As a comic fan, I didn’t expect Young Justice to be so good when I first heard about it. And then two seasons later, I was hooked, and so, apparently, were many others. But sadly, like so many other animated cartoons, the second season was its last, with no way for fans to experience that universe anymore.
Until Young Justice: Legacy.
Little Orbit’s Young Justice: Legacy isn’t just a licensed game that borrows the show’s characters and makes up a random adventure with them: it’s being created alongside the same writers, producers and voice actors who created the show, taking place in-between the two seasons. But just how closely does Legacy resemble the show?
When I sat down to preview Young Justice: Legacy with Little Orbit recently, there were a few things that felt immediately familiar from both a narrative and gameplay perspective.
Young Justice: Legacy is a top-down, squad-based action RPG, with up to three characters that can be chosen for your alpha squad out of twelve available. Fans of the series will see Young Justice mainstays like Nightwing, Ms. Martian and Superboy, some of the season two recruits like Batgirl and Beast Boy, and on-again, off-again allies, like Tempest and Kid Flash. The team can be fully customizable in abilities, equipment, and attire, allowing players to choose and level up powers, buy Waynetech armor to buff up attributes, and find/unlock costumes for different looks.
Much like the show, players will experience the hub area in Mount Justice, and can train with Black Canary to test out abilities, or accept missions from Red Tornado to progress through the game. During my time with Legacy, I got to try out three different missions across three different environments: one, a stealth mission in a warehouse, another an all-out brawl in the snowy Siberia mountains, and one a cross between the two that involved saving hostages. While gameplay will mostly involve tirelessly fighting henchmen and soldiers, these little differences in objective type help to keep the game feeling varied.
The stealth mission, for example, made my team need to move in and out of the shadows to avoid getting hit by snipers, until we could get close enough to subdue them. Occasionally enemy thugs came out to fight us, and I had to defeat these foes without being seen, or suffer losing an ally. The action mission was a straight forward “defeat foes and move on” stage, but occassionally the environment came to life and shot icicles out of the ground as we moved. The hybrid mission involved my team needing to find hostages and free them while taking on soldiers; stepping into spotlights triggered a barrage of ninjas to rain down from the ceiling and also add to our troubles. For the most part, the A.I. handled themselves well enough, but during the stealth mission it was frustrating to see them repeatedly run into a sniper’s sights, get downed, and then need me to revive them. Like most games of this type, you’ll want to play this game with your friends.
The demo I tried allowed me to choose between Aqualad, Superboy, Ms. Martian, Nightwing, Artemis and my favorite DC character of all time (though not necessarily as depicted in this universe), Kid Flash. The game had a sort of simplified X-Men: Legends feels to it, made to be accessible to all ages but still providing some diversity in playstyle. Kid Flash, for example, can turn himself into a windmill, a chargeable move which can spin in and out of crowds of enemies to do light damage and get out fast. He can also attack multiple foes at once with what looks like after-images of himself. Superboy, on the other hand, is a bit of a bruiser, landing large damage and clearing crowds with powerful moves.
I was a little disappointed to see that there wasn’t more of these differences inherent in the gameplay, like how in X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance certain characters had special unique perks: Colossus or Juggernaut could pick up heavy objects to throw, and only certain characters like Iceman and Magneto could build bridges of their respective elements. But again, I think Young Justice Legacy aims for an all-ages accessibility that’s easy to jump into by anyone in the family.
Over the course of the game, players will run into a range of Young Justice villains, including Bane, The Riddler, Icicle Jr, Klarion, Chesire, the Sportsmaster and Lex Luthor; when I asked Little Orbit if there was a specific villain headlining the story, they told me that there is a major villain coming at the climax of the story, one that they “couldn’t spoil.” Could this be the reason behind the major recruitment drive between seasons? Fans will have to see for themselves when the game releases in November.
Young Justice: Legacy will be coming to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, Wii U and 3DS: while I didn’t get to see the 3DS version of the game, I was told that the game will feature the same art style as the console versions, but the action will be a little more simplified since it will be aimed at younger audiences, incorporating more touch-based gameplay.
For a closer look at the game, check out the screenshots below (which include the PS3 and Xbox 360 box art), and the previously revealed screenshots and trailer. If Young Justice: Legacy can deliver some of the same action, suspense and fun of the animated series, then maybe, just maybe, fans will be able to keep enjoying the show in a new medium.
Long live Wally West!