Brick by brick, Batman will rid the world of evil.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is the sequel to the original Lego Batman game released a few years ago and follows Batman (& Robin) in their quest to stop The Joker and Lex Luthor who have teamed up to wreak havoc on the world. Lots of familiar faces show up along the way, the majority of which are taken from Batman’s insane Rogue’s Gallery; along with a few of DCs other, less Batman-y heroes – the main one of which is Superman.
The biggest differences in this sequel are the inclusion of voice acting (a series first) and the ability to free-roam around the whole of Gotham City – vehicles and all. The voice acting throughout is top quality and really helps the story, offering a big improvement from the first game in which the story played out in a confusing matter by means of gestures from each character. The other major difference in this game is the ability to free-roam around Gotham City whenever you are not involved in a level, while this is fairly cool and adds hours to the experience it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out and I found I just wanted to get on play the levels. Now, this is just me, there is a lot to do in the glorified hub-world that many people would absolutely love, I just never got into it and liked the fact that you can completely ignore it and just follow the pink studs to your destination. This may be due to the fact that I played the entire game in co-op mode however; as every other open world game I spend a long time exploring the nooks and crannies, stopping to take in the sights and sounds (as well as completing a few side-quests), I just could not be bothered with it in this game – the stuff to do is fairly limited, but quite fun nonetheless.
Gameplay-wise the game feels exactly like any other LEGO game – you smash stuff for studs (in order to unlock the game’s many characters and vehicles) and you solve puzzles ranging from very easy and obvious to not obvious at all – and here lies part of its strength, the LEGO games have used the same winning formula for years, why fix something that ain’t broke? It’s just as much fun playing the core game here as it was with the Star Wars franchise, sure there have been a handful of changes along the way (the main new aspect of core gameplay in this one is the ability to fly around as any of the flying characters, and it’s as fun as it sounds), but you’re getting essentially the same experience just with a different cast of characters and story – take that as you will.
However, the game is not the smoothest experience, with frame-rate problems throughout that are worth mentioning, but not game-breaking. In fact, the game comes with a host of technical issues throughout, glitches and bugs that stop you moving or push you off the level through no fault of your own, screen-tearing persists throughout and camera angles that seem to just be there to annoy and infuriate players for no real reason. Again though, these may be issues just found in playing the game co-operatively, as the camera system is really just broken, perhaps too clever for its own good: for example, when trying to aim at a particular point of the level, the other player will move, moving the camera and therefore making the simple task all but impossible; hopefully Traveller’s Tales will find the perfect camera system, but at the moment you just seem better off in playing LEGO games single-player.
The game is still fun to play however and each level provides a unique experience that can be played as many times as you like and before and after each level plays a cut-scene explaining the story with a genuinely funny script that gets Batman just right in a humorous way: you will be laughing a lot when Superman is introduced, just seeing the pain in Batman’s face because he needs help from Superman (but refuses it) is enough to justify the whole game. One final nitpick comes with these cut-scenes however – they are just too quiet compared to the rest of the game, this obviously comes from compression, but it’s an issue Traveller’s Tales should have ironed out, as the voice-acting is quite a big deal for the game.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes improves on the first game in several ways, but in some ways the simplistic charm of the original feels missed. The game has too many technical imperfections for its own good, often slightly spoiling the experience for the user and the massive open-world hub-world (also a series’ first) isn’t fully realised despite the fact that flying around Gotham City as Superman with his signature theme tune blasting through the speakers is amazing. Despite all this, Lego Batman 2 is a good game that is fun, funny and very silly – three aspects Batman is clearly well known for.
While not the best LEGO game (or Batman game for that matter), LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is fun and nerdy enough for any DC fan to get a kick out of its cast of colourful super heroes and villains.
P.S. The game looks nice to boot.