I’ve had a mostly enjoyable time with the low-level content. DC’s big advantage is its iconic characters; how many other MMOs get to bring IP with the heft of Superman or Batman to the table? (Even SW:TOR loses here because it is TOR.) Play is dynamic and I have enjoyed both the setting and particularly the use of significant but less popular DC villains early on.
My experience is mostly low-level Metropolis. Unlike CoX, you can fly from day one, so you get the immediate experience of soaring over rooftops. It’s soothing, and the urge to wander around and look at things is rewarded by collections and clickies scattered across the map. I have really enjoyed reaching the iconic villain at the end of each arc, both seeing them in combat and then the cut scene where the villain speaks about his/her plans, hatred, etc. The take on Grodd is centrist, neither comic nor horrific (I’ve seen both in comics), while the Doctor Psycho scene is one of the best things I have seen in-game in a while. You never knew you wanted a scene with some Wonder Woman villain you’ve probably never heard of, but it sketches the character with surprising depth in one minute, including the use of images to show things left unsaid and explain about our unreliable narrator. (This is a common problem in comic books and graphic novels: forcing the text to do all the work rather than letting the images carry their own weight.)
The gameplay is simple, basically targeting an enemy and clicking until it falls down. The simple gameplay is explained well. For anything more advanced, you’re mostly on your own, enjoy clicking through menus. You can pick things up and throw them at enemies, although I have yet to find a car I can use like that. The basic enemies are plentiful, not terribly interesting, and only present a challenge in their absurdly quick respawn timers (for all the players in the area). You get to feel like a superhero as you endlessly beat down theoretically even-con enemies.
DCUO is F2P. The main limits for not being a subscriber are (item and character) slots and a cash limit. If you spend $5, you get the medium tier with 6 character slots and some restrictions removed, so that’s going to be worth it if the game has any appeal to you at all.