It starts off really simple; Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are battling for the title of Man of the Year award. Bruce Wayne decisively defeats Lex and makes his way to accept his speech. His commemoration is quickly interrupted by the king of pranksters himself… The Joker. Amidst the chaos; Bruce Wayne makes his way to the exit to slip into something more comfortable. Batman arrives on the scene and promptly returns Joker and his cronies to Arkham Asylum. Normally the day would be saved, but Lex Luthor has a completely different agenda.
Lego Batman 2 puts the entire city of Gotham in peril. Every single super villain from Arkham is loose on the streets, and their gangs are terrorizing the citizens. The situation has become so skewed, that even Batman can’t properly contain all of the riff raff. This catches the eye of Superman who flies in to help save the day. Oh right, and some other people from the Justice League show up at the end of the game to help out.
The name of the game should have been changed to Batman, Robin, and Superman adventures. This of course is the first game in the series to feature vocal Lego characters. It fits the game very well, and allows us a little more insight on these wacky takes on our beloved characters. Batman, is fittingly withdrawn and independent, and Superman, is the confident nice guy. These two clash at every turn, while creating some hilarious opportunities for Robin to be awkward.
Gameplay is the standard fare for Lego games. Jump into the shoes of any character and punch the living crap out of anything to get coin blocks. The puzzles can keep the game fun and focused in Co-Op, but as you get a bit further into the game, the constant changing of costumes gets pretty ridiculous. There are even levels where Superman has to help Batman and Robin. We all know who Superman is; he’s a one man wrecking crew who can lift buildings.
For some odd reason, when he is available as his fully powered self. The Man of Steel cannot do simple things like bust open a wall, or the most annoying part… grab Batman and Robin and fly them to higher areas. This can cause a lot of frustration if you’re playing alone, as you will be flying along as Superman and realize that the computer is just stupid. The A.I. will remain at the bottom of a cliff, and you will have to switch to them to drag their worthless corpses back to the top. This in turn brings down another character, and you’ll have to switch again and hope that they all properly follow the path to the top.
With that said, Lego Batman 2 does add a dynamic that hasn’t been seen in a Lego game. It gives players the freedom to take to a city and explore the whole of Gotham as they see fit. That’s not to say that it’s on the level of Grand Theft Auto or Saint’s Row or anything like those titles. For the most part, the world itself won’t notice you unless you try really hard to make it happen. You can stand around and watch citizens round around frantically from some crazy guys with giant hammers.
In actuality, the open-game world just allows players to collect gold bricks and take to the Sky as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, or Superman himself. That’s not a complaint at all for those looking to get a hundred percent, but for the casual player the city just serves as a hub to reach the next stage. It feels like the city, much like the game itself… is a test for a more open-ended DC Universe Lego game to come in the future.
Visually the game looks as well as any other Lego title that has come before it. The character models still contort their faces with wacky expressions, and it isn’t lost in the new voice additions. Gotham City is dark and gritty as it should be, and looks best when flying high through the sky exploring what the world has to offer. It only suffers the occasional draw distance problem when landing, and the frame-rate issues that appear during cooperative play.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is a great game. It has its downsides, mostly in the “Super Heroes” department. However, if you’re a Lego fan this one does not disappoint. At a clock in time of 7 hours for the story mode, the actual unlocking and collection of various characters and vehicles is well over 30 to 40. Lego Batman 2, receives a C+ from Half-Ass Gaming, it’s a steal on the PC at $30… but I would wait for a price drop on consoles.