The Lego games have made their first not so grand premiere on the Playstation Vita with Lego Batman 2: DC Super heroes. I was looking forward to having a great Lego game on a handheld because the 3DS versions have never been what I was looking for and with the Vita’s power I had my hopes up for a Lego game that would be more comparable to the console version but instead all I got was what felt like a lazy port of a game that was already ported.
To put it simply, Lego Batman on the Vita is just a port of the 3DS version of the game. While on a strict gameplay level the port is well done but overall the entire package is just very lackluster. You still get the same story and all of the same cutscenes from the game but subtract the open world and just think of it as a straight linear Lego game. The story is still there, Lex Luthor teams up with the Joker to produce more Kryptonite for his special weapon and it’s up to Batman and Robin to stop them. Superman joins in about half way through the game, and is so powerful he damn near breaks it, and on the last level you get a few more DC heroes. While the late inclusion of the other heroes may seem disappointing it is safe to remember that this is still a Batman game.
This game plays very simple, like most other Lego games, but feels more related to the early year Lego games. This game strips out the open world of the console version and has your hub as the Batcave. From here you can access the story missions (of which there are very few) and after you beat the game there is a set of extra missions that focus on the Justice League characters. This is where most of the extra DC characters get included but it basically boils down to frustrating set of wave based survival missions. Overall the extra missions are wildly disappointing.
In terms of the actual missions, the level design isn’t wildly different from the console games. If you play through all of them they just seem like slightly dumbed down version of the levels you will play in the full game just easier. You still have the different costumes with different abilities that you need to solve puzzles but Superman has enough powers that he just breaks the game and allows you to do almost everything so to compensate the game will sometimes give you an alternate Superman that can only do certain things which just breaks the game in a whole different way because it makes no sense. The most frustrating part of this version of the game is the combat. The combat feels like they tried too hard to simplify it and the result of that ends up being this boring repetitive combo that never feels like it is actually causing enough damage. The hit detection seems a little off so I would feel like I was just hitting the attack button over and over and either not hitting the enemies or just causing so little damage. The ranged enemies also create a new level of frustration by being able to attack you faster and just causing the pace of the game to slow down while you tried to attack these constantly moving ranged attackers.
Since this is on the Vita of course we have to have our useless touch controls and Lego Batman has its own frustrating touch options. There are some required touch options such as when you access a console another screen pops up where you have to guide colored icons into the right spot with your finger to unlock doors. The only other touch controls is you can drag your finger across the screen to target enemies with your batarang which works but never gets any real use.
The actually game graphics while in the missions or hub actually look fairly decent. The problem is the whole time you are playing you just know the Vita is so much more powerful and could have handled graphics closer to what you see on consoles. While it is disappointing it is not any kind of eye sore and still looks competent for a hand held game. The biggest crime of the Vita version is the game cutscenes. All of these videos have some of the worst compression I have ever seen on a video and they are mostly unwatchable. I ended up skipping all of them finding it difficult to forgive the lazy poor quality.
Now I know these games are not made for adults and really belong in the young kids demographic but I have been a Lego game fan since the first Lego Star Wars and with this version, the talking doesn’t bother me and actually makes it better, but the gameplay is just incredibly boring. Traveller’s Tales has really kicked up their production on the console Lego games but they have really lost their focus on the hand held versions. I had a lot of fun with every Lego game on consoles and even managed to enjoy the 3DS version of Lego Star Wars III but the Vita version of Batman is just a linear bore fest that kids may find enjoyable but adults who love the Lego franchise will just be left wanting more. The combat does nothing but drag the game down and really manages to get in the way of any kind of fun that Lego Batman can offer on the Vita.
While this is the first Lego game on Vita it just feels like they were forced to put out this version and had no better ideas than to port over their 3DS version in time for release. I can only hope the developers learn from their mistakes and take their next Vita attempt more seriously because they did very little to make a game that compliments the platform it is on. The whole package just feels lazy and while it may find an audience with kids who may not know any better, any adult fan will just feel cheated and bored. Unfortunately the Vita will have to wait a little longer for a satisfying whole hearted Lego experience.