LEGO DC Super-Villains Review
What does the DC Universe look like when all of the superheroes vanish, and we only have the worst of the worst? The best of the worst rise up to make the most of a bad situation. In Lego DC Super-Villains, notorious evil-doers from the DC Universe take center stage against other villains attempting to take over the world.
Though there were a handful of hiccups along the way, the game's concept gets expertly executed, and the story keeps you invested until the credits roll. For those who were disappointed by the Suicide Squad movie, this is the game for you. Plus, it gives us more of Mark Hamill's fantastic Joker, which remains a shining light throughout the experience.
The True Star -- You!
Within the first minutes of the game, there's a scene of Commissioner Gordon driving a prisoner transport to Metropolis' prison. There, he unloads an unknown individual and asks for their expertise on the latest super-villain. This villain is none other than you, and at this point, you can start making your unique character!
You can spend hours in the game's character creation, choosing from dozens of different unique designs to make your new super-villain stand out from the notable characters you're bound to meet. These choices expand the further you get into the game as you acquire additional power-ups and unlocks.
How detailed is the customization? You can choose what arm your character holds their weapon of choice. That's a great little detail to throw into any character creator. When you gain a new power you can choose from a handful of different styles to make it stand out from others you may run into that have a similar trait.
For those who don't want to spend too much time during the character creation, there's plenty of preset choices to pick. These characters could have used a bit more time under the light of a watchful creative designer, but they're great if you want to jump straight into the story.
Once you're finished creating your character, you realize the mysterious prisoner Gordon brought in was Superman's sworn nemesis: Lex Luthor. Your super-villain shows up shortly after with one of Luthor's companions in disguise. The three of you escape, letting out nearly half the prison. Superman shows up with the rest of the Justice League soon afterword, attempting to put an end to this. All of the good-doers show up, except for Batman, whose dealing with Joker at the time.
There's plenty of chaos happening, and the Justice League seems outmatched. That is until the Justice Syndicate shows up to lend a hand. To many, they look like a ripped-off version of the Justice League, like Ultraman, Owlman, Sea King, and so many other twists on the standard names. They describe how they're from an alternate Earth, known as Earth-3. For those who know the DC Universe well, alternative realities is a convenient plot device.
They later announce themselves as the Justice League's replacement, while the original heroes deal with an unknown threat elsewhere. Our group of super-villains soon become suspicious of these replacements, and when they visit the Justice Syndicate's Earth, they learn that they're known as the Crime Syndicate. Now, it's up to the super-villains of the original Earth to do something right.
Standard LEGO Gameplay
For those who have played a LEGO game recently, plenty of the features in this game may feel familiar to you. When you destroy certain objects, you're going to acquire studs throughout the entire game. You may have to destroy several objects to recreate something else to advance further in the level. It's fun to see a super-villain you're controlling using their powers while they build, but it becomes stales quickly.
The combat doesn't stand out too much, either. You're still using a single button to attack your foes, watching them explode after you've hit them enough times.
You're never afraid or timid to go into a fight, either. There's the patented LEGO protection of knowing you don't have any lives to worry about because if you die, you wait a few seconds and then your controlled character respawns, giving you the chance to try once again immediately. You'll deal with a bit of trial and error, but nothing takes you too long.
The secrets in the game don't prove too challenging. If you're looking for everything in a level, it only takes a bit of running around and having a keen eye. Once you notice anything, it's just a matter of time before you acquire it and you're moving on to the next secret.
Your Character Is The Star -- To A Point
The start of the game immediately presented you with the opportunity to make your own super-villain, and when you're standing alongside so many iconic characters you've known for years, it can feel a little intimidating. What deflates this potentially amazing prospect is how little impact your character provides for the overall story.
Most of the time you're given control of one of the more prominent villains and tasked to head to a notable location in the DC Universe. Because the more notable superheroes are nowhere to be seen you're left to deal with some of the smaller heroes, Nightwing or one of the members of the Teen Titans. While the actors and encounters employ quite a bit of fun, some of it falls flat due to the how powerful the superheroes were during the start of the game.
If your character had a more significant part in the overall story, it'd feel like a great addition to the game. Due to you showing up to provide support to the main villains and hearing them always refer to you as 'Rookie,' your first introduction feels wasted.
The Voice Acting And Characters Steal The Spotlight
For those who grew up watching DC cartoons and the vast array of animated television shows they had during the 2000s, you're going to feel right at home. Many of the voice actors have reprised their roles and bring a fantastic dynamic to the crazy Lego backdrop happening all around you.
You have phenomenal talent like Kevin Conroy behind the caped crusader, Mark Hamill laughing it up as the Joker, Clancy Brown as charismatic Lex Luthor, Tara Strong as the ever-loving Harley Quinn, and so many others thrown into the mix. You'll find yourself tripping over the nostalgia during every scene. You may forgive the game having you repeat the same tasks every so often.
Overall, Lego DC Super-Villains has a fun time giving you some standard Lego gameplay, while also attempting to throw in a few new features that don't quite hit their mark. There's plenty of repeated features that will feel stale for anyone whose recently played a LEGO game in the past few years as many of the gameplay mechanics get reused.
Though, for those who grew up watching DC cartoons for the past decade, you're going to find significant interactions between all of the actors knowing they had as much fun performing as you did watch them work.
[Disclaimer: A copy of LEGO DC Super-Villains was provided by the developer for this review.]