LEGO games need no introduction. They’ve landed thick and fast this gen, taking from several different source materials such as Star Wars, Marvel and now, the super villains of the DC universe. You know the drill, smash that, bash this, collect studs; rinse and repeat. That’s really been the series’ major drawback, its lack of evolution. The question here is, does LEGO DC Super-Villains do much to stand out? Yes, and no. In regards to its core foundation, much remains the same, but it’s a fun experience despite its similarities.
The game’s story is arguably its strong suit. You begin your adventure by creating your very own character; a necessity, which is a first for the series. The character is woven into the plot at hand and to credit the game, there’s a lot of customization on offer. You’re able to select how your character looks and what powers they’ll produce, from a deep pool of variations. Seriously, there’s no bashing the game for its creation suite here. Once you’ve selected your character and you’re happy with your villain, you’re ready to dive on in.
Much to be expected, you’re greeted with a cutscene that lays the story’s foundation. That is to say that the Justice League has been captured, and now, the Justice Syndicate and pretty much every DC villain will need to work together to get to the bottom of it. What follows on is a decently paced campaign that packs all the humor and charm that we’ve come to expect from the series. Throughout, you’ll work alongside (and take control of) fan favorites such as Mark Hamill’s Joker, Harley Quinn, Deathstroke and many, many more.
The game offers a healthy sized world hub that you’ll visit between missions. Here, you’ll find countless secrets, additional quests, new characters and so forth, to engage with. The further you progress and unlock new cast members, the more you’re typically afforded to explore. Safe to say that as far as its replay value goes, LEGO DC Super-Villains doesn’t hold back. Whether you’re revisiting older levels with new characters to access hidden areas or working towards that fabled max completion, you’ll find hours and hours of content within.
The game’s target audience does remain firmly aimed at the younger player, though with that being said, there’s no shortage of tongue-in-cheek humor to please the maturer gamer. Mercifully, the game’s controls are as fluid as they’ve ever been. Each and every movement and attack connects with flawless precision and accuracy, freeing the game of issues that many of its series’ predecessors suffered from. That said, there’s some issues with how its vehicles handle, being that they tend to feel like skating on ice more than anything else.
This made travelling through drawn-out sections feel much less enjoyable overall, pushing me to rely on characters that could fly to get from A to B. With that niggling flaw to the side, there’s little else to grumble about. The game’s easy to understand controls leave its accessibility wide open, which can also be said about its difficulty – or lack thereof. Making your way through the campaign wont prove to be all that taxing, despite the occasional brain testing puzzle here and there. These feed well into each level that encompasses them.
Many of them consist of the same tropes that we’ve seen time and time again; shrink your character to access consoles, flip switches to open doorways, et cetera, et cetera. Nevertheless, you’ll begin each level and will need to work through a series of sections to get to the level’s end. In true LEGO fashion, this pretty much amounts to smashing everything in sight in return for those all important studs, beating back waves of characters, and taking on the occasional boss. Boss fights are never usually all that tough to overcome.
Like most LEGO games of recent times, the visual design is top notch. The level of detail really pulls through quite nicely, toying with the game’s theme to great effect. I’ll also commend the game for its variation and location diversity, offering up no shortage of interesting scenery and environments to traverse. The quality of the game’s audio is equal to that, from its solid soundtrack right up to the wonderfully voiced cast of characters. My only major gripe is aimed at TT Games’ insistence on reusing the same loop, over and over.
The LEGO formula, as I like to call it, began showing its repetitive cracks several titles ago. Now, it just feels like the developer is somewhat ignorant to innovation and evolution. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing too bad about staying true to a winning format, but come on, lets not milk it to death in the process. TT Games really needs to up their game (pun intended) if they want to keep these titles relevant. There’s a plethora of fun and depth to be had here, there’s no denying that, but it’s nigh on time that we see something fresh.
LEGO DC Super-Villains has a lot of fun with its source material, and although it does indeed prove that it’s good to be bad, taking some steps away from its play-it-safe formula would have been much, much better. That said, there’s a plethora of exciting content, depth and replay value on offer here, making this a must have for fans of the series. Just don’t expect this to be LEGO’s defining moment.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.