How Good Does It Feel To Be Bad?: LEGO DC Super Villains Review
TT Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment return with LEGO DC Super Villains. Each time TT Games releases a new title, I am astounded by the amount of fun one can have in their LEGO-centric sandbox.
TT Games have spent the better part of the last six year's focused on superhero properties. Except for a few interstitial titles and the toy-to-life platform LEGO Dimensions (gone but not forgotten), TT Games has found solace on leaning on the DC and Marvel catalogue of characters.
In LEGO DC Super Villains, as the title may suggest, you are given a toy box filled to the brim with DC’s acclaimed evil-doers. This includes the beloved Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, and Sinestro. While all the A-list DC villains you know and love are playable, there are also a ton of lesser-known villains available as well.
Yes, even your own customizable baddie. I present to you, Marty McFly.
TT Games has put a lot of care into the character customization. You can spend hours tweaking every little aspect of your character. As you progress through the game, you'll unlock new features and change your character outside of each level.
After the disappearance of the Justice League, a strange but familiar group known as the Justice Syndicate appear in the Gotham and Metropolis area. Travelling from Earth-3, the Justice Syndicate’s presence raises some suspicions and their intentions may be a bit nefarious.
It does not take long before our ragtag team of villains begin to realize that perhaps they were better off dealing with Batman, Wonder Woman and the like. They set off on a string of missions to gather a greater rogues gallery and put an end to the Justice Syndicate’s plan.
Along the way, you’ll play through some of DC’s iconic locations. From Arkham Asylum, to the Green Lantern Corp.’s headquarters on Oa. There is always a respectable amount of love and craftsmanship that goes into each level’s design.
LEGO Super Villains is a stunning showcase of the intricate way the LEGO bricks build out the foreground while leaving a rich and detailed backdrop. Each level is jam-packed with small nods to their respective IPs for fans of the DC properties to point out.
Looking back on the unfortunate demise of LEGO Dimensions; a platform I held in high regard, LEGO Super Villains is proof that although the games-as-a-surface model was perfect for a LEGO property, eventually it would hold TT Games back.
TT Games has gone on to create the most detailed minifig characters we have seen in a LEGO game. From the shine each character has when passing by a light source, down to the small textures within each minifig piece. Naturally, there is a cartoon-ish vibe throughout but seeing the level of detail instantly pulled me back to the days of rummaging through my LEGO sets and inspecting every detail.
Traveling through the large hub-world between Gotham City and Metropolis is seamless. Crossing the borders between the two cities will shift the lighting completely. The dichotomy between Metropolis’ bright and sunny vibes, to Gotham’s dark and fluorescent colours are as distinct as one should expect. You are given a ton of option of how to travel. Cars, bikes, and planes are all available to unlock and use. Controlling vehicles have never been strong in LEGO games. The sensitive controls take a bit of getting used to, and when you have playable characters such as Reverse Flash and Reign, flying or running felt more comfortable.
Within the two cities lay the usual side-content offerings LEGO games support. With hidden Gold Bricks, races, and character missions, there is quite a bit of optional content to go through when shooting for 100%. Some of the character missions result in having to complete small fetch-quests. However, there are more than a few side-missions that have you go through small mini-games. A lot of them had me smiling in their silliness or their creativity.
TT Games have never been a studio to mess with a good thing. After playing through countless LEGO games, I have found that the recipe never really changes from one game to another. Which I find is equally a strength and a weakness.
Upon each release, I look forward to jumping into a large sandbox built from LEGOs. Each release I know precisely what I am getting. There is no second guessing, but that also means there is no mystery. TT Games has played it safe once again. There is very little innovation within LEGO DC Super Villains. However, this has allowed TT Games to focus on bringing life to the rogues gallery within.
It is always a delight to see Mark Hamill behind the voice of the Joker. The same can be said for Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, and Kevin Conroy as Batman. Although Batman’s role is a bit short-lived, the main cast of characters we are introduced to all play their roles and stand on their own. Even characters I am not familiar with; Gorilla Grodd and LiveWire some good lines of dialogue.
The one weak link of the bunch is the character you create. After spending a good chunk of time customizing “Marty McFly”, he quickly gets shoved to the side in favor of the established characters. No voice lines, and not much of a personality.
The crux of your created character is the ability to absorb energy, which in turn gives you additional powers. As these abilities stack up, you begin to feel like a Swiss Army knife. The idea of building up this all utility character to spend the bulk of your time with is a great concept. However, the mark was missed slightly. Instead of spending time with the character I took the time to create, I spent a lot of my time going through the game as characters I knew to hear their recorded dialogue.
Boss battles have always been a way for TT Games to focus on the combat mechanics creatively. Typically the shooting, punching, and smashing are always relegated to breaking apart LEGO pieces for studs or mindlessly defeating waves of minions throughout a level.
When boss battles enter the fold, combat takes a creative shift and mix in some interesting puzzles. One that stuck with me was a battle early on in the game. Your group of villains get into a confrontation with Poison Ivy. Fans of LEGO games may be accustomed to the gameplay loop throughout these battles. Though the change of pace and action set pieces within is always welcoming.
At the end of the day, LEGO DC Super Villains is yet another delightful title in the long-running LEGO games franchise. There is a certain level of comfort to knowing exactly what you’ll get within a game.
TT Games does not go out of their way to reinvent the wheel. Instead, LEGO DC Super Villains stands as a testament to the wacky fun LEGO games consistently offer. TT Games' character creation has a good foundation. My hope is with a little more work, this aspect can be fleshed out and become a mainstay when applicable.
Available October 16th
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Switch
WB Games Canada provided a code for LEGO DC Super Villains for review purposes.