Be Your Own Hero... Or Villain.

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DC Universe Online allows players to interact with such heroes as Batman, Robin and Nightwing. (Photo courtesy of GamePro.com)
DC Universe Online allows players to interact with such heroes as Batman, Robin and Nightwing. (Photo courtesy of GamePro.com)

The internet is so much fun.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (mmorpg) have been substantially growing in popularity for the last two or three years, owning partly to how much hilarious entertainment they are. Homage should be paid to a particularly mind blowing game out on the interwebz right now called DC Universe Online. The server has recently opened for FREE download, making it easily available to any die hard DC fan looking to kick some NPC ass. The game itself boasts beautiful graphics and a plethora of your favorite heroes to fight alongside with. For good, or evil.

The story behind the game is a typical DC tale which includes all kinds of famous names and a common alien enemy. In the near future, the DC heroes and villains are caught up in a terrible war among themselves. They have managed to pretty much destroy everything while in combat, and (spoiler alert) evil actually wins! Lex Luthor and other villains have managed to wipe out our planet's strongest protectors. This is when Braniac decides to make an entrance. With no heroes, and just a bunch of battle worn bad guys left, Braniac makes conquering the planet look like child's play. Lex sees the terror in this unfortunate change of events and steals some of Braniac's technology before hurling himself into present day where all the heroes and villains are still alive. He confronts the Justice League, and tells them his story. He also gives them a heads up that he has spread Brainiac's technology across the globe as alien spores, effecting everyday citizens and giving them amazing powers. This is where the user comes in. Your character is basically one of these humans infected with Braniac's spores to give you superpowers. Lex's plan was that he would create an army of supervillains and heroes alike to battle the aliens together as they reach the Earth. That doesn't mean you can't fight each other along the way, however.

In DC Universe you are allowed to choose whether you wish to serve and protect as a hero, or ravage and destroy as a villain. When you enter character creation mode this is your first option, and depending on what you choose effects the experience of the world your character undergoes during missions. You also choose various other traits which affect your character's stance, fighting style, and mode of transportation. Flight, acrobatics, and speed are your three choices of how your characters will move around throughout the game. The flight option lets you soar through the sky like Superman, and swoop down for surprise attacks. Acrobats make you agile like Catwoman, where you do flips and turns around enemies, and can even scale up walls and leap rooftops like a ninja. Finally, speed is kinda self explanatory. You move with the swiftness of the Flash, and can run across water, up buildings, and even create a whirlwind attack around your enemies by running circles around them. When it comes to your character's appearance; colors, skin texture, costume, and hairstyle are all at your control as you create the perfect superhuman.

Along with character creation you must also choose a mentor. If you are a hero, you may choose from Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. If you are a villain your choices of mentors are Lex Luthor, Joker, or Circe. Who you pick as your mentor will effect your experience of the world and what missions you go on.Each mentor has a specific strength they help you build on and master, so I would recommend doing some research before jumping into this decision. During your missions you will come in contact with various other heroes you may remember. Zatana, Catwoman, Aquaman, and even the Teen Titans play roles throughout the story.

DC Universe is not all gumdrops and rainbows, sadly. Due to such a massive influx of players after the game was opened to free play, the servers simply cannot handle such large numbers. The consequences? Glitches, lagging, some instances of booting, and even a waiting line to log in during the particularly busy hours. The quirks are becoming fewer and far between as the staff works out the kinks, and waiting time to login is usually no longer than 5 minutes. These drawbacks can be considered a deal breaker, but the effects and gameplay itself make DC Universe worth the risk. Explore the two HUGE cities of either Gotham or Metropolis. Enjoy professional voice acting as DC brings back a number of original voices to their characters. And if you chose to create a character in one of the two servers available called PVP (player vs. player), beat up other users on the street of opposite alliance as you work your way through the same story and missions as the first server called PVE (player vs. Environment). It's all pretty badass, to say the least.