Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Review
The Highly Anticipated Sequel To LEGO Batman: The Best-Selling LEGO Video Game Of All Time.
The highly anticipated sequel to LEGO Batman: the best-selling LEGO video game of all time, which sold over 11 million copies worldwide; Traveler’s Tales’ LEGO Batman 2 DC Super Heroes hit stores on June 22nd 2012 to great success. The sequel joins Batman and Robin as they team up with some of DC’s most famous super heroes to fight the Joker and Lex Luthor as well as a huge host of other infamous villains.
The story begins as millionaire Bruce Wayne and presidential candidate Lex Luthor are pitted against one another for Gotham City’s coveted ‘Man of The Year Award’. Naturally our secretly caped crusader wins the award, much to Luthor’s annoyance; but, just as he is about to pick up his trophy, the Joker arrives to cause mayhem. Naturally the Joker is soon apprehended and sent back to Arkham Asylum; but Lex, still fuming from his loss and with an eye on the Joker’s patented laughing gas, decides to break him free in the hope that the gas will aid him with a electoral victory over the masses.
While the game play follows the usual LEGO dynamic of smashing up the scenery, collecting studs, building items and solving a few puzzles, there is one thing notably different from the offset. This is the first game in the LEGO series to include dialogue. Previously the cute little block-heads were expected to put on a slapstick mime-show for our amusement, but LEGO Batman 2 is the first experiment with actual dialogue. This is a risky move considering the physical humor that has been so well honed over the past games, but it pays off. With some lovely little quips and one liners, as well as some wonderful voice acting - most especially from Superman, who highlights the differences between his and Batman’s personality very well through their differing voices, and of course the Joker with his grating voice and cheesy jokes. The soundtrack is also a wonderful addition to the fun gameplay, with the iconic Batman score playing in the background and melding seamlessly into John Williams’ Superman Theme whenever you take to the sky as the man himself.
The different styles of gameplay between the characters creates a varied experience each time you play, with certain puzzles only unlockable by certain characters. The Dynamic Duo have access to a wide range of changeable ‘suits’ which can help them unlock different aspects of the scenery and solve puzzles. Batman has the Power Suit (Giving him super-strength and the ability to place and fire bombs); the Electricity Suit (Giving him protection from bolts of electricity and the ability to power certain objects); the Bat Suit (Giving him a soaring capability and sonar gun) and the Sensor Suit (Giving him x-ray vision and the ability to turn invisible); While Robin has the Acrobat Suit (Giving him the ability to swing from poles which he can place in the world as well as turning into a ball); the Snow Suit (Granting him invulnerability to cold as well as an ice cannon); the Hazard Suit (Allowing him to breathe under water and the ability to shoot toxic waste and water when he is standing in it) and the Magnetic Suit. The sheer number of suits available to the pair give you an impression of how many different puzzles and unlockables there are available in this game.
While Batman and Robin have to scrounge the LEGO-verse finding portals with special suits in order to manipulate the scenery, Superman can do most of these moves naturally; such as super-strength, x-ray vision, laser vision and ice breath. As he is also completely invulnerable unless encountering Kryptonite, he is also of great use in a fight and cannot fall to his doom due to his ability to fly. During a multiplayer game, after having unlocked the Superman character, you do find yourself thinking “Now I know why Batman hates Superman so much. He can do everything!” A very accurate character trait they have managed to highlight so well by having to play both of the characters during the narrative.
As far as the multiplayer system goes, it is somewhat flawed due to the employment of split screen. While this is completely necessary and Traveler’s Tales have done a great job of making it dynamic, there is still the issue that certain parts of the map cannot always be accessed unless the other player is within range. For example: Batman wishes to hook onto a ledge up above while Robin is fighting goons on the far left. Consequently Batman’s aim is unable to reach the ledge up above until Robin comes back into shot. While this is by no means a game-spoier, it is a little bit annoying that you are unable to control your own camera when the screen is minimized by multiplay.
The sheer size of this game is amazing. Not only are each of the levels playable by many different characters to unlock different aspects of the scenery; but the holding area between levels is actually an open world of Gotham City which you unlock as you play through the main quest line. There are interactive puzzles as well as citizens in distress and hidden objects scattered around the city, as well as wonderful LEGO brick homages to Gotham scenery such as the Zoo (with rideable lions!), Wayne Manor, Wayne Enterprises and Arkham Asylum. On top of this there are also a shed load of unlockable characters, both heroes and villains, available to find throughout the game who you can then play as.
While LEGO games may be seen following the same formula and not bringing anything particularly new to the gaming world, they are nonetheless doing what they do well and improving the formula each time. This is by far the best LEGO game that we have seen so far showing promise for its future franchises, including the highly anticipated, newly announced Lord of The Rings. It is fun, engaging and a collector’s dream with so much to search and explore, added to the therapeutic edge of smashing up blocks only LEGO can provide. The voices add a nice new comedic dimension to an already entertaining series and the sheer size of the game is worth every penny you spend on this extremely fun experience.
Anastasia is a Freelance Illustrator, Writer and Actress based in Wales, UK.
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