I was initially excited about Scribblenauts Unmasked. As a diehard comics fan, nothing seems better than having access to the entire roster of DC Comics heroes and villains, as well as the opportunity to create your own. While the prospect of Wonder Joker terrifies me in ways I can't even begin to describe, I'm certainly tempted by the idea of turning the entire Justice League into Aquamen.
At first, Scribblenauts and DC Comics might seem like the perfect match. Like the Green Lantern corps, Maxwell's magical notebook can summon anything his imagination can dream up which is surely the ideal crime fighting tool. But it's not in the concept the game falls down, but in the presentation. And that's where a little history lesson is needed. So pull up a chair and, as resident comics nerd here at Official Nintendo, let me lay some comics knowledge on you.
You see, last year the DC comics universe was rebooted (as the DC universe is every five to ten years or so). The so-called 'new 52' featured fresh designs and relaunched comic books for every character. It's a move that has alienated a lot of comics fans and, for me, it's disappointing to see that the New 52 universe is one that's heavily featured in Scribblenauts Unmasked.
Darkseid has his goofy chinstraps. Harley Quinn is the awful clown-goth thing from Suicide Squad. And yes, we've seen alternate versions of Batman (sharp eyes can spot, for example, the Russian Batman from Superman: Red Son in the Unmasked trailer) but he's a major character. Will minor characters like Harley and obscure villains like Darkseid get more than one of two options?
It's not just nostalgia that makes it a disappointment to see those versions being pushed. The classic designs are iconic and they'll be the ones familiar to most gamers. Even I had to take a second to recognise Harley in the screenshots, plus it seems inconsistent The Joker, for example, looks the same as he ever does, as do Superman and Batman. Wonder Woman, however, is clearly in her New 52 outfit with silver instead of gold accessories. Surely it'd make more sense to have a unified look across the characters?
Especially given the fact that these characters were most recently featured on the Wii U in Injustice: Gods Among Us looking much closer to their iconic versions.
So while the prospect of a fun game about creating your own superhero certainly has legs, I can't find it in myself to be excited about a game based on the new DC Comics universe.