LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Dark, brooding, tortured; these are words commonly associated with
Batman, one of the most complex characters ever to make its way out
of the world of comic books. With that in mind, it's amazing how
compatible this violent vigilante can be with the lighter side of things.
Whether discussing the 1960s TV series starring Adam West, or his
forays into the world of LEGO, for a characterwith such a troubled
psyche, Batman sure has a knack for brightening one's day. In that
regard, the Caped Crusader has a little help this time around, but more
on that later. Batman s most certainly the focus of this second
DC-flavoured LEGO jaunt.
Like its prequel, LEGO Batman 2 tells an original story, but by giving its
characters the gift of speech for the first time in a LEGO game,
Traveller's Tales has created a far more engaging narrative with a depth
masked (no pun intended) by its blocky presentation. Not that this is
Shakespeare; it's just that the jokes and interactions are that much
more engaging and the characters relatable now that Batman and co.
don't need to rely on mime to communicate.
The story is the standard superhero fare. Bruce Wayne and Superman's
nemesis Lex Luthor are both up for the Man of the Year Award, but once
Wayne takes the stage to accept his prize, the Joker crashes the party
and forces Wayne to make a quick costume change. Luthor teams up
with the maniac clown and what follows is a series of batty super-silliness
as the pair cultivate kryptonite and attempt to convince America's
voters that Luthor should be their next president (or something). Like I
said, it isn't Shakespeare. But it is a lot of fun. Naturally, it's up to
Batman and his allies to thwart the dastardly duo's plans and the range
of iconic DC characters making appearances here is quite impressive. To
name but a few of the playable DC A-listers, there's Green Lantern (if
you can forgive him for his last movie), the Flash, Wonder Woman, and
the grandaddy of all superheroes: Superman. The thing I'm left to
wonder is why this wasn't a LEGO Justice League game - since LEGO
Batman 2's tagline actually is "DC Super Heroes".
The introduction of Supes as a playable character is a stroke of genius.
The Boy Wonder's fanboy fawning over the red-undied Kryptonian and
Batman's jealousy over his effortlessly super-powered shenanigans offer
up some priceless moments. Best of all is the ability to fly freely around
Gotham while John William's iconic Superman score soars in the
background. Jump into the air as Superman and the score builds slowly,
creating a moment of nostalgic beauty you'll want to relive many times
over. Even though Superman isn't the main character here, this LEGO
title has managed to create a Superman video game experience far
superior to any that has come before.
Most of LEGO Batman 2 is made up of what you'd expect. Across 15
chapters, the story takes a backseat to exploring the environments,
platforming, and trying to smash everything you come across in order to
find as many studs (again acting as the game's currency) and
collectables as possible. What makes LEGO Batman 2 so easily
recommended is that it does these things better than any LEGO game
before it. The addition of the entirety of Gotham City as the game's hub
and the ability to explore it at your leisure is an enormous step-up from
LEGO games past. Don't get me wrong though, you won't have nearly
as much free-roam fun as you would in Batman: Arkham City, but for a
LEGO game, it definitely does the trick.
LEGO Batman 2 should take you about nine hours to run through,
provided you do a reasonable job of collecting along the way. Should you
just stick to the story, you'll have no problem racing through it, but if
that's your approach, it might be an idea to ask yourself if this is really
the game for you. Once you've finished the story, there's plenty of
incentive to replay levels. Having unlocked all of the spandex-loving
amigos, you'll be able to access new areas and unlockables previously
out of Batman's reach. But even without that, don't be surprised if you
spend hours just cruising around Gotham City, enjoying all the delights
that stepping into the Man of Steel's LEGO boots has to offer.