DC Super Hero Girls: Teenage Power Review
If you’re looking for a dark, gritty, and violent video game set in the DC Universe, DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power isn’t. And thank goodness because it’s been more than covered – thank you very much Zach Snyder. This version of Metropolis is colorful and cartoonish, and its recognizable heroes and villains are high school kids balancing everyday teenage lives with their powerful alter egos – and for a change, it’s female power fantasy. As an action game, Teen Power brings together a bunch of core gameplay ideas, including combat and social media prowess. It works well enough, but there’s nothing deep or innovative about it, and the seemingly endless side quests end up feeling like a repetitive filler after a dozen hours or so.
Even though DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power shares its setting and character designs with the animated series of the same name, you don’t need to have watched the series to follow along. If you’ve even got a passing knowledge of the DC Universe, whether it’s through comics, animated shows, or movies, you’ll likely recognize all six playable characters. There’s Barbara Gordon, whose love of tech and gadgets comes in handy when she dons the Batgirl cape; Kara Danvers, a modern take on Supergirl with an edgy look and love of rock music; and Diana Price, a straight student by day and Wonder Woman by night. On the villain side, Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn, Selina Kyle / Catwoman, and Carol Ferris / Star Sapphire become available in the second half of the campaign.
There’s a lot to love about this cast of characters, especially the voice actors who bring them to life. Many actors from the animated series are reprising their roles in Teen Power, including the incredible Tara Strong, the longtime voice of Harley Quinn in the DC Animated Universe. Each character felt truly distinct, from the way he walks (or jumps, in Harley’s case) to his fighting abilities: Wonder Woman can use the Lasso of Truth to gather groups of wild teddy bears, Star Sapphire creates a “love cage” that traps and damages everything inside, and Supergirl’s heat vision comes in handy when you’re surrounded by rampaging robots. These attacks add a much needed variety to the combat experience, and it’s so satisfying to set off Harley’s bombs when you’re in a bind.
One thing that upset me about the characters, however, is how often their actions were driven by their obsessions with men. Barbara Gordon is described as a “Batman fangirl”, and although she doesn’t even live in Gotham anymore (and is in high school), Harleen still swoons over “Mistah J”. These nitpicks would be easier to ignore if Carol Ferris’ whole reason for living wasn’t to get back together with ex-boyfriend Hal Jordan (aka Green Lantern). She’s often shown stalking the poor guy, who literally curls up in fear when he sees her, and she’s clearly in deep denial of the state of their non-relationship. I know all of these storylines have their origins in other comics and shows and weren’t created specifically for this game, but it’s always uncomfortable when entire missions are built around this unhealthy behavior – especially if l ‘the main characters are considered to be all teenagers and therefore is the target audience.
DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power is technically an action game, but sometimes it feels more like a bunch of side quests and mini-games stacked up like kids in a trench coat. Most of the campaign missions are combat-oriented, where up to three characters can team up to fight off the uncontrollable toys threatening to destroy Metropolis. It’s a useful story, but not a memorable one. Rogue toys mainly serve as an excuse for heroes and villains to team up and fight a common enemy, this is how you end up with Harley, Catwoman, and Star Sapphire on your super team. Like heroes, villains have their own distinct set of moves and special attacks, but outside of combat there isn’t a significant difference in gameplay depending on your active character.
Combat takes place in standalone cut sequences, not open world areas, so you won’t encounter any rogue enemies before starting a combat mission. Up to three characters can participate in each combat mission, although only the main character is playable – the other two serve as AI backups. There were times when I fought the fight with Batgirl or Harley when a flying character like Supergirl or Star Sapphire would have performed better, and I really wish I could switch between them on the fly. When it comes to combat mechanics, combo building and special attack fights are reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham seriesâ¦ but only on paper. In practice, combat is more about mashing buttons than being precise, and the camera often works against you more than weak enemies, unless there are a lot of them. Landing a counterattack is more like luck than skill, and I found myself spamming as many special attacks as possible to get through battles quickly.
It’s a pretty low-stakes affair, and beating the hell of the possessed robots and dolls is a fun way to let off steam, but it’s not particularly fancy. Stars collected from battles and other missions can be used to boost HP, increase attack power, and unlock special attacks in a very light skill tree – plus a skill youngster, really. Each fight gives you rewards based on your performance, which is the only real incentive to try and master the combat system. You’ll see the words “level up” appear in fights, but these levels don’t mean anything, as they aren’t tracked anywhere else, and upgrades are handled separately.
DC Super Hero Girls: Screenshots of Teenage Power
When you’re not fighting, there’s plenty to do around Metropolis, which is divided into three neighborhoods that teens can reach by bus. In high school, you might see familiar faces like Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) and Jessica Cruz (one of DCU’s many Green Lanterns). Old City is home to the Sweet Justice ice cream shop and fashion stores where you can shop for new outfits and costumes. Then there’s Hob’s Bay, which is destroyed when Teen Power opens and is rebuilt by Lex Luthor. Forâ¦ reasons, Lex lets the teens decide the future of Hob’s Bay, which seems not to fly with the shareholders of LexCorp. This means that sometimes you will have the option of choosing a new building to decorate the Hob’s Bay skyline.
I just wish it didn’t seem unimportant. The Hob’s Bay Project is an important part of the plot, but most of the buildings you build have no real purpose. Newer fashion stores usually sell the same outfits as the old ones, multi-story apartment buildings can warp you on their rooftops but have no noticeable effect on the neighborhood, and you can put a cheesy pawnshop next door. of a luxury skyscraper without negative consequences. You can collect blueprints to build and assign mechanical guards to different sections of the bay, but I’m still not sure why.
Building the Light City is just one thing superhero girls keep busy with. There’s also Supersta, the in-universe social media network everyone is obsessed with. Some quests require you to take photos of trending landscapes or prominent selfies to gain followers and likes. On top of that, citizens will regularly ask for help in the dozens of “sub-quests” that complete an otherwise short campaign. I found myself looking for missing cats, helping an old woman cross the street, reuniting two lovers, chasing flying balloons, and taking pictures of the logos of heroes and villains graffiti around the city.
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These sub-quests add a lot of length to the main storyline, which can be completed in about six to eight hours, but after a while they start to feel the same. How many times do I have to help this old man find his cats, and why can’t he watch them? Why is it my job to find all the missing phones, teddy bears, and concert tickets in Metropolis? Of course, I did them anyway, as completing the side quests provided me with the money I needed to buy new clothes.
While the rewards have been my main motivation for many of the sub-quests I’ve completed, I’ve always found them to be quite enjoyable. DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power is the kind of game you settle into when you want to chill out with charming, cute, stress-free play. Sure, I might have rolled my eyes every now and then, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that Teen Power was designed for a much younger age group, but it’s full of healthy fun. Plus, it’s very satisfying to see your Supersta posts go viral, especially when the Daily Planet picks them up. But after 10 to 3 p.m., the gameplay just feels scattered and blurry – a jack of all trades and a master of nothing.