Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes preview

When Lego Batman came out in 2008 for various platforms, it helped Travellers Tales, the developers behind all of the Lego-licensed games, to reach out to the comic book world, devoting themselves to the DC Universe in such a way that few developers do.  What’s more, they made a game that was accessible to all ages, where players could work together to solve puzzles or stop crime – or create it by playing as the villains.  Now, four years later, the world of Batman opens up once more with a sequel.  However, this time around, it isn’t just the Dark Knight and his Boy Wonder, Robin, having all the fun.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes introduces a new fold of characters, with up to 50 playable ones available for unlock throughout the course of the game.  And these aren’t just characters from Gotham, either – Superman is one of the chief characters available.  The game is expected to also introduce a mode that, once again, would have you playing some diabolical villains, including the Joker and his newfound partner, Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor.  It seems that they want to tear Gotham down with their criminal acts, and players can either side with them or stop them in their tracks.

What’s so outstanding about Lego Batman 2 is that its level design is hardly as limited as the first game.  Yes, you’ll still be solving puzzles, using your grappling hook to reach higher distances and wearing occasional suits to solve puzzles (like a suit that renders Batman invisible, enabling him to get past a wall sensor), but with the introduction of new characters, you’ll be able to soar to new heights.

Playing as Superman, you can fly anywhere in the city you choose, swooping past tall buildings and strange looking man statues, occasionally stopping to fry something with your heat vision.  From there, you can fly to rooftops and find criminals or complete certain objectives, while occasionally calling upon partners to help you out, like asking Robin to get in a decontamination suit to activate a switch covered in radioactive goop.  You’d think Superman would be able to walk through that, but oh well.

The game also enables characters to steal vehicles, Grand Theft Auto style, to get around quicker.  Considering how much fun the Batmobile sequence was in the original game, the sequel should expand this considerably, especially with the introduction of more vehicles like the Batwing.

While Lego Batman 2 won’t be confused with Batman: Arkham City, it’s still the best looking Lego game to date, with huge environments, locations that are loyal to the Dark Knight theme (there’s ACME Chemical!), and plenty of secrets to find, including 100 gold bricks.  You’ll be busy fighting your way through this city for weeks at a time, maybe even months if you feel like exploring.  And with so many characters available, including Catwoman and Bane among others, there are plenty of reasons to go back.

One other change coming to the game is the introduction of voice acting, a first for the series.  Travellers Tales is going all out to flesh out the game’s story, and talking characters seems to be a huge step.  They haven’t talked about the cast just yet, but the debut trailer features the voice of Clancy Brown, who voices Lex Luthor in the animation WB films, including Superman.  So we wouldn’t be surprised if the likes of Kevin Conroy and (crossed fingers here!) Mark Hamill contribute.

Lego Batman 2 is really looking like a powerhouse sequel, and the best Lego game to date.  We’ll let you know how much it soars when it arrives this summer.  Holy entertainment, Batman!