Since my childhood, LEGO has been a staple in my life. Building sets with my father are some of my favorite memories; an experience made better when I became a father myself. Naturally, I was automatically sold on the LEGO games right away, the peak hitting with LEGO Dimensions.
So when LEGO DC Super-Villains was announced last May, I was naturally excited. A great iteration on the already great line up of LEGO games.
Building A Super-Villain
The tables are turned in this story. In an odd turn of events, The Justice Syndicate: an evil version of DC’s classic heroes from a different Earth, have shown up and suddenly the Justice League has disappeared. The Super-Villains, made up of Lex Luthor, The Joker, Harley Quinn, and others have begun rounding up more of their colleagues because something doesn’t seem to add up with the Justice Syndicate.
Where is the Justice League? Why are these guys here and what are they up too? And who is this new villain?
That’s right! While escaping Stryker’s Island in the introduction to the game, you get to customize your very own supervillain. At first, there really isn’t much to customize but that is because you have a huge amount to unlock throughout the game. As you progress through the story your character is able to absorb different abilities. These include red beams that shoot from your eyes, which can be completely changed to green electric rays shooting from your hands.
As you unlock more villains you gain access to many more items to customize. But accessing them is where the game misses. The customization interface is not robust or easy to navigate. It caused me to keep the first character I initially created instead of creating additional villains to join the crew. It just wasn’t fun scrolling through all the menus of abilities. Which is a bummer since I love making custom characters.
If you have ever touched a LEGO DC game then you pretty much know what to expect. Fun and quirky story sequences with levels set in different DC Universe locations. Each location has certain objects like free Lex Luthor from prison or rebuilds a Speed Force treadmill in S.T.A.R. Labs. You use your villain’s abilities to solve puzzles and complete the mission. Of course, there are the usually hidden items, Minikits, and collecting of LEGO stud pieces to fill a bar, in each level.
There are over 120 characters to unlock including Polka Dot Man (voiced by Greg Miller of Kinda Funny fame). The list of voice actors that played a roll in this game is astounding! Brandon Routh voices Shazam and The Atom, Gilbert Gottfried as Mr. Mxyzptlk, Jennifer Hale as Killer Frost, and even John Barrowman voicing his CW Arrow character Malcolm Merlyn. Traveller’s Tales has always done a great job at including very obscure characters from the DC Universe in all of their games. They continue to do it and make them interesting when learning about their abilities and personalities.
Aside from the story missions, there are hub worlds for most locations. Metropolis and Gotham are the two biggest and have plenty of side missions, racing challenges, and puzzles to solve to unlock more characters, vehicles, and extras. Throughout completing some of these challenges you will receive the famous Gold Bricks, which are a staple for the DC games, and you can purchase “Extras” to help with collecting studs and adding cool things like Studs, Minikit, and Gold Brick Detectors. The number of activities to keep you busy in this game is pretty normal for the LEGO games series. I have sunk over twenty hours into the game and there is still plenty for me to unlock and collect.
Gameplay in the LEGO games have not really changed over the last few years and that really is not too bad. However, I do wish Traveller’s Tales would have utilized R1, R2, L1, and L2 on the DualShock 4 in a different way. When using abilities they had an alternate use if you held down the button you were pressing. This caused me to use the wrong ability, not that it caused any problems. I did have an issue where the created character would get stuck in animations from using powers and the only way to get him free was to switch characters. I assume that the controller layout is kept basic due to the kid-friendly nature of the game, but at times it could get frustrating to keep hitting the wrong ability or accidentally turning off your flying ability and falling straight down.
LEGO DC Super-Villains doesn’t really build on the formula (no pun intended). The usual LEGO game activities and collectibles are scattered throughout the game giving you plenty to do. The shining beacon of this title is definitely the story and the cast of Super-Villains that create funny and memorable moments. Traveller’s Tales continues to create solid LEGO games set in the DC Universe and although the character customization was a bit lacking, the overall game is a great package to play by yourself, with friends, and family.