Review – Lego DC Super Villains
The Lego games have followed the same formula ever since the release of Lego Star Wars way back in 2005. No, I’m not complaining about them. In fact, I firmly believe TT Games has nailed the core concept of what a licensed Lego game should be: simple gameplay that both kids and adults can enjoy, tons of content, as well as an excellent sense of humor. With the exception of a few licensed titles which used actual voice clips from their sources of inspiration, severely reducing their comedic appeal, all of the other games either featured slapstick mimicry or very good and funny original voice acting.
Lego DC Super Villains is no different. This game doesn’t try to innovate that much, instead focusing on what has made the Lego franchise so successful. It is hilarious, easy and accessible, has a lot of content, and it’s based off a famous franchise. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Lego DC Super Villains is the fourth game in the Lego Batman series. Its main twist is that, well, you’re playing as the villains this time around. All of your favorites are here: the Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Killer Frost, Malcolm Merlyn, and of course the greatest of them all, Condiment King. Despite the name, you should actually consider this game a “Lego DC Antiheroes” of sorts, as the plot involves assembling a team of bad guys to fight an even greater threat. No, this is no Suicide Squad, even if they make an appearance in the game. Thankfully, no “damaged” Joker shows up, only the good ol’ Mark Hamill one.
In terms of gameplay, the only main addition is the focus on a character you create from scratch. Yep, in a game series focused on shoving as many characters as possible in each title, your focus this time around is in one specific customizable character and it actually works. Your mute character (the game does make fun of that) has the power of absorbing new superpowers whenever you find special terminals, meaning that by the end of the game you’ll be the most powerful supervillain out there. The character creation menu is impressive. The previous games had character creators as well, but they look as shallow as the one featured on Lego Racers for the Nintendo 64 in comparison to this one. Not only you can edit your face, hair and outfits, but you can even customize the looks and color of your beams, as well as deciding if they come out of your hands, chest, or eyes.
Besides this, it’s business as usual. There is a wide assortment of mainline story levels, filled with humor and light puzzles, as well as secret unlockable levels and a big overworld full of secrets to unveil. This big open map follows the trend from the most recent Lego games; instead of one big but focused world, like Lego Marvel‘s Manhattan, Lego DC Super Villains‘ map is a freaky amalgamation of various famous locales from the DC Universe, such as Gotham, Arkham, Smallville, the Watchtower, Belle Reve, Metropolis, and much more. While the map is big, I still prefer having one cohesive map instead of lots of locales mashed together like a… well… Lego creation.
The best aspect of Lego DC Super Villains is, without a doubt, its voice acting. TT Games and Warner Bros spared no expense, they brought everyone you can imagine to this party. Kevin Conroy reprises his iconic Batman role, Mark Hamill is still having the time of his life as the Joker, Clancy Brown still knocks it out of the park with his Lex Luthor impersonation, and even Arrow‘s John Barrowman reprises Malcolm Merlyn in a far less serious role. You can notice everyone is having fun voicing those characters thanks to a fantastic script full of the dumbest but most charming puns you’ll ever hear.
Sadly, not everything is fine and dandy, because Lego DC Super Villains showcases some issues that are quite frequent in games from the franchise. Be it due to the limitations of the Switch hardware or the proprietary engine this game runs on, the framerate is inconsistent. Lego games have never been synonymous with jaw-dropping visuals, even if they’re always colorful and charming, but this one really struggles to maintain a mere 30 fps at times, especially when there are particle effects onscreen, such as rain or electric beams. Since a good chunk of the game takes place on an always-raining Gotham City, you can already imagine that frustrating performance moments aren’t few and far between. Thankfully, slowdowns weren’t noticeable during the main levels or cutscenes.
Lego DC Super Villains doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and that’s for the best. This is TT Games at its best, delivering a hilarious story with pretty good production values and a ton of side content. This might not be the best Lego game they have developed, that award still belonging to the first Lego Marvel Super Heroes game, but it’s pretty close. Besides, can you name any other game that has the Condiment King as well as a Wolfmother tune as its theme song?
The same colorful visuals you’d expect from a Lego game. The game suffers from occasional framerate drops, however.
Just like the visuals, it’s the same gameplay loop from more than a decade ago. The controls are simple and still responsive as ever. The driving mechanics when playing on the open hub are really clunky, though.
Not only is the soundtrack very good, but the voice acting is simply impeccable, featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and many more. Plus, a Wolfmother song in the title screen!
Fun Factor: 8.0
TT Games does its best job when it is allowed to create new and hilarious stories from scratch. Lego DC Super Villains is no different. Thanks to a hilarious script, tons of content, and some minute but interesting additions to the formula, the game manages to entertain from beginning to end.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Lego DC Super Villains is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.