Game Reviews Nintendo Wii U Scribblenauts Unmasked - A DC Comics Adventure

Scribblenauts Unmasked - A DC Comics Adventure Nathaniel Stevens Featured

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Written by Nathaniel Stevens     September 29, 2013    
 
7.4
 
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Release Date
September 24, 2013
MSRP $
59.99
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Unlimited it is not, but unique it is. Let's get into this.

If you're a fan of the DC universe then you're going to be in absolute heaven with the recent release of Scribblenauts Unmasked - A DC Comics Adventure. It takes everything absolutely beautiful about the Scribblenauts universe and surrounds it with a nice DC Universe wrapper. So, if you're a fan of said universe then you're going to find a lot ways to get things done in this game. There in lies the rub of the game, though, as not being a fan might add just a bit of confusion on how best to handle things to get the most reward. For example, if you're needing to accomplish a mission, say trying to take down a villain like Darkseid's son, you could go the usual route of creating your own arsenal (like a tank) and take him down, or you could create something or someone related to the DC Universe to take care of business. The more creative you are with disposing of villains or correcting situations, the more reward you earn.

Dancin in the Streets

Again, of course you will have to know a bit about the DC Universe to fully grasp it. Otherwise you either sit around and explore the encyclopedia of DC characters in the Batcomputer database, or you simply move around it. It's going to require effort on the part of the gamer, and some may simply not be interested in giving it. That's my biggest worry with a title like this, and something I experienced since I'm a huge Marvel Entertainment fan. Don't get me wrong, though, I respect the DC Universe, as it has certainly produced some of the most popular super heroes of our lifetimes (and our parents/grandparents), but I didn't expect this sort of embedded DC Universe love to be in the game. It's very embedded in the risk/reward factor, which may hurt the game in the long run.

That being said, it's very impressive how embedded the DC Universe is in the game. It's more than just two licenses coming together to make a game. The level of integration really shows that developers from 5th Cell really gave a damn about the gamer's experience with their title. You gotta love that and admire it a bit. Having an almost complete library of DC Universe characters are your disposal is nothing short of 'epic'. Think about how many years that covers, how many series that covers and how much time went into producing that; simply put it's crazy, but in a good way.

So about these rewards for knowing your DC Universe, the better you do with solving puzzles, the more reputation points you earn, which leads to unlockables (such as costumes, items and continues -- all valuable when you create your own super hero in the game). You get more rep points for being creative with your solutions to some pretty tough problems. Along the way, to earn extra points, you have challenges set forth by folks like Mxyzptlk (a character that is known to be in the Superman universe). During his time, he challenges you to use only certain words and adjectives to find solutions to certain problems lying around Metropolis. For example, in one challenge he requests that you use only words related to food, which is insanely more difficult than it sounds. This provides a nice amount of challenge for the gamer, and gives a break from having to learn everything about the DC Universe. It's much tougher than anything you would find in Unlimited, though, so don't think it's a piece of cake. Lord it's the opposite of a piece of cake… which would probably be no cake at all. Still, it does shake things up a bit.

Assorted Heroes

Along the way through these puzzles and challenges, you still get a nice amount of expanded vocabulary to work with, in addition to the DC Universe vocabulary. The amount of solutions you get for problems seems endless, but being choosy about said solutions is the key to succeeding in this game. If you use too overpowering words or you re-use words, you get docked points. That certainly makes you think twice before offering a solution.   Again, it's crazy huge on 5th Cell's part to put all of this together, so you have plenty of wordy weapons at your disposal. In other words, the series isn't different in that respect, rather it's expanded.  

Shifting gears just a bit, the presentation of Scribblenauts Unmasked is on par with other Scribblenauts games of the past. The models are all cutesy, the DC characters take on that mold as well, so you don't depart too much from what you're used to seeing in this series. Overall, I'm really impressed by the unique models that 5th Cell has created for this title. There are so many DC Universe characters to accommodate with unique costumes that I can't believe they actually did it. The easiest had to be the Green Lantern Corps, but that's about as far as it goes with easy.

