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The Lego franchise is a strange one. For iterations now, their pitch has been to blatantly just use a name and convert it to Lego, with no real further thought. This is still true for Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. However, this flagrant tie-in approach goes all out this time. With an open-world filled with knickknacks, story-driven missions and tons of collectable characters from the DC universe, there is a lot to handle in this action adventure.
Plot devices aside, Batman and Robin go on a quest to stop The Joker, now accompanied by Lex Luthor. This mash-up will eventually bring all the boys (and girls) to the yard in a story that does the source material justice. Since Batman 2 is also the first Lego game to actually feature voice acting, this pops out better than ever, with comical yet family friendly banter presented by the cavalcade of characters.
As can be expected, the entirety will be rendered into a Lego reconstructed Gotham. Everything is made of the blocky material: characters, trees, constructions, etc. More so, the open world cleverly takes a page from Batman: Arkham City by providing an expansive terrain filled with different locales, items and activities. As Batman climbs to a rooftop, he oversees a city by nightfall and its many districts, from the colorful theme parks to the murky industrial zones. Within the city, there are bandits running amok, citizens in peril and denizens fleeing for their lives. It’s a rich and bustling environment that is certain to entertain for hours.
However, the caped menace also needs to save the world. To do that, the duo of Batman and Robin travel through all corners of the city, chasing evil where it turns its head. Missions vary between shooting sections or investigations that lead the two through locales of Lego infested buildings. There, they’ll need to work together to solve simple puzzles, which get divided equally between their distinctive talents and collectible outfits that hold additional powers. For instance, Robin can use his freeze suit to solidify water that Batman can climb on in order to rip out the above door with his power suit. Aside from scoping out a few constructible blocks, these puzzles are self-explanatory, but they’re a good division between both nonetheless. It will always feel like the respective partner is an asset towards the group, rather than just tagging along. This is a driving element in cooperative play as well, as it demands a team effort.
The sizable story in itself is enough for hours of entertainment, but after each mission the player will be dropped back into the open world, where its sandbox gameplay is good for much more exploration. Whether it’s to collect bricks, help out citizens or capture side characters; the open expanses of Gotham present their own set of puzzles and events. Lego Batman 2 is certainly a solid game, even if it’s not all that original. Since it delivers exactly what it promises in droves, it doesn’t really need to go out on a limb to create something more thrilling. Merely running along in its cutesy world and taking part of the well-executed designs is enough. Batman 2 will entertain, no matter who is playing it.
Still, it could do with more consequence to make gameplay more driving. As is standard for the franchise, death and combat bears little consequence and is simply in there for framing purposes. Batman fights, ergo his Lego rendition must do so as well. This can sometimes dampen the enthusiasm, as there is no need to take care of many actions, such as falling off a building or even barring attacks. It’s only redeeming quality is that the game freezes up characters during its extended loading and it leaves the player to be a sitting duck for attackers, so it’s good there’s no consequence to it. It’s a meager consolation at best. It’s also dependent on what perspective the game is viewed. Challenge doesn’t arbitrarily come from risk and reward, it can also be found in excelling at a task or performing a thorough job collecting.
A more poignant tarnish is the lack of proper depth display that sometimes gets confusing. Batman 2 is a 3D environment, but coins and many gaps and obstacles are all presented in the same form and from the same camera angle, which is hard to calculate. This can lead to some tricky situations, certainly in platform sections.
It also bears mentioning clearly that Lego is much more fun with a friend. Switching characters works fine alone, but once the dynamic is set between players, it’s a lot more fulfilling to chip in one’s part with a given character. It can also help speed up sections and streamline gameplay a bit more. It’s only available in splitscreen, but as this is a family oriented game it would be strange to count that as a demerit somehow. Online is still not a mandatory option in games.
As far as Lego games go, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is certainly one of the best created so far. With the new voice acting that adds to the story, a wide open world with plenty to do and tons of collecting possibilities for sleuthing fans, the game offers a solid rendition of the DC world. It may not be the most original or flawless experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. On the contrary, its simple approach is bound to keep people entertained for quite some time.
|Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes stays the course and adds voices. Its open world and missions are more than enough to simply entertain the masses and the clever takes on Rocksteady's games give it extra flavor.|