Fish and Chips, Ice-cream and sprinkles, bacon and eggs are just a few examples of perfect partnerships that work together fantastically. When it comes to video games putting the universe of DC Comics and the world of TT Games’ LEGO has always been something very special for me as a fan of both and LEGO DC Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has to be my favourite game so far. Not to say the MARVEL LEGO games are not amazing but there is just something about them visiting the DC universe that elevates everything to new heights. So, when the big twist came in the announcement that the next chapter in the LEGO DC series was going to be focusing on the iconic Super Villains of DC, my fanboy glee was off the chart. Thankfully, the game more than lives up to the promise the name of it created.
I completely fell in love with the idea of this game as soon as I watched the first announcement trailer as I have been hoping for them to return to DC for quite some time but never actually considered them making the villains the stars of the game. Something else I never actually considered was giving the player the ability to make their own Super Villain and make them the lead star of the story, so even before pressing the Start button my excitement was off the scales. It is such a brilliant idea to incorporate a system that has always been a side part of all LEGO games, the character customizer but to actually write it into the story itself is rather refreshing. In fact, it is the first thing you get to do as a player in the game as the opening sees Commissioner Gordon bringing criminal files for Lex Luthor himself to review, one of which is of your player. You can decide the gender of your super villain, costume, weapon choice and skill set that they will start with. You can also decide if they are a speedster or not which doesn’t actually count as a super power but will mean they will have super speed by default if you choose.
As you play through the game, your super villain will learn new super powers as part of the story as more become unlocked through new characters or story events, so even if you are unable to give your created character the superpowers you want to begin with, by the time you complete the main story you will be able to go full on with the powers you want them to have. Now I have a great imagination and decades of comic book reading experience across both DC and MARVEL comics to draw on, but just imagine the younger audience actually getting to create their own character to put in the game and how awesome it will be for them to both play and see their character on screen. My very good friends’ little girl was kind enough to help me create my first character for the game in ‘Laser Girl’, with her trust baseball bat named Lucille and the super power of laser beams and it was amazing to see this little lady get so creative in making her own character for the game which can be fully edited at any time especially when new characters are unlocked to the roster and new items are unlocked to be used in the customizer.
The story itself is also one of the cleverest so far for a LEGO DC game which will see the Super Heroes of the Justice League mysteriously vanish only to be replaced by the Justice Syndicate who claim to have been asked to watch over the Earth as the Justice League are on a secret mission off world but nothing is as it seems with these guys. Coming from a different Earth in the DC Multiverse, they are similar to the heroes we all know but also different so for Superman we have Ultraman and Super Woman instead of Wonder Woman, Power Ring for Green Lantern and Johnny Quick for The Flash. Lex Luthor and the other Super Villains begin to suspect that something is not quite right here and soon it is very clear that the Justice Syndicate may actually be the evil versions of the Justice League, and instead of celebrating their chance to run things their way, they realise that in fact, they may have to actually be the heroes instead or risk these new super powerful villains taking over the world instead of them.
The best part of TT Game’s doing DC over them doing MARVEL is that they are able to bring together the iconic voice acting cast from across DC animation and TV that fans will no doubt know and love. Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong and Mark Hamill provide the voices for Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn which alone would be something incredibly epic but then they also went into the Justice League animated series for some of the characters with Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor and Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash and not to mention even visiting the CW ArrowVerse with John Barrowman voicing Malcolm Merlyn and Brandon Routh voicing Shazam and The Atom. Now sadly not every character is voiced by the talent fans will know, it was a shame not to have Tim Daly voicing Superman for example, and die-hard fans will notice who is missing, but the very fact they managed to get so many of the original voice actors for this game alone makes it truly special and impactful.
The story is really well written and paced very nicely across the levels which will have the player not only controlling their own created character throughout but also additional super villains as the Legion of Doom investigate what the Justice Syndicate is really up to. Levels will take players all over the DC Universe from Gotham city to Metropolis and even Apokolips War world itself and can put groups of characters together to play as during levels. The level of detail in the animations of each character just shows the passion of TT Games team when it comes to all thing DC and the little extra touches in their powers and skills had me smiling like a numpty throughout playing this game. It will be absolutely worth just playing as all the different characters you can to experience how different they are even if they have the same skills or power set. Levels are multipart and blend in well with the sections of just getting to the next story missions which can be a little free roam as well as having their own story element to them.
The puzzles are all pretty simple and will not be taxing even to a younger audience playing and feature puzzle styles seen in the most recent LEGO Games so will be very familiar to players. Something I thought they did really well is that as tradition with all LEGO games, is that in order to 100% a level for collectibles you will need to come back once you have completed that level and repeat it in Freeplay mode which allows players to use any character they have unlocked on the roster. What I really appreciated was in how these sections which can only be done in Freeplay mode will tell the player that, previous games do not do this so you will only find out by failing to do it the first time but in having the game tell the player right away it can only be played in Freeplay not only saves time but also points out where to go when you do replay the level in free play mode. What I would recommend is to actually complete the main story first before going back in Freeplay as it just makes the game more enjoyable and fun to do it that way, for me at least anyway.
The roster itself is huge at 162 and will only get bigger when the DLC packs release for the game and yet again, the Season Pass is kept at a very respectable pocket money level of £11.99 which is something I love about the LEGO Games in how it keeps the DLC so affordable. With DLC packs that will focus on the Aquaman film due out at Christmas and the CW DC ArrowVerse and more, there are plenty of reasons to invest time into this game in the months to come. The roster itself is pretty great just as it is in the main game with all the villains you can name and a few you may not as well as other Super Heroes who get a moment to shine as well. Outside the main story levels there are side quests and races to unlock more characters and vehicles offering a massive amount of content to play. Unlike MARVEL Super Heroes 2 which suffered a limited roster due to licensing issues so it had to leave out X-Men and Deadpool which was noticeable for fans, having all the DC characters here just makes this a real joy for DC Comics fan of any age which boosted by the staggering humour of LEGO games really makes this a true no brainer to have in your collection.
I really have to commend the passion and attention to detail that the TT Games team have put into this game which can be seen in the animation of characters, the story and voice cast for the game and in just how much effort has been put into making this such a fantastic game to play. The combat has been refined so feels more fluid although boss fights can still feel clumsy in their execution but the animation definitely feels as though it has been tidied up say compared to LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes 2 which is a good thing. There are times however where the camera itself can be more of a nuisance then a help in certain set pieces and when the group of playable characters is big, switching between them can be annoying and fiddly.
But overall LEGO DC Super Villains is a highly polished and well thought out game that highlights the very best of the LEGO games series and of the DC Comic book universe and is just incredibly fun to play and even more so to see all the little nodes and Easter eggs as a die-hard DC Comics fan. I am having such a great time unlocking the rest of the roster and just being in the LEGO DC universe which is exactly what I hoped this game would offer for me.
Being a Super Villain has never been more fun, and being bad along side Joker, Lex Luther and the evilest of all villains in Condiment Man is a superb way to celebrate all things DC and LEGO.