One big improvement in the presentation category with this game is the inclusion of certain pieces of music that reflect the adventure you're on. For example, you get a bit of that Dark Knight Rises background music during the Gotham stage, though I don't think it's note-for-note with the original soundtrack. Regardless, it adds some flavor to the levels, and each level has its own flavor. Music drives emotion, and doubly so when you're feeling stuck or frustrated -- and you will often in this game.

Riddle

So is this game fun? Well, that's where I have to question it. It feels a bit more restrictive than Unlimited, as you have to live within the DC Universe, and live by its rules to get properly rewarded. Granted, it does say 'Scribblenauts Unmasked - A DC Comics Adventure' on the package, so you should know what you're getting into with it, but if you're not a hardcore DC fan this might seem like a little bit more work than usual. I went into this game thinking how cool this was going to be with super heroes, but the amount of work to fully enjoy those super heroes seemed a bit overwhelming at times. Don't get me wrong, 5th Cell has it laid out all there for you to do well in this game, but the typical amount of work it takes to complete a Scribblenauts game seems to have increased with the inclusion of the DC Universe. That's not to say the initial story isn't an easy task, rather to get the most out of the easy task you have to know the very best solutions, which seem more DC related and that could potentially cut down the fun for most people. The inclusion of character creators is nice, and getting more elements by completing tasks is encouraging, but there needs to be some leeway for those non-DC fans, or non-comic fans. I'm not sure every gamer is going to be up to the task for this one, especially if the rewards really don't reward non-DC Universe folks too much. DC Universe fans? They'll be in absolute heaven.

Editor reviews

At the end of the day, the value of this title hinges on your dedication to the task at hand. For me, I found this game to be a lot more work than expected. Like I stated earlier, I'm a huge Marvel fan, so learning an entire universe just to benefit my reward in this game really does hinder the fun factor just a bit. I want to learn a lot more about DC, but not be forced to do so. Maybe 5th Cell could have integrated the universe a bit more into the dialogue and story, so that you learn as you go. That would have benefited everyone in the long run. As it stands, there's a bit much here that holds back a smooth, fun experience like you would get in previous Scribblenauts titles. It is both a blessing and a curse.
Overall rating 
 
7.4
Gameplay 
 
7.0
Presentation 
 
8.0
Value  
 
7.0
Fun Factor 
 
7.0
Tilt 
 
8.0
Nathaniel Stevens Reviewed by Nathaniel Stevens September 29, 2013
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1017)

Summary

At the end of the day, the value of this title hinges on your dedication to the task at hand. For me, I found this game to be a lot more work than expected. Like I stated earlier, I'm a huge Marvel fan, so learning an entire universe just to benefit my reward in this game really does hinder the fun factor just a bit. I want to learn a lot more about DC, but not be forced to do so. Maybe 5th Cell could have integrated the universe a bit more into the dialogue and story, so that you learn as you go. That would have benefited everyone in the long run. As it stands, there's a bit much here that holds back a smooth, fun experience like you would get in previous Scribblenauts titles. It is both a blessing and a curse.

Videogames

Gameplay
There is a lot going on here and the sheer girth of this game with the inclusion of the DC Universe is going to make the gameplay seem endless. Of course, it's going to seem slower and longer if you're not a fan of the DC Universe, which might actually work against 5th Cell's efforts. If you get into it, though, then you will find a wealth of fun to be had. The challenges, puzzles and story all lend well to the universe created.
Presentation
The typical look and feel of the series, but with more costume super heroes in the character database, all of them beautifully created. The music in this game is also a huge plus.
Value
There's so much going on here. You get a lot of challenges to go through, a bevy of super heroes to earn and use and the option to create super heroes of your own. On the flip side, you have to work really hard to earn them, learn a lot about the DC Universe and think on your feet. Sounds like a challenge, right? More than you know.
Fun Factor
Having the option to play with a 'side kick' is nice, and even the ability to create your own character is pretty cool. With that said, if you're not a diehard DC fan, it's going to be a slow process of succeeding to the maximum level in this game. 5th Cell completely provides you with the opportunity to succeed with the super hero database they provide, but most people who play this don't want to stop for a large amount of time and do research to get the maximum reward. If you are that person then you'll love this game (looking at you DC fans!).
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