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LEGO DC Super-Villains Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

The LEGO series of licensed games have followed a very similar format for the twenty-plus games that they have been around for. In this time, the series has evolved significantly through means such as offering original plots, using spoken voice acting, and providing characters with unique class-based abilities. So how does LEGO DC Super-Villains add to this extensive series? The answer is: in nearly every area.

The enemy of my enemy is my competition

Super-Villains has a pretty tried-and-true, comic-multiverse story with a family-friendly spin. Earth 3’s heroes have mysteriously disappeared, but Earth 1’s heroes have conveniently arrived in order to help in the meantime. The only issue is that they’re actually the villains of their planet. Earth 3’s villains know that it takes one to know one, so when they realize that this might be an issue, they have to try to eliminate these foreign villains while proving to the citizens of Earth that these heroes aren’t what they seem and have cryptic and evil intentions. You play as a fresh rookie villain with the unique ability to absorb new superpowers. Throughout the story you’ll rapidly move up the ranks from recruit up to the first pick for big bad guys like Lex Luthor and the Joker.

The pacing and storytelling of Super-Villains is exactly what returning LEGO fans should expect. Characters are exaggerated versions of themselves and cutscenes are composed of slapstick humor and purposely cheesy dialogue. The cutscenes have always been one of the most charming aspects of the LEGO games, and this is no exception. My only reservation was the transition from the Sims-like muttering of characters that I found so clever to comprehensible voiced dialogue, yet even with this change I can’t complain. Super-Villains was given golden treatment by having an all-star cast of voice actors, including Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and Tara Strong, just to name a few.

SIMPLY ALIVE

The universe being made of LEGO pieces is something I found myself almost forgetting at times because Super-Villains is handled perfectly as a comic-themed game. None of the characters really seem to be aware of the absurdity of existing in a LEGO world (outside of being able to build from demolished creations). Civilians walk the open world, going about their day normally as police officers watch over them and cars are constantly passing in the streets. It’s a world that’s simply full of life. It’s obvious that the developers cared a lot and really went out of their way to deliver a believable world with a fantastic amount of life flourishing throughout it.

Dr. Mustardo; Villain-Supreme

The character creation tool is by far one of the most impressive things that Super-Villains has to offer. It has a huge variety of customization options, allowing you to pick and choose your abilities, weapons, and aesthetic preferences. Did you choose lasers as one of your abilities? You can choose whether it comes out of your hands, eyes, weapon, or your chest. You can choose what type of beam it is (ice, fire, sonar, etc.) and you even get to choose the color and button that the ability is assigned to.

I can confidently say that half of the time that I spent playing was probably spent in the character creation menu, editing or creating entirely new heroes and villains. My most-prized creation became a villain dressed as a hotdog with goggles that are way too large for his face, armed with two hot dogs: one capable of firing red lasers and the other, yellow lasers. Dr. Mustardo can easily take down any foe — close or far — and his other abilities range from flying to becoming a giant behemoth and immediately shrinking down to the size of a rat. The freedom of control over what you make is really a marvel and I can only hope that the LEGO series continues to possess this level of depth in its future titles.

Picking favorites

While character customization is a very large part of the game, it isn’t central to the gameplay experience. Whether you’re not a fan of spending time making a character, or you just want a game where your friend can drop in quickly, Super-Villains is still ready to deliver. The roster of playable characters is daunting to say the least. There are over one hundred heroes and villains to choose from, all of which have their own unique abilities and design.

The character selection menu is luckily quite easy to navigate, allowing you to single out characters based on the abilities that you’re looking for. When you come across an area where you need to switch to a certain character in order to use their ability, you’ll be navigated to the character that you’ll need automatically so that all you have to do is press the select button to quickly take care of whatever was needed. Little details like this save a great amount of time and keep the roster from ever becoming more a burden than it is a treat.

If you’ve ever felt like you never get to see your favorite DC villain in any movie, show, or game, it’s pretty safe to say that they’re probably in this game. I strongly recommend not looking at the full roster because one of the greatest things that this game has to offer is the reveal of each character. Big villains are offered grand reveals in the main storyline, while smaller villains offer cameo appearances from the shadows via side quests and hidden collectible boxes scattered around the large open world.

City folk just don’t get it

One of the biggest surprises upon early exploration of the open world outside of the main campaign was simply how big the world actually is. The world is composed of Smallville, Metropolis, and Gotham, along with a few other areas of lesser significance. Rather than being there for simple fan service, Super-Villains actually offers a pretty large amount of side quests, collectables, and secrets that fill most of the areas of the entire game.

The standard collectibles are pretty straightforward, mainly just being composed of random objects whose sole purpose is to be destroyed for rewards, however, the golden bricks are a much more clever approach to collectibles. Most of the golden bricks scattered throughout the world are retrieved through fun puzzles or goofy little interactions (such as building a power supply for a lawn mower that you then have to use to shave the Riddler’s famous question mark logo into a bush). Collectibles are typically just mindless filler with no real thought put into them, but I’m happy to see that the developers seemed to have a lot of fun coming up with zany ideas for how to make us work for our golden bricks.

Side quests are a mixed bag

While it’s understandable that the large roster doesn’t have a unique side mission for every unique character not introduced in the main story, I found that many of the side quests just involve fetching something or someone. There was no real incentive to do many of them, other than wanting to play as the character offering the mission in the first place. That is not to say that every side quest is like this; many of them still remain fun and introduce a variety of interesting characters. One of the best side quests that I experienced had me operating as a member of the stage crew for a musical about the Wayne family. I was forced to solve simple, yet fun puzzles by a bossy director as the on-stage actors playing Batman’s parents sang about how nothing could possibly go wrong walking through a dark alley as known billionaires in the middle of the night.

Outside of collectible content, the world is simply one worth exploring. Fans of the DC universe will be happy to discover and see familiar landmarks both small and large. Even if you are only familiar with Rocksteady’s Arkham series, the similarities between the two worlds are very noticable. The problem, however, is navigation. Unless you are playing as a character capable of flying or some other form of hyper-mobility, it’s often a confusing process to get from point A to point B. Given that you’re able to change characters or even spawn vehicles whenever you’d like, it’s not an extremely important issue, but it is disappointing that your favorite character may run the risk of not being viable for getting around. Until I was able to give my custom character the ability to fly, I found myself constantly switching back and forth just to get around.

7

The Verdict: Great

LEGO DC Super-Villains is everything that should be expected from a LEGO game. It’s fun, family friendly, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it has plenty of surprises in its countless hours of content. Couch co-op is something we see less and less in modern games, yet the LEGO games continue to embrace it by making games that are simply fun to pick up at any moment. It doesn’t come without its flaws, but none of them truly derail the experience.

Stephen Martino
Written by
November 12, 2018
Published in Adventure

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Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color. 

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