Growing up, LEGOs were something we set up and built inside our homes, spending hours to build that plane or building. Now those fun blocks have moved to the living room TV, taking some of our favorite franchises and turning them into building blocks for something special. The latest effort is LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, a game that tries to put a new spin on the construction process but in the end, it’s more of the same from developer Traveller’s Tales.
When Joker decides to crash an awards celebration in honor of Bruce Wayne, Batman and Robin swoop in to stop the always grinning villain. Although they come out victorious, Lex Luther and the Joker team up, and you and your group of super heroes pals must now pull out all of the stops in an effort to take down The Joker, Lex Luther, and the various baddies they call to arms. The story itself is weak. However, the jokes—specifically the interactions between Superman and Batman—steal the show. These interactions are complimented by the fact that the game has actual voice acting—a first for the LEGO series of games.
Once the story gets underway, you will be free to explore the open world of Gotham, as well as Metropolis. An open world without a ton of content would be pointless, and thankfully, the game features pleasant distractions at every corner, such as places to climb, citizens in peril, and general mass chaos. But this open world is not without some major issues. Vehicle controls leave a lot to be desired, as you never feel fully in control; at least not enough to maneuver around a crowded city. Adding to the frustration are zoomed-in camera angles that can impede your view, especially when flying. Perhaps the worst culprit here, though, is the omission of a minimap, something that is a necessity in a game allowing you to roam about a fairly large area.
To select a mission level, you will be tasked to find the bat symbol on the map and then head over to the location, triggering a cutscene and then placing you inside of a story level. You and a friend or AI teammate will traverse through the level, solving puzzles along the way.
Combat is unchanged from previous games, essentially button mashing the punch option endlessly. The characters do feel somewhat different in their approaches, but it still gets repetitive in a flash. Speaking of flash, The Flash is the most fun combat-wise with his insane speed. On the flipside, the Green Lantern is a complete let down, being solely used for puzzles and his jump attack, leaving him to tedious hand-to-hand combat against henchmen.
LEGO Batman 2 is all about replayability, with over 50 characters to unlock, 250 yellow bricks to collect, and over 70 citizens that need to be rescued. Add to this boss battles all over the map, attaining super hero status on each level, plus all the vehicles you can collect, and this game will have you breaking 20 hours before you even know it.
Finding a yellow brick, rescuing a citizen, or holding triangle to change characters, stops the action for both players for what feels like thirty seconds or so. This happens far too often and enemies can still move and attack you during this. Another issue comes with the rotating split-screen, which really hurts when you are trying to target something and your cursor keeps getting moved by your partner running around to different areas and changing the perspective of the split-screen. These are issues familiar to the LEGO series that should have been resolved many games ago.
If you don’t play this with a friend, then you are basically playing the game alone, as your computer-controlled friendly is utterly useless. More often than not, your AI teammate can be found just sitting and staring at you working your magic, once in a blue moon stopping to attack an enemy and never once picking up a single coin. The computer will also find time to stand directly in your way and screw you over at every chance. It is times like these where you really wish you could just tackle the level alone.
Visually, the game looks like a decent step up from the previous entries, giving off a very dark atmosphere. Cutscenes are polished and provide plenty of detail, and the levels are well-designed. Voice acting is a major plus, which really adds to the story and helps the game to deliver on more jokes and bring the characters to life. The audio can get a tad annoying during the levels when Alfred feels the need to tell you hints over and over again.
It really is frustrating to see how much the LEGO series has progressed, yet how much it has stagnated and failed to mature. The inclusion of the free roaming open world aspect is a huge step in the right direction, but is let down by the lack of a mini-map and some extremely shoddy vehicle work. Long loading screens and visual lag are also heavily present but don’t kill the experience. It would also be nice to see the team add in online multiplayer, which would fix some of the local co-op issues. It’s still a fun experience, and even with some issues that need fixing, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes will suck you in and have you collecting gold bricks for weeks.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+/-Open world is great, lacks a mini map
-Same old issues from past games still not fixed