Posted on June 20, 2012 AT 12:56pm
I am an admitted fan of the Lego games, except for Lego Indiana Jones 2 and Lego Clone Wars but we won’t speak of them, and I was prepared to take the usual walk through another Lego title. The first Lego Batman was one of my favorites so I was pretty excited to get my hands on Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
Let me start off by saying Lego Batman 2 DC Super Heroes is a big Lego game. The story mode is 15 levels, then there is the “Free Roam” Gotham City portion, and finally the “Free Play” section to get all the collectibles. Fans will have to put in hours of play time to complete it 100% and it will take some work. Heck, as of this writing I still hadn’t figured out how to get or find the red bricks to unlock the extras like stud mulitpliers.
The opening sequence surprised me…there were voices. Yes, they have given the Lego characters actual voices in this game. Granted you only hear them during cut scenes or scene set ups but they are there and that is a first. Once I got past the shock of that, the game started off like any typical Lego game. Players must break blocks, collect studs to hit Super Hero status, and beat the bad guys. Along the way you find minikits, red or gold blocks, and unlock characters…or do you? The character unlock is somewhat new. No longer do you unlock characters by default, you must wander about Gotham City and find the characters similar to what was done in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. You are required to fight them a certain number of times in the Gotham City “Free Roam” before you can purchase that character. In the case of the big baddies like Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, etc…you have to find them in their “hideouts” and battle them. Once you are victorious, you can purchase them as well.
That brings me to Gotham City. This place is big and open world. This isn’t your typical “free play” area either. I call it a “free roam” area because it seems more applicable. Remote computer terminals are dotted throughout the city. Activate them to learn the locations of villains, gold bricks, and other secrets. You will be scaling walls, flying, and using all the special suits you used in story mode. Here is another arena where the Lego game format was changed a bit, no longer do you unlock a character with each special outfit/weapon/suit, you must find a portal to change into the suit before you can complete the challenge in Gotham City. Normally, they are located close to where they are needed so it’s not overly difficult.
Another kicker, you have to find all the villains in Gotham City before you can really do “Free Play” in story mode. Since the characters no longer unlock just by completing levels and you need certain characters to find everything in “Free Play” you pretty much need to play the Gotham City part. You might not need every single villain but do you really want to pick and choose only to find out you haven’t unlocked the one you needed while you are in the middle of a “Free Play” chapter?
The story is pretty cool but I won’t spoil it completely by giving away all the details. Lex Luthor just lost the “Man of the Year” award to Bruce Wayne (again) and he’s pretty bitter. Lex has decided to get together with The Joker and take over Gotham City. Batman and Robin run into Superman and it’s pretty obvious Batman doesn’t care for Superman’s help. He might also be a wee bit jealous of Superman because Robin idolizes Superman. Batman and Robin pursue Lex Luthor and The Joker all over Gotham City, eventually landing at City Hall for an epic battle against a giant Joker robot. This is where players will finally get to see (and play as) Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and The Flash.
Graphically, it’s pretty sweet. The backgrounds are rich but kept to the comic/cartoon style you’d expect from Lego as well as a story based on comic book characters. There is a lovely mix of brick-built breakable details as well as unbreakable elements. Gotham City feels like a metropolitan area and you will notice the immensity of it. Different areas of the city have a different look and the details are there, right down to flowers and manholes. They even managed to make The Flash look extra fast when he moves. The graphics aren’t perfect however, and at times you’ll see a line around objects that doesn’t seem like it belongs.
The voice acting was fun and well done. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. Having the characters speak was necessary due to the complicated storyline. They couldn’t have portrayed what was happening with the usual grunts and comic exaggeration. I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first but why they did it became apparent as the story progressed and I found I rather enjoyed it, especially the newscaster. One of my favorite things to do was to fly around as Superman in Gotham City and listen to the original Superman theme song from the 1978 movie. It was the perfect touch.
There are some disappointments though. I was bummed I didn’t get to use any of the other DC Super Heroes until levels 14 and 15, basically, the last two levels of the game. I would have liked more story play with Green Lantern and The Flash especially. While I like the fact that they tried to expand upon the gameplay, making it this complicated to unlock characters might be a turn off for younger players. Legos are touted as family-friendly but I can’t help feeling that some younger gamers are going to get frustrated with it. Some of the humor is gone as well. Before, the exaggerated mannerisms of the Lego characters lent serious humor, like Princess Leia’s kinetic hips, but much of that is gone now. I would have liked to have seen that typical Lego character exaggeration during gameplay.
Summary: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has changed up the routine Lego game but not so drastically that fans won’t recognize the game style they love. All the much love elements are there with just some great additions. Breaking bricks just never gets old.
- The Good – Larger game, voice acting, still loads of fun, family-friendly
- The Bad – Loss of usual Lego humor, might be too complicated for younger gamers now.
- The Ugly – N/A
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