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By Patrick Day-Childs 29th Oct 2018 | 2,390 views
Traveller’s Tales has always managed to squeeze something fresh into its LEGO games, to one extent or another, but with LEGO DC Super-Villains I feel like this is the first time that the developer has really pushed the boat out in recent years.
LEGO DC Super-Villains stands as a testament to what Traveller’s Tales can accomplish when it pours a little love into these franchised titles. With an interesting story, a wide array of characters, and some highly varied settings to explore, this is truly one of the strongest LEGO games I’ve played – and I’ve played a lot of LEGO games.
It opens with a new villain - one that you create. On top of the usual array of customisation options you’re also able to give your villain different powers and have the ability to change how each power looks. These customisation options expand as you progress through the game, but you have a huge amount to fiddle with from the get-go. I had the joy of playing the game with my young son and he particularly enjoyed the customisation options, placing Parademon wings on his LEGO character "to make him look like grandad".
Referred to as the 'rookie', you embark on a quest with some other ne'er-do-wells to break out of prison. Your super power, as it turns out, is the ability to absorb other super powers (where have I seen that before?), making you one bad-ass menace. After a short crime spree the Justice League show up to ruin your fun, but they're zapped away by the Justice Syndicate, an evil version of the Justice League from an alternate universe. It turns out that the latter are actually worse for our rag-tag squad of villains and so you find yourselves chasing after the actual heroes to try and save them.
There are several twists and turns throughout the story that came as real surprises, and the level of writing is impressive, especially considering that the game is aimed to a young audience.
The narrative takes you across several varied locations - some dark and dingy, others full of life and energy - and it's a genuine pleasure to explore each level. In terms of freeroam, the world is divided up into several sections, with the two major areas being Metropolis and Gotham. Traveller’s Tales really managed to capture each cities' own individual personality and key features, with the former being a light, vibrant city and the latter being a dark, miserable one.
Locations such as Smallville can be found too, and there are a bunch of side missions that require the use of lots of different villains, and plenty of light puzzles to keep you distracted. The races also make a return, along with a massive array of vehicles. DC fans will smile to see the likes of Red Hood’s motorbike pop up. One final thing that stood out to me in this title is that in multiplayer you can both set separate waypoints, allowing friends to head about doing their own thing during free roam.
In terms of new gameplay elements, some characters can now call on henchmen to help them reach otherwise unattainable places, and there's a tepid attempt to evolve the series' platforming elements with the introduction of moving platforms and more challenging sequences, but on the whole it felt like Traveller's Tales was too shy to really advance the formula.
Other gameplay additions include mazes, where you use the shoulder buttons to spin a board, moving your character around like a marble and using gravity to reach your objective. These become more complex as you advance, with for example the introduction of ropes that you need to jump between, but to such an extent that it can feel a bit tedious.
A lack of QA sometimes rears its head; I came across several glitches, some of which forced me to restart from previous checkpoints because characters became permanently stuck. But on the whole LEGO DC Super-Villains is a fun, polished gameplay experience.
With over 150 characters to play through, 200 gold bricks to collect, and a total of 20 levels to work your way through, LEGO DC Super-Villains offers a huge amount of bang for its buck. If you’re a LEGO fan, or looking for that game to bond with your kids over this half term, then LEGO DC Super-Villains is ideal.