So I signed up for Playstation Plus and as such I get to participate in the PS3 beta for DC Universe Online. For those of you who don’t know, this is an MMORPG that takes place within the DC Universe. I’ve never played an MMORPG before, but for obvious reasons I was extremely interested in checking this one out.
After a 16-hour download process, I dived into the game. The first thing you have to do is create your character. I had big ambitions of coming up with an interesting and unique character, but dammit, when it came time to step up to the plate, imagination completely caved in to fanboyism: I wanted my guy to be part of the Batman family! I wanted him to be young and dark and brooding, but of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to also give him flight abilities. Honestly, anyone who chooses superspeed or acrobatics (the game’s other options for this category) over flight is crazy. So I ended up with a moody young superhero who can fly and fights with a Donatello-esque stick. Nightbat was born, and he is my favorite superhero of all time. I even made up an origin story for him!
Nightbat is, as far as I know, the first Kryptonian member of the Batman family. Rio-El was the young son of low-ranking government officials on Krypton, shortly before the planet was destroyed. Aware of the impending catastrophe, his desperate parents pulled some strings and had Rio-El imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. Confinement to a DIMENSION WITHOUT HOPE was not the ideal fate for their only son, but they figured it had an edge on being assuredly blown the fuck up.
Years later, Rio-El was rescued from the P-Zone by, I dunno, let’s say… Blue Beetle. Still a child (since no one ages while in the Phantom Zone), he was brought to a Gotham City orphanage, where he was eventually taken under the wing of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Growing up as an orphaned street kid in Gotham, Rio surely would have turned to a life of crime if it wasn’t for Leslie’s influence, and his ever-growing admiration for Batman. As Rio grew older and began discovering his own yellow-sun-fueled superpowers, he desperately wanted to fight alongside his hero. He began trailing Batman and attempting to sell himself as a potential new Robin, but he caught Batman at a bad time. Jason Todd had been recently killed, and Batman was in the middle of one of those phases where he swears off endangering the lives of innocent children and bla bla bla. Bad timing for Rio!
Having been rejected by Batman, Rio begins training on his own, eventually receiving friendship and guidance from both Huntress and Dick Grayson, the latter of whom trains him in the martial art of Eskrima stick-fighting. Rio does not reveal his Kryptonian origins or powers to his new allies, as he feels he will never gain acceptance as a street-level crime-fighter if his alien nature is discovered.
However, when Lex Luthor releases the nanobots that give everyone on Earth superpowers, Rio takes this opportunity to “come out of the closet,” claiming that his abilities are a result of this incident. As a tribute to both his lifelong hero and his greatest mentor, Rio calls himself Nightbat and begins patrolling the streets of Gotham, where he is eventually accepted by Batman as a valuable new ally in the endless battle against crime.
So that’s my character, and I’m pretty happy with him. Sure, he may not have the originality of some of the other heroes I’ve seen walking around the game, such as Captain Mountaineer, Asian Lightning, and Dat Nigguh… but I love him anyway.
The game, so far, is great. I will have more to say about it when I get into it a bit more, but so far I’m impressed. Gotham City, my starting point, is fucking huge, and beautiful, and so much fun to explore. My first mission, dealing with the fallout from Scarecrow’s fear gas attack on the city, and then battling Crane himself in the sewers, has been incredibly fun. I’m already floored by the amount of DC shit in the game; I’ve already encountered Ambush Bug, Batwoman, Booster Gold, and several other semi-obscure characters, and that’s without even leaving Gotham yet! I am looking forward to seeing what else is hidden in this world.
If I have one complaint, it’s that so far, this basically feels like an awesome single-player game, except with a bunch of other weirdos stumbling around. I have not really been able to interact with other players in any kind of meaningful way. I am sure that feature exists and that I just haven’t quite figured it out yet. I hope so, because I really want to form a team with some other dudes and go on missions together! As I said, I’ve never played an MMO game before, and I’m excited to check out what it’s all about. But even as a single-player experience, this game is really satisfying, especially for fans of the DC Universe.
Stay tuned for more action-packed adventures of Nightbat!