You Can Build The Justice League You’ve Always Wanted in DC Legends [NYCC 2016]
Have you ever believed you could build a better Justice League roster than the actual Justice League? This November, you'll get your chance. Warner Bros Entertainment is entering the mobile strategy game arena with DC Legends, a new role-playing game that puts you in control of DC mightiest heroes and deadliest villains.
With all the efforts DC is putting into revitalizing its publishing arm, having a tie-in video game (of sorts) makes perfect sense. We saw a bit of DC Legends in action at New York Comic Con, and came away intrigued by what Warner Bros. Entertainment has in store for the DC Universe.
Going through a soft launch now, DC Legends will hit iOS and Android next month. Creative director Sean Dugan guided us through some gameplay, which might feel familiar to mobile game comic fans. It's no small stretch to say DC Legends has a bit in common with Marvel Future Fight, Netmarble's team-building RPG set within the Marvel Universe.
It also has plenty in common with other RPGs in this style. It is curious how perfectly RPGs like this fit comic book universes, but I'm not complaining. Though DC Comics does dabble in the video game realm, none of the current offerings --- Injustice, Batman: Arkham, DC Universe Online --- allow you to build a team of characters to use when trying to save the universe.
Set in a slightly different DCU, where Nekron is attempting to rid the universe of all life, DC Legends starts things off on Oa. There, you'll encounter Black Lantern Manhunters, eager to take out the Green Lanterns before they have a chance to enter the fray. You'll get to see other locales like Metropolis, Gotham and Themyscira, but Nekron and the Black Lanterns have a lot of aggression to take out on the Corps to start. We mostly saw battles take place across Oa, including in the Lantern tomb. Oh yeah, Nekron is trying to raise the dead as an army, too.
As you and your team of heroes fend of Nekron's forces, you'll encounter Wraith versions of familiar characters. While not entirely undead iterations of Batman or Black Canary, these Wraiths are doppelgangers intent on putting a hurt on you and your Justice League. You'll be able to earn the right to recruit the normal version of these Wraith characters after you defeat them, but there are a number of currencies in the game that help you unlock characters, too. It's a fairly common system in this style of mobile game, but it works.
If you're worried about encountering too many of the same character in your journeys, don't be. Each character has multiple versions in DC Legends that offer different play styles. Every hero and villain has a set number of abilities you can use in a fight, based around the Mystical, Energy and Physical traits (DCL's Rock, Scissor, Paper mechanic), but you could have two different versions of Batman that offered different ability paths. Caped Crusader Batman is a melee whiz, but Dark Knight Detective Batman has some more strategic abilities that command the battlefield.
Combat is simple to grasp, with each ability being clearly displayed on the screen, and cooldowns the only thing stopping you from spamming overpowered attacks on the enemies. The turn system is a little mysterious, but that's what happens when you jump into a demo in the middle of a game without taking part in the tutorial. The action looks good enough on screen, with actual meta abilities have some strong animations. The more traditional combat isn't bad to watch either, but almost every RPG game has hand-to-hand that all looks similar. Few have Green Lantern slinging big ol' fists made of green energy, or Black Canary sonic screaming enemies into walls. No matter how many other games have this kind of gameplay, they don't have that.
It's a little to early to say just how good DC Legends could be, or whether or not it has any longevity, but it's a solid start to be sure. Launching on both of the major mobile platforms at the same time is a good call, too, and hopefully both iterations will see the same kind of daily and weekly support. While it's likely not going to fill the void left by Infinite Crisis, it does let you field a team of all Batmen. So there's that.