The HD introduction to this massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) is incredible. We witness the cunning megalomaniac Lex Luthor and his entourage of villains reign supreme in their campaign against the Justice League. While Wonder Woman is electrocuted and Batman is beaten to death, Lex lures Superman from his solar recharge and drives a Kryptonite-tipped staff through the Man of Steel, claiming victory.
As the dust settles, however, alien warships fill the skies. Brainiac, Lex's one intellectual rival, has brought an army of machines to dominate a now helpless Earth. Desperate to survive, Lex hijacks Brainiac's technology to travel back in time.
Lex, in the past, tries to convince the Justice League of Earth's impending doom. To help prepare against the alien invasion, Lex unleashes the exobytes: tiny robots that can turn ordinary people into superheroes or supervillains.
At the character creation screen you can customise your own playable avatar. Your skills and abilities are drawn from the gallery of DC archetypes, or mentors. There is a lot of variety to either create a unique character or to emulate an existing individual like Catwoman or Deathstroke among a vast range of others.
Unlike more intense MMORPGs like The Old Republic and World of Warcraft, the level cap is 30 and this game is free-to-play. DC Universe Online offers a fantastic foray into the MMORPG genre. The experience is casual and great for noobs. This game is suitable for younger gamers too.
Missions are linked to the skillset you choose, which is based on your likeness to existing heroes or villains in the DC world. Good acrobatic martial artists who use gadgets will find themselves learning the ropes in Gotham City while Man of Steel wannabes will rough it in Metropolis.
My Batman-esque dude brawled his way through hallucinations to help disperse fear gas in Gotham. He also bashed minions and tangled with Scarecrow. That boss is a lot of fun to beat into submission alongside Batwoman (non-playable character).
The larger map of DC universe allows all players to explore the different cities. Movement is swift with the option to warp to key points just in case you get lost or are too far away from where you need to be. Some players can fly while others can climb buildings and dash across rooftops.
Player-versus-player (PvP) servers are awesome. There are arenas for multiplayer combat. Check out 'Legends' which is a string of scenarios that allow you to unlock playable comic book characters. Participate in an Arkham Asylum riot or protect/sabotage the Bat computer. This is a refreshing change of pace from the usual quests.
Be wary of questing alone in a PvP server. There are players who troll lower level characters who are grinding to complete their objectives. Hostile players makes for exciting, and sometimes frustrating, gameplay.
If an enemy player knocks you out you just respawn at the nearest safe house unless an ally revives you in the field. There is something really satisfying about following allies (fellow strangers) on a mission and lending them your aid when enemy players get in the way. This is where the community feel and the larger scope of the MMORPG is at its best.
Other special locations include the JLA Watchtower and the Hall of Doom. Bonus downloadable content keeps things fresh if you happen to exhaust the many, many hours worth of free stuff.
To play this free title: open up a Steam account, download DC Universe Online, create a station account and join the war.