Producing an annual series of games is grueling, producing an annual series of games consistently of high quality is borderline mythical. TT Games have produced solid and entertaining experiences based on Marvel and DC Comics properties, nearly annually, these past few years. Their latest, LEGO DC Super-Villains doesn’t add any major innovations so much as it rearranges the priorities, yet it still manages to deliver a glimmer of freshness through its smallest details.
LEGO DC SUPER-VILLAINS
Developed by: TT Games
Published by: WB Interactive
Available for: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
The story behind LEGO DC Super-Villains will be instantly familiar to DC fans. Superman, Batman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League have been whisked away by Earth-3 versions of the league who call themselves the Justice Syndicate. If this feels familiar, that’s because it’s exactly the skeleton of Geoff Johns and David Finch’s Forever Evil comics mini-series.
TT Games doesn’t follow this map panel-for-panel, instead, the studio takes some liberties that manage to entertain even those who know the comics beat for beat. Harley Quinn takes a dominant role as she’s the first to see through the guise of the syndicate and becomes the one tasked with recruiting other villains to defeat them. In the comics, the Crime Syndicate, as a blunt object of evil, was blatantly malice intended from the start. In LEGO DC, this group adopts the guise of trying to fool everyone into thinking they’re the good guys. It leads to some game exclusive scenes between characters like Jim Gordon and Owlman where the difference in disappearing acts with Batman is played up hysterically. Other pairings have similar scenes including the mistrusting tension between Lois Lane and Ultraman’s alter-ego Kent Clarkson at the Daily Planet.
You’ll play through a lengthy story of evil vs. more evil and come away well regaled. Just don’t expect any reinventions of the wheel along the way. LEGO DC Super-Villains doesn’t depart from the gameplay of the previous titles in any way. You’ll break objects to rebuild new objects in order to progress through each level, fighting fragile plastic bad guys along the way. Even the game’s key feature this time out isn’t new, it’s just put into more of a spotlight. You’ll begin the game by creating a custom costumed baddie out of dozens of Lego part choices based on the roster of DC characters. As “the rookie” you’ll be the silent background protagonist who sort of exists to Deus Ex Machina the whole story when needed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as your lack of speech and dialogue plays well against the commentary about it from villains like the Joker and Lex Luthor.
What raises the stock of DC Lego Super-Villains is its performances. This is leaps and bounds from the no-dialogue days of the first Lego Batman game. The game reunites just about every key voice from the history of Batman The Animated Series to modern DC Animated Universe movies. Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, Greg Cipes, Michael Rosenbaum, Tara Strong, Susan Eisenberg, Michael Ironside are just some of the names reprising their iconic animated roles here. It feels like one giant animated crossover of every key DC Animated property that’s ever existed. And not to mention Mark Hamill’s Lego Joker is now one of my favorites ever.
TT Games goes a bit ambitious by miniaturizing the geographical world of DC Comics in order to create the new overworld you’ll start missions from. Gotham just across a bridge from Metropolis which is at the end of the turnpike which the Legion of Doom have that swamp headquarters. Is this ludicrous comic book real-world mapping? Sure. But questions are for nerds and you’re about to get stuffed in a locker. Outside of the gameplay starting to show its age a bit, this is really the only thing in my hours with the game that even bothered me slightly.
Overall, the game is another solid entry from TT Games love letters to the comics fans hold dear. You won’t find anything groundbreaking, but you’ll be thoroughly tickled by the performances of one of the best voice cast ensembles ever brought to a video game.
8.0/10 – LEGO DC SUPER-VILLAINS delivers the most fan-pleasing comic adaptation experience DC has ever had in games. It might be more of the same but the quality of that repetition is well worth another look.