So, how hard is it to develop a superhero-based video game? Some would say not much. I would say it is. We enter Justice League Heroes. The latest video game entry to feature spandex-wearing superheroes saving the day. The plot is your run-of-the-mill superhero story-arc which pits the Justice League of America(JLA) against your everyday baddies ranging from The Key to Gorilla Grodd.

The game starts you off, in what would seem to be, Metropolis during a sunny afternoon. You take control of Superman and Batman in attempt to figure out what the hell is causing great chaos in downtown Metropolis. So immediately right off the bat(pardon the pun) you are thrown into battle to figure out the culprit of said chaos. Graphically the game looks much better than X-Men Legends(which I’ll be referencing in this review). The character models are smooth and don’t look as blocky as those found in X-men Legends. The backgrounds are fully 3D and are interactive. You can use Superman’s super-strength to lift up cars AND fly with them(double tap triangle) for swatting flying enemies out of the air or when you’re simply walking in the ground you can smash them to the ground and watch as the explosion kills them. Snow Blind Studios did a very good job with the graphics. And the game flows smoothly with some nice animations as well.

The gameplay is where the game doesn’t really shine as much. You use the ‘x’ and ‘o’ buttons for punches and kick combos that come in handy all the time. And with the simple tap and hold of R2 you will see a layout grid at the top left(or right if you’re playing 2nd player) with what mimics your PS2 dualshock button layout. Each button has a different ability that you can use to vanquish evil. It’s very much similar to that of X-Men Legends and I would have wished for it to be a little different. It’s your typical beat ‘em up game. But, it doesn’t have the team work dynamics that are emphasized in X-Men Legends 1 and 2. For starters you are only allowed to use 2 characters max. Something I wasn’t fond of. I was expecting four player melee action. You’re paired in groups of two throughout the entire game and it really doesn’t help since all the characters don’t level up at the same time like that other game I’m comparing this one to. This really ruins the game because the characters you don’t use in the beginning will be your weakest ones and the game does not allow you enough time to level up the characters you don’t end up using.

Which brings us to the way characters level up in this game. It’s very….different to X-Men Legends in the sense that you get the option to “boost” up their superpowers, health, and their health/energy regeneration rate. You’re able to do this with the help of Boost Token’s that are found throughout each stage and amongst each foe you defeat(kill?). They vary from speed to range to damage tokens. For example; Batman, he uses his mighty Batarangs in battle. You’ll have 3 slots open, which means that he can throw 3 Batarangs at a time. You equip a speed Boost Token and he’ll throw them faster. You equip a range Boost Token and he’ll throw them farther. And of course damage is what it is. You can also combine these Boost Tokens to unlock much better Boost Tokens that will go in numerical order from two to four(four being the greatest).

As for character balance, I don’t know what to say. Zatanna is clearly the best of them all. She has range, she has power and she has the ability to turn her enemies into bunny rabbits. Nothing can really touch her at all. So, if the game were to let you use Zatanna only, you could just run through the game in a matter of minutes with her. The Flash can be quite good as well. But, that’s after leveling him up in a few stages.

All in all, I enjoyed the game for what it was. It’s not as thorough as X-Men Legends is. But, there is room for improvement and I really hope that Snow |Blind Studios does a sequel and give this game some damn good justice(pardon that pun as well). The real aspect of the game that they should improve upon is the multiplayer portion. Two players is not enough. It doesn’t give us enough time to enjoy the entire cast. And yes, there are secret characters that you can unlock as well. So that would bring the game to a total of fourteen heroes. And in a short game like this, it’s not enough time to enjoy 14 characters.

Final Rating: 6.9

- Deathscythe

No comments: