I'm starting to think that 2012 might be the year I overdose on super heroes. At the theater it's nothing but comic book adaptations, including The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-man, The Dark Knight, Judge Dredd, Ghost Rider and Men in Black 3. And it's not just movies, I recently went through Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition and Pinball FX2: The Avengers Chronicles. And now, just when I'm starting to crack, I have to go through LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. I swear, as soon as summer ends I'm only going to watch grounded, coming-of-age indie dramas.
By my count this is the twelfth LEGO game based on a licensed property, a franchise that has taken us from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Pirates of the Caribbean. LEGO Batman 2 doesn't stray too far from the tried and true (and stale) formula, but does offer an original storyline, some cool set pieces and dozens of characters to unlock. Best of all, it sets up what will surely be the next big series -- LEGO Justice League.
Don't get too excited about the "DC Super Heroes" subtitle, because it's nothing more than a tease. This is a Batman game first and foremost, even if a few other DC characters are sprinkled in towards the end. The Joker has teamed up with Lex Luthor, who is sore from having just lost a prestigious award to billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. Together the two hatch a plan, which involves rigging an election, operating a giant mech and creating a weapon that will destroy LEGO creations brick by brick. It's up to Batman and Robin to swoop in and save the day.
The storyline starts out promising enough, with the Joker breaking all of our favorite villains out of Arkham Asylum. And then, just as quickly as they escaped, Batman catches them and throws them back behind bars. That's when the game lets you know that the Joker wants your undivided attention, much to the detriment to the plot.
In LEGO Batman 2, gamers are tasked with fighting through 15 action-packed levels (plus one extremely cool bonus stage). These stages take you through a number of popular Gotham City destinations, such as Arkham Asylum, Wayne Tower, Harley Quinn's carnival and the toxic chemical factory. You'll even have a chance to fly over Gotham in your own Batwing. Players will be asked to pilot a series of vehicles (including boats and cars) before the credits roll.
The levels themselves play out like a cross between Double Dragon and The Lost Vikings. There are large chunks of time when you're doing little more than mashing the "X" button and collecting studs (the game's currency). When you're not mindlessly beating up thugs that look like Ronald McDonald, you'll spend the rest of your time solving puzzles. This means that both Batman and Robin will have to go through several costume changes in order to defeat electricity, glide across barriers, turn invisible and other super hero things.
The puzzles are largely the same from one level to the next, requiring Batman and Robin to switch suits in order to turn invisible, shoot rockets, glide, do acrobatic stunts and much, much more. Solo players will have to not only switch between costumes, but also change characters from one moment to the next. Your typical puzzle revolves around one character creating a path for the other, be it assembling a ledge, blowing open a door or sneaking past an especially nosey surveillance camera.
It's not a very deep game, but LEGO Batman 2 manages to charm with its open world and large roster. Fans of DC will love how many characters show up, while everybody else will have a good time taking down the Joker once again. Best of all, this game sets things up for the far more interesting LEGO Justice League adventure that is bound to be announced any time now!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!