Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
The odds are you’ve played too much Lego Star Wars and too much Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. All the exploding silver, gold and blue studs have made you feel bloated. After a while, it goes away, and eventually you WILL play more Lego games. You’ve missed a few releases, but now you’re back and it’s time for another round. It’s time for Lego Batman 2.
You’ve all played Lego games before, right? Just in case you’ve not, here’s the game in a nutshell: You play a licensed Lego man, running around a 3d platformer world, punching blocks apart and little Lego men, building things and collecting ‘studs’, the in-game currency. As the game goes on, you can unlock new Lego men with some special abilities (grappling hooks, mind-powers, etc) and replay through levels, collecting previously hidden collectables. Then, somewhere at around 90% of the game, you can’t take it any more and trade the game in. I’m pretty sure that’s how they all go, and Lego Batman 2 adheres to this formula pretty well, though it does shake things up in a few respects.
The first is in presenting the hub not as a small location (the Batcave & Arkham in Lego Batman 1, the Cantina in Lego Star Wars) but as a whole open world map. You’re treated to a glorious representation of Gotham City, the best in a videogame so far. The lighting is moody, there are giant gothic statues amongst the skyscrapers, scowling and holding up pipes around the city. Citizens flee from crooks running rampant and random villains popping up in different districts. The second change to the norm is the power level. When Lego Star Wars came out, it had force users who could lift things and shooters who had grappling hooks. Successive games have had more powers, and Lego Batman 1 gave the Dynamic Duo different powered suits to unlock certain puzzles. Lego Batman 2 dials that up to 52, with an invisible suit for Batman and characters of Superman’s power level, with invulnerability, x-ray vision, flight and laser eyes. You might think that with these powers, the game is broken and you can skip through everything, but the boffins behind the game have done a very good job of balancing the story levels.
The story itself is relatively simple. After a break-in at Arkham (an hourly occurrence in Gotham City), Batman & Robin capture everyone but The Joker. They track him down to Ace Chemicals and he gets away, enlisting the help of presidential candidate Lex Luthor. Batman refuses the help of Superman, but eventually has to team up with him to take the villains down. On the first playthrough of the story, you play as Batman & Robin, then as Batman & Superman, then the Justice League (and Robin). Each level is made specifically for that team-up, providing challenges only one can solve at a time. Superman can fly anywhere, but can’t get through the lightning gates, can’t blow up silver blocks and is weak to deadly kryptonite. Batman can’t fly, can’t laser golden blocks and is weak to bullets, knives and evil robot claws. The level design is large and allowed to go off the rails, being an original story.
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