DC Universe Online Nintendo Switch impressions - Infinite crisis

The DC Comics MMO looks to make a superhero landing on the Switch. Our impressions.

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Initially released in 2011, DC Universe Online is a massive multiplayer online game set in the illustrious world of DC Comics. This title sees players creating their own super-powered character and progressing through of number of stories, paving the way for their own legacy as a hero or villain. DCUO was met with mixed reviews when it originally went live for PS3 and PC, but went on to find an audience of dedicated players. The free-to-play MMO was later released for PS4, Xbox One, and is now getting another shot at life on the Nintendo Switch.

Flying onto a new platform

There is a serious lacking in MMORPG games on the Switch eShop, so the porting of DCUO to Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid is a smart decision that will surely boost the player base. DC Universe Online is another entry in the growing list of video games that have received a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Switch. Unfortunately, DC Universe Online falls into the small category of games that just don’t feel like a good match on the Nintendo Switch. 

The Nintendo Switch offers a variety of ways to play and enjoy games. You can play on the go, throw your games up on a TV, use the touch screen, and so on. Many games that find themselves on the platform have features that are complimented or better defined by the Switch’s capabilities. However, DC Universe doesn’t do any of this. In fact, it feels like parts of the game are hindered when you try to take advantage of the Switch technology. For example, one of the best parts about playing games on the Nintendo Switch is being able to jump in and out at any time. The ability to put the console to sleep or wake it up within seconds is such a convenience for short bursts of gameplay. When I tried to put my Switch to sleep and jump back into gameplay merely seconds later, I was met with freezes. Everything around me was stuck, and none of my actions would register. I had to relaunch the game to continue playing properly.

An exclusive league

Also, it’s refreshing to see that the team behind DC Universe Online has continued to support the game with new content and cosmetics over the years, but it feels like the majority of it is locked behind memberships and paywalls. Even when creating my character, I was fascinated by how many new customization options there were since the last time I had played. There size of characters to model yourself after had more than doubled. I was quickly let down when I saw I needed to be a member or purchase tokens if I wanted my character to have the powers of Green Lantern, or take after the great Black Lightning. Hardcore fans may not find much issue here, but with DCUO coming to a new platform with over 35 million consoles sold, there’s going to be a large influx of brand new players. This is surely to be a turn off. 

Lastly, DCUO just… hasn’t aged well. The bottom line is that the game is coming up on its ninth birthday. The graphics, lighting, character movements - it all just screams 2011. Playing DC Universe felt like revisiting a relic of the past.

Shine the Bat-signal

With all of that being said, there still is some fun to be had in this massive multiplayer iteration of the DC Universe. DC houses a number of iconic characters, and it really is neat to meet and interact with them, rather they be friend or foe. As an RPG, DCUO offers an easy to understand progression system with rewarding upgrades and unlocks for your character. Teaming up with friends to take on missions adds a very much needed level of depth to gameplay. Combining and coordinating your abilities in a way that best suits that of your group gives a sense of variety to what can be a pretty stale combat system.

MMO’s are some of the most popular video games on the planet. The Nintendo Switch has garnered quite a sizable player base in its first couple years of release. Many titles have been ported over to the console/handheld hybrid, but there’s still a noticeable absence of some mainstream MMORPG’s. DC Universe Online had a golden opportunity to hit the Switch and see a huge resurgence in popularity and player count. It’s a shame that DCUO feels like the exact same game from eight years ago, and a large share of the newly added content is trapped behind a paywall.

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. Donovan is currently studying broadcast journalism at Bowie State University with hopes to join the Shacknews team full time after graduation. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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