I can safely say that Lego Batman is by far the best Superman game that there is. Now that I got that out of the way we can talk about how it is as a Batman game. Without a doubt I can say that Lego Batman 2 has the highest production out of any of the previous Lego games. I have played all of these games and Lego Star Wars III still remains as my favorite but Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes is a close second. They have really filled this package with as much content as they could and expanded on a lot of aspects. The normal hub world which was already greatly expanded in Lego Star Wars has become a full open world Gotham City with mass mayhem going on in Lego form. And oh did I mention this time the Lego characters talk?
So this is the first Lego game to release with actual spoken voice acting and as a big fan of these games I was skeptical at first as to whether speaking would work or not. Most of the charm of the Lego games came from the voiceless gestures and figuring out the story while no one ever said a word. Well after playing through the game I can say that without a doubt the talking greatly improves the humor of the games and gives them a chance to tell a full original story that plays out very well, and this time with more super heroes!
While it is a Batman game it really feels like the Superman and Batman show instead of Batman and Robin. The story, for what it is, is actually really well written and plays into the Lego sense of humor. While some people may be put off by the now speaking Lego characters it is good to note that they don’t talk all the time and there are still plenty of cutscenes where they are just gesturing. It feels like they struck a good balance to please both sides of the speaking Lego characters argument. The story involves Lex Luthor breaking the Joker out of prison to help him create more Kryptonite for this special weapon he has created that breaks down black Lego bricks. This is where Superman comes into play and when he does its all Batman and Superman until the end of the game where the other heroes show up. The game does a really great job of playing up the relationship of these two polar opposite characters and it plays into some hilarious scenes filled with plenty of inside jokes for fans of these characters media franchises.
So if you’ve played a Lego game before you pretty much know the deal, you have a hub world that you use to access your missions but this time that hub world has become a total game changer. The hub is now a full open world Gotham City loaded with side missions and collectibles. In the city you can save civilians, battle other villains to gain the ability to unlock them, collect the red and gold Lego bricks that unlock cheats and secret missions, or access the Batcave or main story missions. There are different points around the city that you can unlock for fast travel and vehicle access and they also show the location of different villains that are just hanging around the city that you can go battle.
So while you are in mission the gameplay is pretty much what you expect from the previous games. You punch dudes and they explode into Lego bits and then collect coins to fill up a meter. There are still the hidden minikits around the level to collect and returning is the different ability suits for Batman and Robin but this time around you have some new suits you can use. Most of the suits are combinations of ones from the previous game so there are fewer options this time which actually helps the game out. The one problem with the game is Superman. He has so many powers and abilities that he almost breaks the game. Since he is with you through more than half of the game none of the puzzles are ever challenging and since he is invincible to all enemies who don’t have Kryptonite the games difficulty is dropped drastically. There’s almost no reason to use Batman because Superman can do everything!
The biggest fault I would point out in the game is that you aren’t fighting many Batman villains. The entire story is focused on Joker and Lex Luthor and while you do come across some other Batman bad guys you are mostly pursuing those two. All of the other Batman rouges are encountered in the open world city so this kind of narrows down the boss battles in the game and means you encounter less puzzle-like battles like in the first game. This also really decreases the amount of story missions as there is only one narrative which might actually be in the games favor.
It seems that with each Lego game that comes out the environments are getting larger and the overall package is getting more ambitious. I don’t feel like these games are made for kids so much as they are made for just everyone. The worlds and characters look amazing and the framerate is consistent. This is actually one of the best looking games in this franchise to date and it seems pretty obvious that the whole thing is going to get bigger from here. Now that the characters talk they have a lot more personality and there are a lot more facial animations and syncing to worry about but this game pulls it off and stays top notch.
The cutscenes are actually some of my favorite from the Lego games because while the talking does add new depth, they just look amazing. There is so much going on and they are managing to tell an original story and there was clearly a lot of design work put into the look of the game. They really commit to the whole Lego aspect of this world and characters are swapping hair and helmets like its all no big deal. I really have to give them credit for their straight up embrace of such a silly and fun concept. Also the videos are just hilariously adorable and that’s always a plus.
The story missions in this game can get pretty repetitive and boring but the combat is improved enough that when you are actually fighting it feels good and is fun to do. If you are a completionist like me you may have a hard time collecting everything as replaying the levels over again (which you have to do at least once) can get boring pretty quickly. However exploring the open Gotham city is actually a lot of fun especially after you unlock Superman. The flying with Superman however actually has some odd controls tied to it but every time you lift off you hear that amazing John Williams score (all the classic movie music is here just like in the last game) and it makes up for the controls slightly. The one thing I hope for in the future of these games is finding some way to make the levels more interesting as they can do a lot to slow down the fun of the game but the combat and collecting items still gives you a lot to aim for.
Lego Batman was a pretty great game and Lego Batman 2 really steps it up a notch. When each one of these games comes out I feel like they are always stepping with their best foot forward. While the levels can get repetitive and boring you can still have fun with a single play through or spice it up with some drop in drop out co-op although it’s local only which is kind of a bummer. The open world is a great addition and adds a lot more to the package as a whole. There is a great cast of characters complete with an equally great voice cast (including some of the animated DC shows) and with the other DC heroes and it feels like the developers are using this to test the waters for all of them to get their own games so let us hope this will finally give us a great Superman game!