LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes review
The LEGO games are an interesting bunch. While appearing on the outside as a childish game, beneath those layers you begin to uncover a game that has much more to offer than innocent gameplay and cutesy LEGOs. This is particularly the case with LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, a sequel to 2008's highly successful LEGO Batman: The Videogame. Taking what LEGO Batman did right, Batman 2 improves upon it in every way.
The LEGO games are known for their brilliant use of pantomiming to deliver story. While this is tradition for all of Traveller's Tales' LEGO games, this is one point where the original LEGO Batman suffered. Noticing this setback, TT for the first time has added voice acting in LEGO Batman 2.
I initially feared I'd miss the cuteness of pantomime and LEGO facial expressions, but upon playing, I realized that the humor is still present. If anything, character voice-overs add to humor, as the banter between the various heroes provide some witty dialogue. Not to mention, the gestures of our mini LEGO heroes remains hilarious.
One thing dialogue does allow is a coherent narrative, but while given the ability to deliver now, I can't say it really made that much of a difference. I understand that the plot can't be too complicated due to the relative simplicity of the concept, but I don't honestly feel the voice-overs contributed to the shallow chase of Batman and the Joker. It's a nice addition, but not something the story required.
Gameplay remains the same as previous LEGO titles, for the most part. You play through linear levels filled with LEGO-based puzzles. These typically include smashing constructed LEGOs and rebuilding them into useful objects or unlocking the different character suits that are used to solve future puzzles.
Some LEGO games focus on action, some on puzzles; LEGO Batman 2 leans more towards the latter. Every level involves some sort of simplistic action, but the puzzles, on the other hand, can be quite challenging. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this, but I have to say some of the puzzles in the game stumped me for quite a while — and with no help system in place, I admit I was frustrated at some points. I can't imagine a child maintaining the attention span to solve some of them. It doesn't help that at times the practically static camera doesn't provide the necessary view to help you get a better vantage point of where to go or what to do next.
Of course, there is much more to do in this game aside from playing through the levels and solving puzzles. Scattered throughout the levels are your typical hidden Minikits, gold blocks, and tons of LEGO pieces to destroy. This provides a decent amount of fun that can be played separately from the story. And with the introduction of an open-world environment, you are more free to explore than ever before. While LEGO Indiana Jones 2 explored this idea, LEGO Batman 2 fully introduces the concept. The entire city can now be explored with tons of hidden secrets waiting to be uncovered.
You are now able to traverse the world through many of Batman's fun vehicles or through the powers of the DC characters — though many of them aren't available until the later stages. It's nice to have the added freedom to explore and find hidden objects, but it can get kind of repetitive to an extent. As you begin to learn the tricks in LEGO Batman 2, you begin to learn that many of the hidden objects are hidden much the same way.
The highlight in LEGO Batman 2, for me, was utilizing the many suits of Batman and Robin. Whether for puzzles or uncovering hidden objects scattered throughout the city, the different suits provide a nice change of pace to an otherwise redundant gameplay experience.
To the same degree, The Justice League adds an entirely new element. Whether you're soaring over Gotham as Superman or speeding through the city as Flash, the other DC characters are a great addition to the game that I would've liked to see more of. Unfortunately, as this is primarily a Batman game, the other DC characters are reserved until the final stages and mostly post-story fun.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes still has that same LEGO game charm. It's a fun game with new additions that, for the most part, make the experience a better one. It has a decent story length with added replayability thanks to hidden objects and the exploration added through open-world gameplay. As with all LEGO games, LEGO Batman 2 can get a little repetitive, but these added additions make it a fun playthrough that is definitely worthwhile — especially for fans of the LEGO game franchise.