DC Universe Online has stood the test of time for being a solid superhero MMORPG. It originally was released on PC back in 2011 and has made its way to all the current-gen consoles, with the Nintendo Switch being the latest addition as of August 6, 2019. Personally, I’ve played DC Universe Online for a few years, but I have to say that its graphics has always been a bit lacking. That changed when I loaded up this game on my Switch. Playing on the Switch is like playing a new game. It looks amazing on this console.
Aside from looking great on console, it is just simply a solid game. The character creation and gear systems are some of my favorite things in DC Universe Online. You can spend a good amount of time simply making the ideal character to romp around the various locations, including iconic places like Metropolis, the Justice League Watchtower, and even the Hall of Doom. Also, as you play you will unlock other style items which you can then use to further refine how you would like your character to look as they evolve in the world. Along with those systems you will also choose a superpower that ultimately defines your character.
Superpowers in the DC Universe Online are vast. Each superpower falls into one of 4 roles; Tank, Healer, Controller, and Damage (DPS) role. Roles in the game are determined based on the type of power your character possesses. The Tank role consists of Earth, Fire, Ice, Rage, and Atomic. In this role, these powers allow them to bolster defensive capabilities to stand on the front line and take the brunt of the damage. The Healer role includes Nature, Electricity, Sorcery, Celestial, and Water. Healers replenish health and provide shielding to keep everyone in the fight.
The Controller role includes Mental, Gadgets, Light, Quantum, and Munitions and provides crowd control and energy replenishment to keep their allies spamming skills. All powers can fill the Damage role, whose main focus is to defeat enemies. Each role is vital to a group’s composition, especially when entering dungeons or raids. Though some powers have elemental attributes, they do not have any strengths or weaknesses when engaging with opposing elements, they’re merely for cosmetic effect.
Another aspect of DC Universe Online I enjoy is the way that you increase your character’s power level. Even though power level doesn’t come into play until you hit level 30, you are still able to improve your character in numerous ways. You can complete various feats that vary from 1-3 stars (which signify difficulty). Earning 100 feat points earns your character a stat point which can be used to increase various aspects of your character.
You can also collect stronger gear, augment gear with exobytes to increase stats, and if you have the utility belt, which is a subbed-only item, you can equip various types of trinkets. Trinkets are usable buffs, which can vary from giving a player a damage reflective shield to transforming you into another character or enemy. Looking to build your character the way you want leads to hours of grinding to make sure that you’re the strongest you can possibly be. The grind as you work up to endgame can be quite fun, but as you make into endgame and start to look for specific items, it can also be brutal.
However, there is an issue: its business model. DC Universe Online is a free-to-play MMORPG, but as a free player, you are grossly limited in numerous ways. This ranges from a money limit, which you’re only allowed to hold 2,000 cash, the in-game currency. Some items in the game’s shop can run a couple of hundred cash, but if you would like to purchase items from The Broker, which is the auction house, items there can easily cost more than the free game’s cash limit.
You also have gear restrictions, which is limited to Tier 3, compared to subbed players having access to Tier 4/5 items, which are earned from the completion of purchasable episodes. Episodes can either be purchased individually with the premium currency, Daybreak Cash, or they’re all unlocked via subscription. Some of the power sets are also locked behind a paywall, which can be unlocked by either being subbed or paying for them with Daybreak Cash, such as Munition and Rage. You even have to pay for the usage of the Shield weapon.
Now, this doesn’t pull away from the fun you can have in this game. Even as a free player you can experience the main story either as a Hero or a Villain up to level 30 without hindrance. You are just not able to trade items, start a guild, or buy higher tier gear because of the limitations. These limits can be overcome though, with the purchase of a subscription. With this subscription, everything is unlocked for you.
This has led to some people feeling this game has “pay-to-win” aspects, especially because there are PvP and Raids in DCUO and it’s easy to tell the free from the subbed players as a result. Due to these limitations, being a free player towards the “end-game” content can make you feel more like a burden than an asset to your team.
Though these grievances can deter some players, DC Universe Online can be a fun game to play, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise. As you play through the story you’ll come across iconic heroes and villains that depending on your allegiance will either help or hinder you.
Overall, DC Universe Online may not be the flashiest looking game. It does have some things that can make it feel outdated compared to more modern-day MMORPGs, but, if you’re looking for a solid superhero game, and there have not been many recently besides Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. This could definitely scratch that superhero itch. DC Universe Online on the Switch, aside from looking really good, allows you to take your Hero or Villain hi-jinks on the road with you, as all you need is an internet connection to log in and play.
I would recommend DC Universe Online even as a free player because it has a very well crafted story that has you interacting with iconic DC heroes and villains. However, if you don’t want to be limited and are willing to pay, I would suggest picking up a subscription. This way, you can truly make the character you want and be able to enjoy all the content this MMORPG has to offer.
DC Universe Online is available now on the Nintendo Switch.
DC Universe Online
- Rating - 8/108/10
Overall, DC Universe Online may not be the flashiest looking game. It does have some things that can make it feel outdated compared to more modern-day MMORPGs, but, if you’re looking for a solid superhero game, and there have not been many recently besides Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.