Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Snowblind Studios
N Amer - 10/17/2006
Justice League Heroes Review
The Marvel Comics universe certainly does not have a shortage of superhero teams and while the X-Men stands out among the more powerful groups like The Avengers or the Fantastic Four, it is DC Comics’ Justice League that is the true force to be reckoned with since the roster does include the likes of Batman and Superman. Unfortunately, when it comes to games, Marvel beats out DC with games such as X-Men Legends and the recent Marvel Legends. Thankfully, we finally get a game featuring our favorite superhero team with Justice League Heroes but is this the game fans of the super team have been waiting for?
The answer is both yes and no. Justice League Heroes features an impressive lineup of heroes that make up the Justice League including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, the Flash and a number of other recognizable heroes that make up the team. Then again, the game borrows from Snowblind Studio’s repetitive hack and slash Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance so the game feels like X-Men Legends without the deep role-playing game exploration and side quests. Still, Justice League Heroes has a lot going for it as well as a good story written by comic book scribe Dwayne McDuffie.
Justice League Heroes begins with Batman calling in with a distress signal and Superman just so happens to answer it. It seems that an invasion of deadly robots have suddenly swarmed into the city. It seems that the meteor that his Earth has unleashed a threat to the world, one that somehow involves our heroes worst villains such as Brainiac, Gorilla Grog and Doomsday just to name a few of DC Comics’ deadliest foes. While the game forces you to pair up with the basic Justice League heroes (Green Lantern with the Flash in one segment and then Wonder Woman and mistress of magic Zatanna), you can later pick a pair of heroes of your choosing. Thankfully, by this time you’ll have unlocked extra characters such as Aquaman, Huntress, Hawkgirl as well as Green Arrow.
Much like X-Men Legends, each hero has his or her own unique powers - or in the case of Batman and the Green Arrow - his own unique skills. Superman, for example, has heat vision, the ability to fly, icy breath and his super strength. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman can deflect bullets with her wristbands as well as use her enchanted lasso. Aside from their powers, each character excels in packing quite a punch or kick as well as pulling off combo moves. There is some RPG-styled upgrading, allowing you to power up various aspects of your hero’s powers or skills. Therefore, if you want to upgrade Zatanna’s ability to turn half the enemies within view into harmless bunny rabbits all you have to do is to upgrade her Polymorph magic. You can even augment your hero’s powers by assigning Boost tokens you collect during the game. The Boost system allows you to mix and match six types of Boosts to give your character an extra edge in battle.
Unfortunately, even with these cool powers, the action is really quite repetitive. You’ll move through each level taking out numbers of drones and henchman in order to reach the level boss at the end. There are main objectives to complete with very little in terms of side missions. In addition, the hand-to-hand combat controls are rather dull to begin with and the power meter runs out quickly. The good news is that you can switch from one hero to the other instantly and you can issue orders to your computer-controlled comrade to go into a defensive mode or an aggressive attack mode with the D-pad. Even if your companion manages to go down in battle, he or she instantly reappears at every checkpoint. You will actually be thankful for that seeing as you will definitely need the extra help during the game’s epic boss battles.
The PS2 version of the game doesn’t stand out as well as the Xbox version but this doesn’t mean the visuals aren’t bad at all. In fact, when it comes to the character models and the cutscenes the game does look pretty good. Even on both versions the special effects are dazzling and lights up your screen rather impressively. Fans will get a kick out of watching Superman’s heat ray vision move across the screen shattering crates and destroying objects along the way or the way the Flash zips through the environment at super speeds.
The sound, on the other hand, is a lot better than the visuals since it’s made up of nicely detailed sound effects, a great score and good voice acting. The score is wonderfully cinematic and becomes dramatic in all the right moments throughout the game whether you jump into a boss fight or attempt to save civilians from an onslaught of henchman. As far as the voice acting is concerned, there are some great acting on the part of Ron Perlman (as Batman) and Michael Jai White (as the Green Lantern). The sound effects are wonderfully detailed as well.
In the end, Justice League Heroes might be a wee bit repetitive when it comes to the action but thanks to a great story, loads of upgradeable powers for each hero and a strong lineup of characters, this games does our favorite super team justice. It would have been great if the game piled on more characters to use much like Marvel’s new game but if this is but the start of a new franchise, we can come to expect good things from the sequel. If you’re a fan of the comics, you will enjoy this game.
|Review Scoring Details for Justice League Heroes|
You’ll wish the hand-to-hand combat moves were wee bit better but thankfully, the majority of the characters have great powers that do justice to the heroes. Unfortunately, some heroes just feel a bit off like Martian Manhunter and Aquaman. The power upgrades are distributed nicely, allowing you to power up your Justice League character with a number of cool powers.
The game looks pretty good on the PS2, although you’ll come across some jaggies. Otherwise, the cutscenes work beautifully and the character models really stand out. Yet what will ultimately put a smile on your face is watching the powers light up the screen.
The game’s voice acting is handled wonderfully seeing as some great voice talent handle the role of some of our favorite heroes. Even the soundtrack gives the game its cinematic feel, growing dramatic in all the right moments. The detailed sound effects work wonderfully within the game’s action.
For the most part, the game is actually fairly easy since each character can heal rather quickly but then again some boss fights will certainly give you quite a workout. You’ll be grateful to have Superman on your side, that’s for sure.
At last, a game featuring all the familiar Justice League teammates we’ve come to love since the comic was introduced. The game does toss in a number of unlockable heroes like Green Arrow and Hawkgirl as well as alternate costumes for just about every hero (including a classic version of the Flash).
Lacking the four-player co-op of X-Men Legends, Justice League Heroes allows you and a friend to take on the game’s story mode together and thus makes for a richer experience. Really, this is a game you will want to share with a friend.
While its dungeon crawler roots make for a slightly repetitive action game, Justice League Heroes is packed with all the right goodies to make this a fun new series with a lot to offer. With an impressive collection of DC Comic’s finest characters, fans will certainly have a lot to like about this game.
While its dungeon crawler roots make for a slightly repetitive action game, Justice League Heroes is packed with all the right goodies to make this a fun new series with a lot to offer
Reviewer: Nick Valentino
Review Date: 10/30/2006