It is that time of year again when most gamer’s attentions are on which of the mega Triple A titles they are going to spend their hard earned cash on. This year has seen some absolutely epic games released in what is always an exciting time for gamers. It is therefore very easy for games to slip under the radar and with yet another entry in the long running Lego series released you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s not worth looking at. However, although many of the usual elements are present Lego DC Super-villains could be just the ticket if you fancy a break from endless horse riding or hunting down murderous Greek cultists.
To be fair to both Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Traveller’s Tales the Lego video games have been massively successful and popular with kids and adults alike. They could therefore be forgiven for taking the ‘if it aint broke don’t fix it approach’ to their Lego games. Thankfully they have tried to add a new spin on the tried and tested formula with Lego DC Super-villains. The game tells a brand new story (albeit reminiscent of Suicide Squad) with the Villains as the playable stars. The premise is that the Justice League have mysteriously disappeared and their Earth 3 counterparts ‘The Justice Syndicate’ have appeared in their place. The latter’s slightly odd behaviour leads the various Super-villains to investigate exactly what has happened and it turns out ‘The Justice Syndicate’ are not all that they seem!
Right at the start of the game you have the opportunity to create your own Super-villain who becomes part of the game. There are a staggering amount of options available and your creation can be made of the composite parts of some of the existing characters in the game or can be a completely fresh creation only limited by your imagination. Seeing your new character in the following cut scene is pretty cool and you always have the option to making changes to him/her/it throughout the game. The level of customisation is excellent. For example, as you progress through the story your character gains various superpowers, one of which being the ability to fire energy bolts. You can choose whether the bolts are fired out of your characters eyes, left hand right hand or the palms of the hand and also the colour and shape of the energy. Whilst it is great fun to have your own created character in the game I found the other characters fair more engaging and fun to play with than my mute creation.
The actual gameplay is the usual mix of brick bashing, stud collecting and puzzle solving. You get to play with a staggering amount of characters in each level and the transition between them is fairly smooth. You play with between 2-4 characters at the time and have to use their different skills to get you through the levels and to solve the various puzzles. The character sets change throughout each level so you could find yourself using 8-12 different characters to get you through one level. This set up lends itself to co-op play which the Lego games are very good at. A perfect game to play with your kids. Some of the characters weapons and special powers are quite amusing and fun to play with and it gives the gameplay quite a bit of variety. The combat in the game is still pretty basic and remains an area where the Lego games still let themselves down. The game has the trademark Lego video game multi-level humour that appeals to both kids and adults alike.
Like recent Lego games the game is open world with missions that take you to multi-level areas and interiors. Many of the main DC Universe locations are present including Gotham, Metropolis, Smallville, Gorilla City and Nanda Parbat. The open world environment is stuffed full of collectibles, races and side missions to keep you occupied.
The graphics are par for the course for the Lego games. The characters are well rendered and the locations are a nice combination of breakable Lego and more solid backgrounds. It is always great to see Lego versions of favourite characters and this is something the game does well. For those familiar with the Lego games it is very much business as usual and really graphically the Lego games reached their peak some time ago.
One word, awesome. The stellar voice cast that has been assembled for this game is impressive to say the least. The game brings together many of the voice actors from the DC animated universe which gives the game added star quality. Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker, Tara Strong voices Harley Quinn, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Michael Ironside as Darkseid, John Barrowman reprises his Malcolm Merlyn role from the Arrow TV series and Nolan ‘Nathan Drake’ North lends his dulcet tones to the Justice Syndicate’s Ultraman. The quality of the voice acting greatly enhances the cutscenes and really helps to carry the story throughout the game.
With over 160 unlockable characters and the need to replay all levels in freeplay mode after the main story has finished, Lego DC Super-villains has the same longevity as the previous Lego games in the series. For the trophy hunting completionist there is plenty to do with various collectibles, races and side quests scattered throughout the open world areas and the game levels themselves. There is also some DLC on the way in the form of characters from the various DC TV series such as Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. No doubt these new characters will come with new levels and areas to play in. There is certainly enough to do until the next Lego game inevitably comes along.
If you have played the previous Lego games and remain a fan you will be very happy with the latest entry in the series. Don’t expect any huge changes in the gameplay however it is refreshing to have a new story rather than the usual film tie ins. I really enjoyed playing the game although I am a massive DC and Lego fanboy. For the fun factor and refreshing change from cowboys and Greek mercenaries I give Lego DC Super-villains a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A physical copy of the game was received to complete this review.