Those two words are perhaps the best descriptor for DC Universe Online, the recently launched multi-platform superhero online world from Sony Online Entertainment. I realize that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but given how many massively multiplayer games—even a few from Sony—have launched half complete or missing huge chunks of content, "surprisingly functional" should enter the reviewer's lexicon as one of the higher compliments for this type of game.
Particularly noteworthy is the PlayStation 3 version of the game. It seems like a baffling choice to adapt a game type so largely dependent on a full keyboard to a console that generally lacks one, but a few hours slinking through the alleys of Gotham prove that this version is, like I said, "surprisingly functional." (Admittedly, you'll require a USB keyboard or $40 peripheral if you want to chat easily, but my original praise stands.)
As far as its MMO qualifications, let me say this: DCUO had the best launch I can recall since Blizzard's World of Warcraft. There's a level of polish evident here that makes it a complete game. Yeah, it will have to grow and evolve over time, but Sony Online Entertainment is off to a great start, and fans of DC Comics should have no fear dipping their toe into this virtual world.
And then, of course, there are the little bits guaranteed to send geek shivers the first time you witness them. Kevin Conroy voicing Batman; Mark Hamill voicing the Joker; jumping across Gotham rooftops; fighting side by side with Superman inside Brainiac's ship. I'm supposed to play the role of the jaded, seen-it-all, hyper-analytical reviewer here, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't totally geek out. DCUO is essentially an online love letter to DC Comics and its fans, and anyone who owns a longbox of Flash comics or who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series will find plenty to love in this game.