Student by day, sidekick by night
By Aaron Chatha
I’m Batman’s best friend.
No, we don’t go on picnics and have sleepovers, and he doesn’t really call unless he needs something. But when a crisis occurs, I’m his go-to guy. Err, girl.
You see, in the world of DC Universe Online, I’m a badass chick with fiery red hair and glowing yellow eyes who can outrun a speeding locomotive. I’m also a robot.
And I’ve teamed up with other players, ranging from your typical heroic avenger with a cape to flying clowns and green-skinned Romans.
DC Online was released for the PC and Playstation 3 on Jan. 11. It’s an online game, similar to World of Warcraft, where you create an avatar and hop online to go fight bad guys, with friends or alone. The goal is to fight bad guys to become stronger and get new equipment, in order to fight bigger bad guys and gain even better equipment. It’s all set in the DC Universe, where you’re taking on villains like Lex Luthor and the Joker while teaming up with Superman and Batman, or siding with the villains to take on bad guys.
And it’s easily one of the most important online games – heck one of the most important games period – to be unleashed upon the student body. The reason is simply: accessibility.
The most popular MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game is still indisputably World of Warcraft. In the last few years, a number of other MMOs have appeared on the market, tried to get their share of the action, failed and promptly disappeared.
Don’t get me wrong, World of Warcraft is a great product and an absolute blast to play. It is, however, a huge time sink. In between classes and work, most students don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to an online game. If you play WoW, chances are that is your social life. Moving from one experience level to another can take hours, and with a level cap of 85, that’s a big investment.
DC Universe Online is different. I can play in bite-sized chunks, maybe an hour every two days, and still feel like I accomplished something, whether it’s getting a new pair of boots or growing a level and gaining a new super power.
In fact, before writing this article, I freed Robin from the clutches of Poison Ivy, who had him under mind control, before arresting the green-skinned eco-terrorist and sending her to Arkham Asylum. Only took a half hour, and if I bothered to look for teammates beforehand, it would have been even quicker.
Beyond that, it’s an easy game to figure out. Most MMOs want to last, so they offer you a very complex system. There are a ton of different abilities and talents to learn, and the games are a little slower.
You click an enemy in WoW and your character automatically attacks it, and continues attacking until you interrupt with a spell or other action. The gameplay is very methodical.
DC Universe, however, is much more like a brawler. I’m punching and launching ice beams at the press of a button, and it all happens instantly. It’s a good feeling freezing an enemy player in a block of ice, picking him up and throwing him into the harbour. It probably doesn’t feel as good for the guy on the other end, but hey, he can choose not to fight other players.
The game does have a start-up cost, there are still a few bugs (like flying through a closed door and getting stuck) and after the first 30 days, it’s $15 bucks a month to keep playing.
But for busy students who want something they can play in bursts, but still want to interact with other people and get an instant gratification, I would whole-heartedly recommend DC Universe Online. And if you see a red-haired robot whizzing around, be sure to say hi, or at the very least blow her a flirtatious kiss.