LEGO DC Super-Villains spins the LEGO formula on its head to excellent effect.
This time, you’re not trying to save the city or beat the bad guys. You’re causing chaos, anarchy, destruction, and rubbing shoulders with the biggest bads in the DCVerse.
And if this game proves anything, it’s that the villains are just as iconic and memorable as any Batman or Wonder Woman. Maybe even more fun.
The Jokes on Us
LEGO games have played on some of the greatest franchises of all time – Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean – but it’s not always commended for being the master its own stories.
Sure, LEGO DC Super-Villains is based on the exploits of Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, and Solomon Grundy, but the story which brings them together, to fight against the city, and battle against our favourite superheroes is of Traveller’s Tales own creation.
And it’s actually pretty well done as the bad guys are finding themselves dubious and concerned over the rise of a familiar looking superhero group called the Justice Syndicate. No, not the Justice League. That’s an important differentiation.
See, the Justice Syndicate are from a parallel dimension, Earth Three, and are basically the same heroes you know and love but with new costumes and different names and personalities. They try to stop the Super-Villains from their dastardly ploys but there’s rarely any honor among thieves.
It’s also really sold by the first class voice cast. The cast is a who’s who of voices you’ve come to know and love from DC, whether that comes from previous games, animated shows, and even the TV series. Like John Barrowman reprising his role as Malcolm Merlyn from TV’s Arrow, and Mark Hamill coming out of retirement as Joker.
The actors are clearly having a blast and seem content with the source material in front of them in order to express the characters as clearly as they are represented with in-game mechanics.
It’s the same old LEGO flare where you smash things, get studs, collect bricks, and use each characters’ unique abilities to progress through each level. Reverse Flash, for instance, can take to a treadmill which propels him into another dimension where he must piece together a LEGO kit.
Captain Cold, meanwhile, can freeze lakes with his cold gun and create bridges to cross seemingly unpassable environments. And Cheetah can dig the ground to find hidden treasures and other secrets.
It all feeds into the DCVerse, but TT have expertly taken advantage of each villains quirk in order to make them valuable to the game and also feel independent of one another. They are incredibly faithful to their comic book counterpart, infused with LEGO charm.
There’s something different here, though. Even though the side quests play out in much the same way, your actions feel new. Now you’re spray-painting walls instead of saving citizens from heinous crimes. You’re driving over people and blowing things up rather than performing fetch quests or rebuilding things anew.
It’s basically the reverse of everything you’ve been doing in LEGO games, and that definitely tweaks the atmosphere and overall aesthetic of the game, yet it still manages to feel familiar even in the face of all the new chaos and mayhem.
Personally, this is one of the best LEGO games I’ve played. It’s up there with Star Wars and the original Batman in terms of the quality of content. This is Traveller’s Tales at their absolute best, having briefly lost their way with Incredibles and Marvel Super Heroes 2.
Each character is really allowed to shine, there’s plenty of fun easter eggs to uncover, and all told, there’s enough to keep you busy here for hours at a time. On the surface, though, this is much the same game you’ve been playing over the last decade. And that comes with all the familiar bells and whistles, good and bad, you’re already used to.
+ Fun, quirky story with a great sense of humour
+ Truly diverse roster
+ Great level design and overall build quality
– No major evolutionary leaps over previous titles
– Not massively difficult
LEGO DC Super-Villains
8 out of 10
Tested on PS4
Copy received by publisher