With a naive style, an arcade construction and an irreverent writing, Cosmic Mayhem is a love letter to all DC fans.
While the video game industry suffers the backlash of complaints about Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League, with the mute pressed to the limit, in the less talked about corridors and in full stealth mode, DC Justice League Cosmic Chaos peeps out on our consoles to tell us about a different side of superheroes: the naive and genuine one, which wants to present us with the everyday life of the Justice League with a much more cartoonish vein. We got to try it, to live this experience that allowed us to spend hours in total serenity.
A story that draws laughter
The narrative pretext of Cosmic Chaos is served on a silver platter, without too many decorations and embellishments. Mister Mxyzptik is one of Superman’s bitterest enemies: an elf from the fifth dimension, intent on teasing all the inhabitants of Metropolis by turning the city upside down.
The character in itself, in its editorial history, had become the protagonist of surreal events, and even took the challenge with the Man of Steel to the extreme: Not only is Mxyzptik invulnerable, but he also has unlimited powers, of any shape and form. Omnipresent omnipotent, the leprechaun therefore represents one of the most dangerous beings arrived in Metropolis. The story of Cosmic Chaos is inspired by his editorial misadventures, starting from that electoral campaign that Superman himself was forced to thwart, in a saga published in the 1950s, so as to prevent him from becoming mayor of the city. In the videogame version, Clark Kent along with Batman and Wonder Woman, with the remote support of Cyborg and other heroes of the DC universe (including Flash and Green Lantern) will have to thwart the elf’s misdeeds, all set up, as the premises suggested, with a very ironic and often irreverent key. In short, the whole story is punctuated by a series of jokes, by the hysteria of the citizens and by quite light-hearted toneswith a very pleasant balance, which seems to be aimed mainly at children, but which will be able to make even the most adults smile.
All the dialogues are always guessed, never repetitive – except in some combat sessions – and ready to entertain you, for example when Batman will claim to have something much stronger than magic, in the house: a butler.
An explosive and ironic trio
Cosmic Chaos offers three playable characters: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. You won’t need to choose a specific one, because you can switch from one to the other at any time, using three different health bars and chaining deadly combos. Each of the three heroes has unique moves, particular combos and even power-ups that will allow you to build customized builds.
The characters can strike both with melee attacks and with assaults from a distance: for example, we will be able to exploit Superman’s calorific and X-ray vision, or the famous Bat Man’s batarangs. Wonder Woman, for her part, possesses the lasso of truth and a number of specific abilities, which allow her to differentiate herself sufficiently from her fellow heroes. All three, in addition, they are dubbed perfectly by those who have played them for many years (Marco Balzarotti returns to take on the role of Bruce Wayne after Batman: Arkham Knight). The possibility of going to enhance the characters during the adventure partly increases the slight stratification of the gameplay, which is mainly based on melee combos, which unfortunately will soon become repetitive. Considering the reference target, it is not surprising that the difficulty curve is very soft, and therefore the various enemies you will face will not worry you in a particular way. The only attempt made by the team to increase the degree of challenge a bit was to insert sessions in which you will find gods mid-boss with a much bigger HP bar of individual minions, or to increase the spawn of enemies in already quite excited moments.
In both cases you will always be stronger than your opponents: this is because with each complicated mission you will suddenly advance in level, and there will also be the possibility of accumulating XP points through extreme farming on the world map. With a little more balance we could have enjoyed more depth to the combat.
It must be said, in any case, that the light-heartedness of Cosmic Chaos, aimed at pleasing a very young audience, allows us to turn a blind eye to such shortcomings. However, we would have expected, to enhance the transition from one character to another, the presence of environmental puzzles that required specific skills of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
An aspect that, unfortunately, is totally ignored, making the three characters replaceable at any time. In this way, the switch between the heroes ends up flattening: after the first few hours of the game, in fact, you will presumably get used to using one of the heroes of the Justice League (probably Superman, due to his more powerful abilities) and using him for the entire duration of the adventure.
An open world between dungeons and collectibles
DC Justice League Cosmic Mayhem is based on an open world structure that is fully explorable thanks to Superman’s flight, Wonder Woman’s lasso and Batman’s bat wings. To move around the scenario, you can also take possession of any vehicle you find in the city.
Each area has a recommended level of difficultyand will also indicate the rank of the opponents: it will be up to you to measure your thirst for exploration and venture into dungeons and side missions aimed at making you gain more experience, even if the already mentioned low-calibrated challenge rate does not set major limits to overcoming obstacles.
As for the collateral activities, there is a certain basic repetitiveness in the creation of the environments, characterized by not very inspired puzzles. During the progress you will also come across some more intriguing moments, with guessed playful gimmicks (such as a freezing indicator to keep an eye on in a frozen dungeon or a timed challenge) designed to vary the playful routine a bit.
Finally, we also point out a good dose of fan service when Cosmic Chaos makes available to the player the collection of DC comic pages scattered throughout the city: once obtained, they will allow you to buy costumes for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman inspired by the covers of some of the most significant volumes, among which it stands out also the one based on The Dark Knight Returns. These are very interesting quotes and details, which highlight the dedication placed in recreating a game suitable for all DC fans.
A vacation for superheroes, even in co-op
The work done by the PHL team on a visual level also deserves applause. In addition to brushing the whole world with bright and cartoony colors, the studio played very well with the lighting: to make you understand what we are referring to, it is enough to know that the movement of the clouds in the sky generates moving shadows on the game map.
Unfortunately, we have already talked about recycled environments, especially when we find ourselves accessing some interiors such as the houses of the inhabitants. However, this is a compromise that we gladly agree to, if we consider the ambitions of the production. On the other hand, Cosmic Chaos is a happy place to stay, where you can have fun without problems or worries. In short, the feeling that is perceived throughout the experience is that of find yourself in a cheerful superhero themed holidayand to maximize this sensation we think, among other things, a good co-op mode for up to two players.
DC Justice League Cosmic ChaosPlayStation 5 Analyzed VersionDC Justice League Cosmic Chaos is a pleasant and light-hearted game, which should be taken for what it wants to be: a love letter to DC’s younger fans, also capable of winking at the more mature ones. From the gameplay point of view, we are faced with a product without too many ambitions, with recycled assets and a very soft challenge curve, yet the whole adventure flows with ease. Even net of the structural repetitiveness, Cosmic Chaos remains an ideal game for novice users, who will be able to enjoy a light and genuine experience with their beloved superheroes.