REVIEW: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Title: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Platform: Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3 / PS Vita / PC / 3DS / Wii / DS (Reviewed on X360)
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
TL;DR: LEGOs. I mean, c’mon. Frickin’ LEGOs.
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LEGOs. How they are a testament to childhood memories. Growing up, we always felt the urge to play with strangely shaped objects and to create things. What better toy to give your kids than a set of strangely shaped and colorful blocks? Put them together and your kid will either come up with the next masterpiece or a Picasso. Which…could be a masterpiece…depending on who you ask.
I digress. Traveller’s Tale and Warner Bros. have teamed up to bring us some amazing games in the LEGO vein. While I haven’t really touched on any past LEGO games, I decided to give LEGO Batman 2 a whirl.
Why I have never picked up a LEGO game before, I don’t know. Sure, this game isn’t perfect, but at the same time, it’s a reminder that good games don’t always need obscene amounts of violence, peering down a scope, and a lot of cussing. With a little bit of cheeky humor and comical sound effects, you might as well guffaw every time you punch Lex Luthor in his shiny chiseled…uh, cheekbones?
As the stage is set in LEGO Batman 2, the Man of the Year awards ceremony is being held at the Harborside Theater in Gotham City. Home boy Bruce Wayne, in all his round yellow LEGO-ness, is competing against Lex Luthor, some shiny bald-headed chump from out of town. And who else would show up at the party but The Joker? He doesn’t just bring the one-liners and the puns — he also brought along some friends.
LEGO Batman 2 wastes no time in tossing the player right into the fray. After Joker makes his taunting appearance and leaves Batman to deal with his mess, the player is given control. Let the punches fly!
In keeping with the family-friendly tune, Traveller’s Tales stuck with a simple control scheme, which in turn keeps the game simple and entertaining without having to memorize a string of button combos to pull off spectacular moves. Mashing on the punching button allows the player to string together punches and kicks with comic sounds to boot. All we’re missing are big flashy signs that read POW and BOOM.
The plotline for the rest of the game is fairly simple as well. It’s very clear that early on in the game, Luthor and Joker have a deal in place and are ready to wreck all the DC Comics’ superheroes. I can’t say anymore, otherwise I really will be spoiling the whole game.
There’s a lot of things that this game does right, and one of it is the puzzle (or strategy) element. While the game can definitely be played in co-op, the player won’t be punished for going solo. With an option to switch between controlling either Batman or Robin, the player will be given plenty of puzzles to solve that require each character’s unique suit abilities.
Yes, suits. One of Batman’s trademarks are his billions of gadgets, but in order to keep things simple, Traveller’s opted to give Batman access to a multitude of suits. In order to access a suit, you must find the appropriate LEGO platform and construct it in the corse of a level. These suits last for as long as you want, until you switch into another suit. Each suit grants Batman a unique ability, from shooting grenades to destroy certain objects, to destroying glass with a special sonar gun. So…should you trade in grenades and super strength for the ability to glide and destroy glass encasements? That’s where you need to think before you make your choice.
Of course, Robin’s suits grant him vastly different abilities than Batman as well. While Batman focuses mainly on being able to break things in a spectacular shower of silver and golden LEGO studs, Robin’s abilities make him more agile and allow access to places that Batman can’t get to. Magnetized catwalks? Robin’s got a Magnet Suit for that. Want to freeze some water? Robin’s got an Ice Suit somewhere too.
While the game focuses primarily on Batman and Robin’s fight against Lex Luthor and The Joker, the other DC Superheroes (and villains) are available as unlockable characters. In Freeplay Mode, the player can traverse Gotham City and its surroundings at leisure, and you’ll run across golden LEGO doorways. These doorways can only be constructed if you meet a certain criteria. Once constructed, out pops a special character, and you can buy them with your LEGO coins. When selecting a chapter to replay, players can select their character before jumping into the level. Returning to certain levels with certain heroes or villains will give you access to areas you couldn’t get to before, so replayability is a huge factor in this game.
I can’t fault this game for very much since I’m enjoying LEGO Batman 2 immensely. However, there are certain mechanics that will drive you up a wall if you’re not used to them. For one, the Freeplay Map of Gotham City is not precision-movement friendly. If you’re trying to worm your way down to a tiny ledge for some unlockables, don’t expect to get it on the first try. Batman and Robin are always in a hurry while out on the streets of Gotham, so slight movement to your control stick may end up sending you to the bottom of the river or off the wrong side of a rooftop.
Perhaps the biggest gripe is, surprise surprise, the camera angle. While the game takes place in a predominantly side-scrolling fashion, there are moments where it would be near impossible to tell if you can make the jump from one tiny ledge to the next tiny ledge. LEGO Batman 2 almost suffers from NES syndrome in some cases, where you think you can make the jump but your character invariably misses by the width of a hair. Sharks, meet Batman. He’ll be your lunch for today, with a dessert of Robin meat.
All in all, LEGO Batman 2 is great fun for just about everyone. There’s definitely something here for the kids, and there’s something here for the adults too. With humor that doesn’t push the boundaries of crassness and cartoon moments of exaggerated sound effects, you’ll definitely be laughing as you play. We’d be tempted to ask Scarecrow to check for your pulse if you’re not.
The Good Guys ALWAYS Win!
Simple controls keep the game simple and not loaded with complicated movesets. Humor is a welcome break from crassness prevalent in most games. Has a high replayability factor, especially if you want to find and unlock every single superhero and villain. Puzzles don’t require too much thinking, but you still have to think about it.
What Devilry is This?!
Poor camera angles will contribute to pit falls more often than not. Freeplay map hard to navigate in certain instances.
LEGO Batman 2 is currently available on all major consoles including the Nintendo DS and 3DS.
Receiving an ESRB rating of E10+ and a PEGI 7 rating, the system didn’t lie this time. With a notable lack of blood, cussing, and dirty things, we’re left with big flashy villainy entrances and extra comical punching sounds.