Batman is back in brick and this time he has brought a few friends along for the ride. It’s not just the good guys who have company in this latest LEGO adventure, Joker has also upped the ante. These new characters, plus the all new improvements which can be found throughout, make for a challenging and exceptionally entertaining experience.
One of the new characters joining Joker is Lex Luthor, who is running for president, although he isn’t trying to win the fair way. Instead he teams up with the Joker and uses kryptonite to gas people and get his way. Obvious Batman, Robin and their new friend, Superman smell foul play, so head out to stop the super villains from hatching their dastardly plan. The story continues from here, seeing Batman and friends traversing their way through all manner of familiar landmarks in order to stop the evil duo from carrying out this dastardly plan, although whether they’ll be successful or not is up to you.
So there’s the story, although perhaps the biggest surprise will be that, this time around, the LEGO Batman 2 characters actually talk. Be it Robin praising Superman, newscasts from Vicki Vale or Clark Kent, or Lex and Joker doing their best to wind Batman up the wrong way. All of the acting is fantastic and only helps add to the usual entertainment that a LEGO game brings your way.
Of course LEGO Batman 2 is about more than the acting and the stopping of an evil force. For one, the game includes 15 chapters of fun and varied levels to play through, which also includes plenty of replay value for the perfectionists out there. This means you’ll probably play through all of these levels more than once, since certain areas are locked off until you return in freeplay mode with the character needed to gain access to them. There is certainly plenty of reasons to replay, since you’ll want to collect mini kits, gold bricks and of course, max out the coin meter, if you missed the chance to do so the first time around.
In addition to all of this collecting, you also have a whole new open world to explore. Yes that’s right, you can visit Gotham City and it’s stellar attractions such as Arkham Asylum, Ace Chemicals, GCPD and the rest of the town, which is packed with coins and other extras for you to find.
All of these additions are fantastic, although it’s the main meat of the campaign that really is the main draw. As is usually the case for a LEGO game, during the missions you are greeted with a mixture of exploration, combat-based action and mini-vehicle mayhem. There are also plenty of puzzles to keep you busy and scratching your head. The campaign is also packed with super villains which do their best to frustrate and challenge you. These include Joker, Lex Luther, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Two Face to name a few.
Luckily, with all these bad to the bone characters Joker has on his side, Batman also has some help too, thanks to the inclusion of Robin, Superman and later down the line, the entire Justice League. Not only does each character have their own abilities, but Batman and Robin also gain access to new suits, which change theirs. These suits include all manner of uses, be it allowing Robin to freeze water or become more acrobatic, to allowing Batman to absorb electricity or fire bombs.
One of the main advantages the console version has is the usual inclusion of the drop-in/out co-op, which is just as well, since the AI isn’t exactly the smartest tool in the box. As usual your AI partner will stand there as opponents beat him to a pulp, or become stuck and not help you out, when what you really need is someone to pull that extra lever. It’s a shame that they aren’t that little more intelligent, although saying that, it does kind of add to the comedic value in a way.
Graphically, LEGO Batman looks fantastic. There is a real dark mood to some areas of Gotham, especially in the Asylum which looks particularly impressive. Add to this the excellent implementation of Superman, who is just brilliant to play as. Watching as he flies around or uses his X-Ray vision to cut through objects is just fantastic. It’d be great if he had his own game, maybe it’ll happen at some point, I do hope so.
It’ll probably come as no surprise for you to know that LEGO Batman 2 on console is a brilliant game. The best LEGO game yet in fact. It still provides the puzzles, replay value and drop in/out co-op gameplay that you’ll be used to, however it also adds in some fantastic characters and the voice acting to match, as well as the addition of a wide-open world.
Rating: Excellent Review Policy (version tested: PS3)
You can read our review of the PS Vita version of LEGO Batman DC Super Heroes here.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes launches on June 22 on PS3, 360, Windows, Wii, DS, 3DS and Vita. You can pre-order your copy here (PS3|360|PC|Wii|DS|3DS|Vita).