Back in 2009, I did a back-to-back Batman special with one of the games being Batman Arkham Asylum, one of the best games of 2009. The other was Traveler Tale’s Lego Batman. While both games were great in their own way, Arkham Asylum was the better of the two. I mean, Traveler Tales has made some great games using the Lego license, but a lot of the games in the Lego series have been getting stale. It doesn’t matter which game you play, they all feel the same. It’s like the Madden and Call of Duty series, no matter what title you give the game in the series, it’s basically the same. It gets tiring after awhile. So, what chance does this recent Traveler Tales game have? Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for the PS3, 360, 3DS, and PS Vita is today’s review. Offering more super heroes to play as, and having actual voice acting, how does this game stack up? Does it bring the Lego series new life or does it just fall short a couple bricks? Read on to find out.
Troy Baker voices Bruce Wayne who is going into town for a “man of the year” award with Lex Luthor, again voiced by Clancy Brown. Of course Bruce wins the award and then the Joker, voiced by Steve Blum screws up the ceremony, and Bruce turns into Batman, stops the joker, and sends him to jail. To no one’s surprise, Lex Luthor helps the Joker and many villains escape into the city. Batman, with the help of his sidekick Robin and the Justice League must stop Joker, Lex, and anyone else who gets in the villains’ way to rule the world! The story is rather simple, but it’s a casual kid’s game, so don’t expect to see the dark themes from Arkham City appear here. I think one of the first things I had to adjust to was the fact there was voice acting in this game. At first, it was weird to hear Steve Blum do the Joker, but it grew on me and he did a good job.
The game play in Lego Batman 2 has some of the old Lego design, but has some big additions added to the entire play experience. The world of Gotham City is now open to explore by foot or vehicle. All over the map, there are areas that you can fast-travel to after you unlock a vehicle transporter thing. You also get a bonus when you unlock a vehicle transporter, and a super villain to fight that is near the area of the transporter. If you beat him or her and the fairly simple fighting tactics, you can purchase the super villain and use him or her in the open city to do certain things that you can’t do with the normal super heroes. In the normal Lego action levels, they are pretty much set up like the ones from Lego Batman. You have Batman and Robin at the beginning, and in the first half of the game, you get different suits to tackle different situations, like destroying certain colored blocks and taking care of hazardous materials. Even the magnet suit comes back and is now not as pointless as it was in the first game! Since this game does have the subtitle of DC Super Heroes, you correctly guessed or have seen that you can control different DC Super Heroes, especially Superman. Each of the heroes has usually two built-in abilities that would require Batman and Robin to have multiple suits for. For example, Cyborg, Superman, and Wonder Woman can pull on orange bricks, Cyborg and Superman can shoot lasers destroying orange bricks, and Green Lantern can manipulate neon green bricks. There are a lot of different things you can do with these heroes and it is fun to control them. There is a split screen co-op mode, but I’ll talk about that later on in the review. Overall, if you want to get everything including bricks, villains, and you get the idea, you got about 20 hours or more. I completed my run-through of the game at 24 hours or so.
The graphics look great on the HD consoles, I can’t comment on the Wii or handheld versions, but the console versions are nice to look at with a few texture pop-ins from time to time. The thing that surprised me was, again, the voice acting. I was a little thrown off when I saw Troy Baker and Steve Blum take on Batman and The Joker, but they did a good job. They even got voice actors like Tara Strong, Travis Willingham, John DiMaggio, Rob Paulsen, and many other actors who bring the characters to life. The music that is used in the game is the Danny Elfman Batman soundtrack, John William’s Superman soundtrack, and has some original songs made for the game. The humor, while childish, did make me smirk from time to time. There has to be something said when later on in the game when Superman loses the ability to fly, you as Superman are driving a garbage truck to the next story-based objective.
So, why is this game a few bricks short? Well, the Justice League barely does anything story-wise until the end and has no character development. It’s rather obnoxious when I have to wait to play Cyborg and Green Lantern until the VERY END of the game. I also found the boss fights just okay. They weren’t terrible, but were just average. The boss cameos from mostly Batman villains that are located all over Gotham are basically poorly implemented and are boring to the point of being pointless. A lot of them usually have the same tactics and are VERY easy to beat when you have someone like Wonder Woman or Superman who can’t get hurt. Oh, and why do I have to buy every villain to unlock them? A lot of them get stupidly expensive and it will take you forever to unlock EVERYTHING due to the prices of everything. The final boss fight is also disappointing and takes way too long to finish. I won’t say how it goes if no one has played it, but be prepared to get bored. I also found some of the old issues from the last couple of Lego games, like the pulled back camera and the split screen co-op are still huge hassles that Traveler Tales NEEDS to fix in the future games. I’m also not a big fan of the DLC, but you don’t have to buy them if you don’t want them. I also hate how the map system works, since you have to constantly pause the game to see the map on a different menu screen and it halts the gameplay. Oh, and there is no mini-map or hub map. My final complaint is minor, but I found the vehicle controls, running in the city, and flying controls are a bit loose. It was awkward to control the characters, and vehicles don’t have that polished feel to them.
So, is this my favorite game of the year? No! Is it a bad game? No! Is it a good game? Why, yes it is! It’s one of the best games out of the Lego franchise and one of the better games of this year. If you want to get a copy of it, I can recommend getting the 360 and PS3 version. I just hope Traveler Tales can go up and beyond the line of duty for the next games in the Lego super hero game.
This game gets a solid 8 out of 10