Reviews

You’ve been broken by some smooth criminals — LEGO DC Super-Villains review

The LEGO brand is incredibly popular, starting in the realm of the physical with toy blocks, and then making its way to the gaming scene. Over the years, there have been a huge variety of franchises that have gotten games with a LEGO twist. Some popular examples include Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. This time around, players are given the chance to play as some of comics’ greatest villains in LEGO DC Super-Villains.

LEGO DC Super-Villains revolves around an interestingly funny story: A doppelganger Justice League group called the Justice Syndicate shows up on Earth pretending that they’re here to help. Shortly after meeting the Justice League, the Justice Syndicate tosses a mysterious crystal-like object that causes the Justice League to disappear. At the same time, Harley Quinn and The Joker just robbed a building, and Harley starts recording their loot and bragging. She happens to notice the meeting between the two aforementioned groups and begins recording them. She catches everything on camera, but ends up dropping her phone as The Joker whisks her away. As time passes, the Justice Syndicate not only stops the villains’ crimes, but they start setting the villains up for things they didn’t do. They even go so far as to unnecessarily damage the property of some of the villains. This prompts the villains to work towards uncovering the Justice Syndicate’s secrets, revealing the truth to the public, and getting rid of them once and for all.

The game starts with Commissioner Gordon transporting Lex Luthor and interviewing him about a mysterious villain. After pulling out a file, the character creator screen pops up. In LEGO DC Super-Villains, you create your own villain to join the fray. You can customize a lot more than I expected, and I spent about 15-20 minutes making my character. It can be done faster, but I got caught up trying to create a character that resonated with me. You can choose just about everything, including skin color, eyes, hair, torso, arms, legs, hands, hats, capes, weapon, and other accessories. You can even make each arm, leg, and hand different from each other, which I used to my advantage. It helped me create a color palette that made my character feel unique. You can name your character as well, of course. Choosing the design and colors of your attacks and ground pounds is a nice touch as well. One of my favorite things, as trivial as it may seem, was the option to adjust my movement speed.; you can be normal or you can be a speedster. I obviously went the speedster route because, why not be more super?

The gameplay is very simple, especially if you leave hints turned on. As for difficulty, you can choose rookie or veteran, with rookie being easy mode and veteran being normal mode. The bulk of the game involves exploring, breaking and building objects, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles. For those unfamiliar with the LEGO games, you’ll want to break everything you can in order to collect more studs; the studs are a form of currency. In addition to obtaining studs, breaking some objects is necessary in order to build certain tools. Sometimes these are containers that create things which help you progress, while other times they are things like slingshots, computers, and more. If a container is built, it means that there are a few special objects nearby that need to be collected and tossed into the container. My favorite one is finding objects like rubber chickens, chattering teeth, and joy buzzers in order to make The Joker’s laughing gas. The items aren’t hard to find, but it’s still nice to do that quick little hunt.

Now, you may be worried that you only get to play as the villain you created, and thankfully that’s not true. Don’t get me wrong, I love my character Spade, and I give him plenty of game time, but there are so many other cool characters in the DC roster. DC and LEGO know that very well because they’ve given players 174 characters to play as, although you’ll have to slowly unlock them as you play. If you have a favorite DC character, odds are you’ll be able to find them in this game. Some of the available villains include The Joker, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Livewire, Reverse Flash, Polka Dot Man, Solomon Grundy, and Malcolm Merlyn. Every character has their own unique attack animations and abilities, while some even have unique walking animations. For example, Harley Quinn can skate around and Captain Cold can shoot ice in front of him in order to slide forward. The Joker can send out a chattering teeth bomb, while Solomon Grundy whips out a chain and charges at enemies. You can also swap between characters in your party with the press of a button and try out more characters as you play.

Outside of the campaign missions, you’ll be traveling around a hub world. This hub world consists of well-known locations like Gotham City, Metropolis, and Central City, all of which are closely connected. You can find challenges to beat, side missions to complete, and races to win. These aren’t necessary in order to progress through the story, but they can be fun to do. They provide some fun side activities to complete with any character you choose. When you’re exploring the hub, you can open the menu and swap to any characters that you’ve already unlocked. That means that if somebody you love isn’t in any mission you’re doing for the main story, then you can have as much time as you want with them in the hub world. Or if you want to get from place to place quicker, you can always bust out a speedster to get the job done. The story missions are also located in the hub world, so be sure to check the map in order to know which way to go to continue the story.

The tone of the game is light-hearted, goofy, and funny. DC and LEGO found a way to perfectly combine the child-like wonder and joy of toys like LEGO with the well-known, beloved cast of DC villains, and mixed it all together with some brilliantly charming humor. LEGO DC Super-Villains has made me smile and chuckle many times during my time with it, whether it be from funny jokes, comic nostalgia, or even just its light-hearted tone. The story is interesting as well, especially because I like the idea of villains resorting to practically becoming the heroes in order to deal with some newer villains. They don’t do it out of care for the innocent or for justice, they do it to get nuisances out of their way and give them the chance to pull off some nefarious schemes of their own.

In terms of the voice acting and soundtrack, they’re perfect. How can you go wrong with Mark Hamill as The Joker, Brandon Routh as The Atom, John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn, and Kevin Conroy as Batman? Taking actors famous for either voicing these characters in animated shows or for playing them in live-action versions and using them for this game was an amazing choice. For people familiar with these other shows, it increases the immersion and enjoyment by a lot. I found myself going “wait, that’s the same voice as Malcolm from Arrow! Awesome!”

As with most LEGO games, LEGO DC Super-Villains only takes around 12 hours or so to beat, depending on how much you explore and how many side activities you do. The game is pretty easy too, but it’s still a great time. For fans of the LEGO games, you’ll definitely have plenty of fun if you love the DC roster as well. I haven’t played many LEGO games, but playing this one has made me consider going back to some of the other games someday. In the end, LEGO and DC fans should give the game a try because this combination of child-like nostalgia of toys, comic-book fan-fare, and overall humorous charm make LEGO DC Super-Villains a wonderful gaming experience.

90

Excellent

Lego DC Super-Villains

Review Guidelines

LEGO DC Super-Villains is a charmingly funny game that combines the joy of LEGO with the creative coolness of the DC roster. The game isn't hard by any means, but it's a great casual romp through an interesting story. The massive roster is impressive and the detail put into each character makes each one of them worth putting time into.

Codi loves to play video games and watch movies. He will watch almost any kind of movie just to experience them. His ideas take inspiration from the shows and movies he watches, and games he plays. He also loves a good pun.
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