when I try inviting friends via the chat window is ‘player not found’.

Nonetheless, with perseverance and more swearing from them both than is perhaps necessary, NOOB takes Evil DAVE through the first levels of ranking up fairly quickly. Completion of each mission awards a large chunk of XP and, whenever they find themselves up against enemies of a higher level than Evil DAVE, there are always other missions available recommended for his level or lower.

DAVE: I tire of these repetitive quests; there are sometimes new costumes, but it is always ‘defeat so many of this type of enemy’ or ‘bring so many of these to this place’, or perhaps ‘liberate this many criminals’. I am Evil Dave! I wish to wreak havoc upon this city on my own terms!

Just as well the loading screens are pretty; you'll be seeing a lot of them.

QUICK PAN TO: A level 30 hero on a nearby rooftop, watching level 7 Evil DAVE deliver his speech. The hero jumps down, and pummels Evil DAVE into oblivion within seconds. There is a ten second wait to respawn.


EXT. DAY. Metropolis City, street level. Evil DAVE tries terrorising civilians. After a beating, one casually remarks that he will be informing his lawyer of the incident before slowly walking away, which Evil DAVE takes as a great insult.

Hoping to cheer Evil DAVE, NOOB enters the menu to arrange a ‘Legends’ 4v4 match. They are queued for several minutes and, when Evil DAVE is transported to the arena, he has transformed into the only Legend currently available – Harley Quinn. The same problems arise; everybody is clearly ‘button bashing’ blindly just as much as NOOB, and nobody on his team has the experience to choose anybody but Harley Quinn. He is on the winning team in one match however, due to concentrating on capturing points in a ‘King of the Hill’ game and avoiding confrontation wherever possible.

CUT TO: Metropolis street level.

ROBIN: Why do I have to be Mr Pink, man?

Evil DAVE now goes on to find the location of his latest mission; but no sooner does he arrive (now level 10), than he is set upon by a trio of heroes of levels 25-29. This happens each time he returns to the area.

NOOB: Okay, that’s it. We’re moving to a PvE server.

Returning to the menu, NOOB finds that he is unable to bring Evil DAVE to a new server. He expresses his displeasure by buying a dog, and then kicking it.

NOOB: Sorry Evil Dave, but no way am I paying ten quid a month to play this. It’s already cost me forty!

Evil DAVE looks to the heavens and howls in pain as the game is turned off, forever.


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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.


  1. Daoshifu /

    This review is hereby reviewd by me as 2/10.
    The reviewer complains about being ganked on a PVP server (is it really that weird?), about not being able to transfer a character from server to server (which other MMOs allow for for a FEE). He also complains about AI in an MMO(!!!!!). He then complains about not being able to invite ppl through the ingame chat (and HE of course named his character exactly as his PSN Id). The inability of inviting other ppl to the game from XMB comes from the fact that the game is a single instance (or a couple of considering servers) so the player would not be able to join exactly in the sasme “place” as in EVERY OTHER GAME WE OWN.

    poor review and ignorance of the genre.
    I could very well write a review of Gran Tourismo 5 complaining about the lack of ammunition or lack of dethmatch multiplayer.

  2. Daoshifu /

    But still thumbs up for the idea of comic book style of the review! 😀

  3. That must be the most awful/hideous written article/review of the year and seriously that’s almost a compliment because I can’t possible name it any worse.

    I’m not judging by the score which is ok taking metacritics as parameter but dude learn how to write its embarrassing was painful to read such ‘shit’.

  4. outwar6010 /

    i rely want this game but dont think its fair to charge 40 pounds for the game and then a what 10 pounds a month for every month you want to play the game you paid 40 pounds for? that doesn’t seem fair

  5. ScoobiDoo /

    Well, there you are Critical Gamer, lesson learned I think.


    The next time I visit here to read a review, I expect to see the exact same review I read on all the other websites. How DARE you try to be different!


  6. steven g /

    Ok, this game aint bad, in fact its really good. Im upto level13. HOWEVER it was pitched as an MMO with real time fighting controls, which made those who have never played an MMO think its like a big online version of God of War. Which it aint.

    However as you stat to level up you do start to see a massive increase in the amount of control you do have. The combos get interesting and moving between shooting, punching and different powers does become fun in a ‘real time’ way.

    As for paying £10 a month for ongoing updates and new content? I think thats fair. After all a map pack for halo or call of duty is between £8-£15 and an MMO in effect gives you a map pack each month, or promises to. Would be nice if PSN + people got a discount though.

    If SOE can bring this to the NGP (no reason why they cannot), people like me might never get a days work done again…….

    • I think most map packs are a rip off too. Besides which, comparing the DCUO subscription to paying for map packs is kind of missing the point, I’m afraid.

      Map packs are optional. Whenever a new CoD map pack comes out, they make sure that those who haven’t bought it get thrown in to the same lobbies as those who have, meaning that when a new map is chosen those without are kicked when the match starts. It’s an unsubtle way of encouraging more people to buy the map packs; but the point is, those who choose not to buy the map packs can still play the game. They can not only enjoy the offline modes, but they can continue to play the online ones with the assets that are present on the disc.

      As soon as your DCUO subscription runs out, the game becomes worthless to you.

      There is no offline mode, despite the fact that certain sections don’t involve other players. It’s not even possible to enter character creation without a valid subscription. No subscription = no gameplay whatsoever. Your first six months – depending on where you bought the game and what subscription deal you take – could cost anything from £75 – £100. Personally, I expect something really special for that kind of money – and that’s not what DCUO delivers.

      Besides, I’ll be surprised if they deliver significant content each and every month.

  7. steven g /

    Well apart from WoW this could be the most successful MMO out there, and its a good solid base to work from. They could have released DCUO for £10-£15 at launch, as for many gamers it is a try and see experience with them not knowing if they are prepared for the subscription.

    it could have even been a PSN+ style trial, with a 20 day limit or something. As facebook and other games have shown – once people have invested real time in their characters they are quite likely to then pay to justify the time invested in the character – or at least to create a viable business model.

    I think that for some console gamers there is a complete disconnect when it comes to the MMO experience and their historic expectations when it comes to content, pricing and experience. Im not saying who is right or wrong – indeed I don’t think it’s that simple.

    I think our wee debate though is systematic of the challenge SOE have had to contend with.

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