E3 2010 First Look: DC Universe Online

Sony Online Entertainment has been very fickle about revealing details about their upcoming MMO, DC Universe Online – specifically, a much anticipated release date. Thankfully, at this year’s E3 conference taking place in the Los Angeles Convention Center June 15-17, the team over at SOE are revving up to finally release some solid details about the game and announced its scheduled release date of November of this year. However, a beta is still up in the air, so when you’ll actually get your hands on DC Universe Online for the first time is still anyones call. DC Universe seems to be a direct response to Microsoft and Marvel’s forays into online gaming, hoping to stack up against the big boys.

One of the coolest features that DC Universe Online (soon to be available for the PS3 and PC) boasts is its real-time in-game combat mechanics. Press punch or kick, and your character immediately reacts with the approapriate attack. Stringing together combos is the most effective way to take down baddies. It may not rival any serious beat-um ups in terms of brawler game play, but this more-arcady-than-usual combat system in an MMO seems fresh and has great animations to boot and will keep players on their toes in battle.

Another interesting part of the game will be all the attention to detail the team put into the real world physics engine. Due to the nature of the engine, each fight/instance dealing with objects will play out differently – crashing into several objects will cause more damage to enemies, so its really a crap-shoot each time and you can expect a wide variety of possible outcomes when dealing with the objects surrounding you in the game. Added to this, objects can be lifted/thrown, kicked around and generally man-handled and used to your advantage.

As far as character creation goes, the team has been a little tight lipped. The only details seem to be that players don’t play as a specific DC character, like Superman or Batman. However, when building your unique hero or villain, you can use certain familiar characters as a simple base, using what stats they would have in the game and take it from there to crate your unique avatar. Don’t fret though, expect to see all your favorite heroes and villains making an appearance as NPC’s along the way that will guide you in your quest to heroic glory, or push you along in your rise to infamous super-villian.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, the game’s super powers. With all these super-heroes and villains, what can they exactly do in terms of abilities? One nugget MMOCrunch managed to uncover was super-speed, a common trait in the trades based on the front-runner of fast, the Flash. For a video of this neat and zippy  super-power in action, click here.

Demos of the game have been revealed at numerous Comic-Cons and other industry events. These demos have provided players with a Harley Quinn controlled instanced dungeon to rescue a kidnapped Robin (come on Robin, again!) while battling evil, physco-clowns rip from the comics along the way. The level design has been noted as detailed, dark and rather twisted – showing that the game will have a mature feel to it and avoid such kid-centric mentalities as other MMO’s such as Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Online.

The gang over at G4 managed to get a neat trailer and developer interview and a bunch of screens from the game.

Keep checking back in at MMOCrunch for more in-depth details about E3 2010 First Looks including DC Universe Online and other games as this years E3 quickly approaches.