Image Credit: This image was taken by the author via Xbox Live, from the video game LEGO DC Super-Villains. The aforementioned image is taken from the game's DLC (downloadable content) which depicts the 2018 film Aquaman. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
It appears I have been mostly inactive for the last twenty-three days, considering I have not published a blog entry at The Modernist Son since December 1, 2020. Originally, I had planned to step away from writing for the entire month of December. Evidently, this only lasted a few weeks. I must confess, I have been thinking about writing quite often. I wanted to take a moment to unwind during the holiday season, however, writing has always allowed me to relax in its own way. Moreover, writing has always been a way for me to (mostly) forget what is going on in my life at the time, and focus on something I love. Needless to say, returning to writer's life earlier than expected will prove to be more beneficial to me during the first "COVID Christmas" on the island of Newfoundland. During the month of December, I finished the 2018 video game LEGO DC Super-Villains. This particular video game was produced as a spin-off from the LEGO Batman video game series (2008-2014), but has proven to be a spiritual forth installment in its own right. This game does something I really like, the narrative shows the player how DC's heroes and villains easily and willingly unite when facing a common enemy. Therefore, many of DC's super-villains are not entirely evil, but have primarily delusional aspirations. Although I have been a fan of the LEGO video games since about 2008, 2018's LEGO DC Super-Villains has become my favourite of the franchise. In the following review article, I will discuss aspects of the video game which allows it to stand-out from other LEGO video games that have been mass-produced since 2005.
Image Credit: "The Green Atom", a custom super-villain-turned hero from the video game LEGO DC Super-Villains. Throughout the video game narrative, the player's custom character is referred to as "The Rookie". This image was taken by the author via Xbox Live. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
Enter "The Rookie":
LEGO DC Super-Villains first hit the shelves of consumers in November of 2018, which made it a "must buy" holiday gift for LEGO fans around the world. Interestingly, I think this particular game tells a story better than its predecessors. Drawing from the beginning of the video game's narrative, players are provided the opportunity to create their own custom villain. Creating a custom character is necessary for the development of the plot, and Super-Villains has been the first LEGO game to do this. Players will find themselves starting the game as a prisoner, as their custom character has been incarcerated for a somewhat unknown crime:
Whilst en route to Stryker's Island with a "special subject," Commissioner Gordon receives word from Detective Renee Montoya that The Joker has broken into Wayne Tech. Dismissing this to focus on the task at hand, Gordon proceeds to Metropolis. Arriving at Stryker's Island, he meets with the incarcerated Lex Luthor, seeking assistance regarding a very peculiar suspect. This mysterious individual had been apprehended following a break-in at a laboratory previously owned by Professor Ivo, a colleague of Luthor. Ivo and Luthor had both taken part in the 'Amazo' Project, an android capable of stealing powers from heroes.
The mysterious individual arrives accompanied by Lex Luthor's personal bodyguard, Mercy Graves, disguised as a security guard. Mercy reveals herself to those present and successfully releases both Lex and the rookie villain from custody. The trio proceeds throughout the penitentiary, reuniting with Cheetah and Solomon Grundy along the way. The group delves further into the facility to break out Metallo, who is able to apprehend Superman following his arrival. They proceed out to the coast, followed by the newly released prisoners, where they are intercepted by the remaining members of the Justice League, and Batman. (Lego DC Super-Villains (Video Game 2018) - Plot Summary - IMDb)
Under the order of Lux Luthor, "the Rookie" becomes an integral part of fighting a common enemy- The Justice Syndicate. Initially, this new Justice Syndicate appear to be alternate universe equivalents of the Justice League of America, and nothing else. However, the player soon learns the "Justice Syndicate" are truly a group of super-villains known as the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3. (Crime Syndicate (Earth 3) | DC Database | Fandom)
The Crime Syndicate have joined forces with Darkseid throughout the video game's narrative, such that they have aspirations for a common goal- destroying Earth. This proves to be interesting because for the first time in video game form, DC's heroes and super-villains must join forces to face a common enemy. Although their different values and beliefs are abundantly clear to the player and comic book fans, the presence of the Crime Syndicate threatens to change a balanced way of life in Gotham City and Metropolis. Furthermore, the Crime Syndicate easily convince citizens of Metropolis that the Justice League have become truly evil, while joining forces with the Legion of Doom. This proves to be significant because the Legion of Doom and the Justice League demonstrate a love-hate relationship with one another, and determine they need each other in order for their roles in life to mean something to the people of Metropolis and its surrounding areas.
Let's talk about Lex Luthor:
Video Credit: This video of Lex Luthor was published by YouTuber "Venatus" November 12, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2020. In the above video, Venatus controls Lex Luthor and brings destruction to Metropolis. (click the link to see more)
Credit: @JoeMooreDesgin via Twitter. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
I'm a comic book fan, and have been since I was about seven years-old in 2003. Not surprisingly, I understand that Lex Luthor is truly evil. In terms of Luthor's personality, he lacks genuine compassion for others and often demonstrates selfish behavior. Evidently, this video game proves Luthor's true nature to players and comic book fans around the world. Although Luthor takes the Rookie "under his wing" more or less, this was a means of distracting the Legion of Doom from Luthor's real plans. Furthermore, Luthor plans to destroy the Earth and be known as the greatest super-villain of all time. Interestingly, I believe Luthor has earned that moniker.
Keeping Luthor's evil nature in mind, he "sacrifices" the Legion of Doom three times during the course of the game's narrative. In the final stages of the main story, heroes and villains have united to protect Earth from Darkseid and the Crime Syndicate. Following Darkseid's defeat, Luthor manipulates the portal which sends the Justice League and Legion of Doom back to earth, however, the former are stranded on Apokolips, (home of Darkseid). Not surprisingly, Lex Luthor attempts to convince citizens of Metropolis that the Justice League had sacrificed themselves, and demands he be named emperor. However, the Justice League soon return through the portal and Luthor is charged for his crimes. The Joker, whom of which is one of the main characters in this game, reminds players that Luthor is truly evil. When Luthor demands the Rookie join him in a life of crime, The Joker comments on how Luthor cannot be trusted, provided the player chooses to join the Justice League:
If the Rookie chooses to become a Hero, Lex is hurt by the decision, though Joker reminds him that he tried to send him to the other side of the universe. The two fight, as Livewire teleports them all away, except Captain Cold who awkwardly runs off. Afterwards, the group head off to fight crime anyway. (Lego DC Super-Villains (Video Game 2018) - Plot Summary - IMDb)
I really enjoyed playing this game, and felt it was an interesting spin of the heroic Machiavellian traditional games within the LEGO franchise. Interestingly, this video game proves that villains and heroes can willingly join forces, provided that something bigger threatens their mundane experiences. Although I bought this game in early 2019, I stepped away from it for over a year and that is why I completed it just a few days ago. Getting an expansive perspective on what it means to be a villain within the DC Universe was a fun experience, and I look forward to a potential sequel in the future. A sequel is not impossible, considering the four-year gap between the first two LEGO Batman video games, (2008 and 2012). Nevertheless, I would easily rate LEGO DC Super-Villains 8.7/100.
(c) The Modernist Son, 2020-