LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes
In the course of seven short years and numerous mash ups of classic movies and comics, the LEGO series of video games has accomplished what few games have managed – to create a series of games where the core objective remains the same and yet make it different so that players will still enjoy every different game.
Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes is no exception. The title, much like any other LEGO title is to get from point A to point B whilst collecting as many studs as possible and looking out for secret items and inhabitants in danger. However unlike previous LEGO games of yesteryear LEGO Batman is not based on any of the movies nor is it based on any particular comic book or even the Arkham series of games. This gives TT Games an effective blank canvas to make a unique game that is unlike any of the movie tie-in titles on show. Utilising this unique opportunity, they decided to tinker with the formula to craft something familiar and yet new at the same time. The first thing that stands out is when the game is loaded up, the normal mumblings of the Lego characters are gone, replaced instead with real voice acting.
As shocking as it may seem with any LEGO game, the decision was made to dispose of the murmuring and tone
down the various slapstick expressions in favour of spoken jokes and a plot that is narrated to you, the player. This is a brave and well thought out move and it does pay off. Through the entire game players are treated with humorous banter between Batman and his various friends and foes, which would have been harder to pull off if they were to speak gobbledygook to one and other.
The plot of the game is simple enough and one that has been in place since the dawn of the DC comics – Batman must stop the Joker from destroying Gotham. However the clown has found a friend in one Lex Luthor. A somewhat reluctant Bruce Wayne calls upon Superman and other Justice League characters to battle against the newly formed partnership. For those not in the know, the Justice League is the DC equivalent or Marvel’s Avengers formed of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash & Aquaman. Like other LEGO games, the entire League contributes their own individual powers into a massive list of playable characters that can eventually be used on any level to find hidden extras.
And boy, there are extras are a plenty in Lego Batman 2. There are the usual Golden and Red Bricks to unlock and a plethora of costumes, vehicles and characters to find, and to put it in perspective the main game only contributes approximately 20% of the game itself. It is straight forward enough to save Gotham City but there is a lot of replaying levels to gain everything there is to offer.
Backtracking and replaying the same levels can get monotonous at times but the rewards for doing so are worth it. Lets not forget that for trophy hunters this is a requirement to gain the all-important platinum trophy. As mentioned the main game makes up a small percentage of the game itself however do not let this fool you into thinking the game is short. Far from it as each one of the games fifteen levels is deceptively long. Each is broken into sections with checkpoints to save progress in case you need to stop playing for whatever reason. This means all the studs you collect will be safe.
When being Batman and playing through the levels gets too much for you, you will be able to wonder through Gotham City as TT have managed to create a full city out of LEGO, which grows as each level is completed. It has sights such as Arkham Asylum and the Wayne Manor to enjoy and once fully unlocked is a jewel to enjoy by either land sea or air.
Like all of TT’s LEGO games, LEGO Batman 2 has a simple enough control scheme that is easy to pick up and master. However some niggles has managed to find their way onto the game such as the camera. For the majority of the game it is fine, however it is prone to getting stuck meaning the timing for jumps or lining up Batman to cross a bridge only to fall to his doom can happen. It does not happen often but when it does it is frustrating.
A few camera issues aside, LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes is a brilliant edition to the ever growing LEGO franchise of video games, and managing to stick to the original formula of comedy, platforming and exploring a world of LEGO while keeping it fresh is no mean feat but TT Games have managed to pull it off by offering tweaks that enhance, not detract from the game. The voice acting works well and with over 250 collectables to find it will keep players going for a while. Veterans may get a little tired with the backtracking but sticking with Batman is a worth it just to drive around Gotham in the Batmobile alone.