Monday 5 November 2018

LEGO DC Super-Villains ★★★☆☆

I’ll be honest with you, as a hardcore gamer there’s a lot of undue shame I feel about the amount of pleasure I get from playing Lego video games. Honestly. They don’t try too hard, they aren’t full of useless extra features, and they’re truly just out to have a good time. Way back when Lego Star Wars first came out, I was as suspicious as everyone else - but something about it just worked. I don’t know if it was the easy drop-in drop-out co-op, the insane customisation options, the satisfaction of collecting so many thousands of little studs after smashing set pieces to bits - these games have always been fun for all ages.

Lego Star Wars came out in 2005. It’s a full 13 years old if you can believe it, and since then there has been over 25 different licenced Lego video games. With so many of them being released, you’d be forgiven for thinking that after they’d bottled lightning, they were using it to run a money printing machine. Now, while you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, I put this question to you - does it matter if the game is still incredibly fun? At the surface, Lego DC Supervillains seems to play the same way as the classic titles. Enter map, beat enemies, smash objects, collect studs, solve puzzle, enter next room. But it brings just enough in the way of new mechanics to keep things amazingly fresh, too. While the standard enormous collection of playable characters is here, they all have individual styles, moods and voices. You also begin the game as your very own created character, which you can build from scratch, or build from an existing DC character if you aren’t feeling creative that day. 

The level of customisation is enormous, just as you’d expect from a video game by a toy company that prides itself on unlimited creativity. Creating your own character means you’re able to control which puzzles they’ll be able to solve and how they’ll deal with the enemies you’ll encounter. Everything in this game is fluid and interchangeable - bored of your own character and just fancy chucking pies as the Joker instead? Just jump into the menu and you can switch between characters mid-level. I love this feature, as it really does feel like reaching into the toybox when you change your mind, and leaves you free to enjoy the game your way. Speaking of the Joker, the legendary Mark Hamill lends his infamous Joker voice to this game. Hamill, Tara Strong and Kevin Conroy, who portray The Joker, Harley and Batman respectively, reprise their roles from the enormously successful Batman: Arkham video game series, as well as countless other vocal appearances as their iconic characters. If you’re a big fan of the expanded DC universe, you’re bound to hear some voices you recognise. 

Another stand-out feature of the Lego games has always been personality, and Lego DC supervillains has it in spades. The visual comedy alone makes the game a delight to play, as do the constant self-referential Lego gags, but the written dialogue is also incredibly well written and had me laughing out loud more than a few times. DC properties have taken a lot of flack lately for being too gritty, dark and edgy. The light-hearted and even silly approach that these games take makes them almost the polar opposite games like the Batman: Arkham series. Although I probably won’t be putting as many play hours into this as I did into Arkham Asylum or Arkham Knight, what other games will let me repeatedly smash my friends to bits with Harley’s hammer before turning into Superman and flying away?

My final thoughts are that while this game might end up being exactly what you expect, don’t take for granted how much fun you will have while playing it. If you’ve got kids who are into gaming this would make an awesome Christmas present, but I can guarantee that whoever plays it will have a lot of fun and a good few laughs. 

Jake Turnbull

LEGO DC Supervillains at CeX

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