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Developer:
Snowblind
Publisher: Warners Bros. Interactive
Platform: PS2, Xbox, DS, PSP
Release Date: October 2007

by Josh Ferguson




A few years ago, Marvelís X-Men team made a name for itself in RPGs with the release of X-Men Legends. With the success of X-Men Legends, it was only a matter of time before the most popular comic book team in the DC Universe, The Justice League, made their appearance in RPG form. This came with the release of Justice League Heroes in October 2006.


In the beginning of Justice League Heroes, a meteor comes crashing down to the Earth's surface. Following the crash of the meteor, the DC villain, Brainiac, has been receiving mental pictures from whatever is inside. The only problem for Brainiac is that the Justice League managed to recover the meteor first, and in order to fulfill his master plan, he must first recover it from the League. Brainiac sends a large group of robots to storm the grounds of Metropolis, attacking any civilians in sight. The game starts to build from there, and will take players into very familiar places throughout the DC Universe, including Metropolis, Mars, and Gorilla City.


Obviously, throughout Justice League Heroes players will be taking on the role of the Justice League. There are a fair amount of characters to play as, with a wide array of powers and different fighting styles. Whether you play through the game alone or with a friend, Justice League Heroes features two-player action. The formula in the game is similar to that of Baldurís Gate: Dark Alliance, which is a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. Sadly, though, as players progress through the game, many of the levels will be restricted to only using certain characters. This wouldnít be a big deal, but chances are most players will want to go through the game as their favorite member of the Justice League, rather than having to be forced into using a certain one. This restriction of characters also causes a lot of trouble in the replay value department, because players will basically be doing the exact same thing with the exact same characters, causing replays to be less exciting. It would have been nice if you could have at least switched it up with a replay, but sadly, that isnít available.


The combat in the game isnít exactly anything new, and is basically like any other hack-and-slash dungeon crawler out there--not that this is a bad thing, though. Each of the game's characters has a strong attack and a fast attack for melee attacks. Aside from that, each of the game's heroes has their own unique superpowers. The difference between this game's superpowers and most others is that each of the heroes comes equipped with their most recognizable powers from the get go, helping to keep the beginning exciting. After all, Superman just wouldnít be Superman if he didnít come equipped with the power of flight or his heat vision. Aside from the few powers that each hero comes with in the beginning, there are also a few others that each character is able to learn. The new superpowers in the game are learned through the whole leveling-up process. When your character gains a level, they will also obtain spending points to either increase the effectiveness of an ability or gain a completely new one.


Once a player has unlocked the character's ability, it is possible to make them even more powerful by using boosts. There are six different types of boosts: damage, efficiency, range, luck, speed, and duration. Each of them has an effect on an ability when fused to that ability. Boosts also come in seven different types of strengths, with level one being the weakest and seven being the strongest. While the lower levels are easily obtained throughout the game, the higher ones will most likely have to be created by the player. This is an easy process where the player goes into their menu, selects the three different boosts that they would like to combine, and then it becomes a completely new one with a different strength. Players are able to slot one of these boosts for each time they have leveled up an ability.


Throughout each of the game's levels, players will come across small coins that can be used to purchase different unlockables. These unlockable items include a few new characters and a whole bunch of alternate costumes for the Justice League characters. An interesting concept with the costumes is that not only do they make your characters look completely different, but each gives a character a certain advantage and disadvantage. For example, one costume might give the character more experience points and less health, or more attack power and less energy for their superpowers. Between your skill points, costumes, and boosts, Justice League Heroes allows for a nice amount of customization.


As I mentioned earlier, Justice League Heroes has a few different characters that players will be able to unlock. While unlockable characters usually lead to some replay value, the problem here is that with the character restriction, players wonít even be able to test out their newly acquired characters until they reach certain levels of the game. I donít know about you, but I can't see too many players wanting to have to replay half of the game or so before they can actually use their unlocked characters for the first time. Sure, the unlockable characters are a nice bonus, but it could have been done a little bit better.


One of the worst things about Justice League Heroes is the fact that it's a bit on the short side. Sadly, the game easily can be completed in a single weekend. As I said earlier, there is a little bit of replay value for additional length, but the replay value could have been done better.


Graphically, Justice League Heroes is a good-looking game. The cinematics, while sort of limited, look nice, and are basically where you will find out most of the actual story line. Each of the character models in combat look great, and appear just as if they were in the comics. The environments in the game are also very good looking with a large range. In other words, with the amount of detail that has gone into this game graphically to make it appear like the DC Universe, this game should make any fan happy.


The sound in Justice League Heroes is also one of the game's strong points. Fans of the Justice League cartoon might be a little disappointed that the voice actors from the show donít voice the characters in the game, but for the most part the voice acting is strong. With the exception of Superman, who seems off a bit, everyone else does the job well and wonít disappoint. As far as the music, Justice League features a good soundtrack with some nice sound effects along the way, too.


While the game has some flaws with replay and the unlockables, if youíre a fan of the X-Men Legends games or other hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers, then you will certainly enjoy Justice League Heroes. Fans of the DC Universe should more than likely love how much work went into the game to make it actually seem like the comics. While the game might appeal most to fans of the Justice League comics, even gamers unfamiliar with Earth's Mightiest Superheroes can enjoy this co-op adventure.


Final Grade: 76%




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