There are hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of free-to-play games available for PC, Consoles, your phone, your tablet, in fact, there’s so much choice these days that the list is pretty endless. Now, some of these are downright terrible, and the only reason they exist is to part you from your hard-earned money as quickly as possible. Looking in your direction Dungeon Keeper, where other ones are pretty good even if the premise is still pay-to-win but in a world of Fortnite’s and Team Fortresses what is the greatest F2P of them all?
Allow me, if you will, to present my case for the game I consider more than worthy of the crown, and that’s DC Universe Online. A superhero adventure like no other and an experience that any fan of comic books should have on whatever their chosen gaming system is.
DC Universe Online: The Best Free To Play Game
Let’s start with a little history lesson, shall we? Way back in 2008, Sony Online released concept art and then a trailer for the game that would become DCUO. They also released a statement saying that they wanted to make a different kind of MMO and said it would have more in common with the likes of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, which in itself was a blast, than it would with what had become the standard norm for the genre. It would take another three years before the game got a beta release and to say it was patchy would be an understatement. The game was at times broken beyond all belief, but with a lot of perseverance by the time, it finally hit the digital stores, it was pretty much glitch-free. Well, as glitch-free as you would expect a F2P game to be. There were and are still issues with the game that can prove to be a massive pain in the arse. On more than one occasion when I was running the game on my old PS3, I’d find myself next to a building when a pop-in would happen, and I’d find myself pinned against a wall with no way of getting out. To get out of this situation, I’d have to start a brand new character and try not to punt my TV in the face. As you can imagine this was quite the rage quitting moment and on more than one occasion I’d shut the game down and swear I’d never play it again. However, I always found my way back to the cities of Gotham and Metropolis eventually, which leads to the question, why?
In all honesty, at first, it was out of necessity. Outside of the likes of the Spiderman movie tie-ins, Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance, and the first two Arkham games, there wasn’t a lot of choice for any fan of the capes and cowls. Sure enough, there were a lot of games, but most of them were terrible so when a half-decent one became available those of us who were starved for some ka-pow and splat action automatically jumped on board. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t perfect as long as it was good enough to justify wasting countless hours putting the DC Universe to rights. Now I admit that doesn’t sound like the most glowing reference that I could give, but it was just a fact of the times we lived in, as long as it played well and didn’t blow up your PlayStation it was all good.
Then a strange thing happened. DCUO got good, like really good. It was a slow process that took a few years, but those of us that had been there from the beginning started to notice that the game wasn’t only playing a lot better but seemed a lot less broken and did the one thing that other F2P games didn’t do. It allowed you to play through all six storylines without charging you for the privilege. This is quite a big deal as far as I’m concerned. Usually, when you start a game like this you can only get so far, or only hit a certain level, before the company involved starts trying to convince you that you need to give them all of your money so that you can advance further. I can’t tell you how many F2P games I’ve downloaded, started, hit a paywall that says “Sorry buddy, but unless you fork out some greenbacks you’ll never find out how this ends”, and deleted from my hard-drive to never let it darken my doors again but with DCUO there isn’t any of that. Now, I admit, they do have certain things that you need to cough up for such as Time Capsules that will give you legendary armor and the like but I have never bought one of these in my 8 plus years of playing, and I’ve never once needed too to be able to complete the main arcs of the game.
It doesn’t matter who you choose as your mentor or whether you decide to follow the path of good or evil, you have enough character creation slots available to you to be able to complete all the stories and get through the endgame without ever having to cough up to do so. You also get access to all the raids and PvP arenas as well, totally free of charge, and when you throw in all the collectibles and investigations that you can do, there is easily 40 plus hours of gameplay available to you for each avatar you create. So that’s about 320 hours in total if you play through each tale. Now, some of it can become repetitive as some of the game overlaps but as it’s all free then what do you have to complain about? It’s also a blast with great fighting mechanics and use of Super-Powers, and unlike Marvel’s failed attempt at entering the genre, it allows you to create your character from scratch. Choose your look, choose your powers, and head off into this vast universe to fight the good fight or cause as much havoc as you possibly can. You can run through the whole thing solo or join up with other players, and when you finally beat the game, you can form your league and do it all again. Or you can buy the DLC which currently stands at 35 episodes deep and adds even more hours to the game.
It may have started poorly and only received the amount of attention that it did due to a lack of options, but DCUO is now the best free-to-play game you can own. It truly is free-to-play, and if you have the time and space to download it, then you really should as it’s a super-hero game unlike any other.
The utter joy you’ll find fighting side by side with all of DC’s iconic characters is second to none. The amount of content that is available to you from the get-go is mind-boggling, and if you’re looking for someone to help you show the ropes, then I’ll be on their somewhere, punching villains in the face or facing off with Batman, depending on which character I’m using at the time. Seriously, if you have any interest in comics and you don’t own this, then you owe it to yourself to experience the genius that is DC Universe Online.