In the previous LEGO Batman game, the levels were broken up into three 5-level storylines, but in this one it is a continuous 15-level story revolving around the antics of the Joker and Lex Luthor. At first you play as either Batman or Robin—with updated costumes to look more like their modern incarnations than the older ones in the previous game—but after a few levels Superman shows up as a playable character. Following that, the majority of the game focuses on Superman and Batman working together until the final two levels in which various Justice League members become playable characters (as well as Robin).
Also, like the previous game, there are various “suits” that Batman and Robin can wear that help out in specific situations. It can be annoying to find and use one of the suits, only to have to then switch out to another one—or, if you bypass a suit changer, to go back and find it, because you can’t get past a certain point without that specific suit.
A bit of a disappointment in terms of the storyline is that for five whole levels you’re spent battling a giant robot piloted by Lex and the Joker. This one fight was so long that I felt as though I was watching an episode of Dragon Ball Z but without the hair.
Open World Free Play
The best part of the game is trying to track down all the extra stuff in the Open World. Normally, they can be somewhat difficult to find, but in this game they’re even more challenging than normal. I’d recommend using Superman for most of these finds, as he can fly just about anywhere and has the heat vision eyes needed in some cases (so do a couple of others, but Superman has the invulnerability factor).
The more challenging aspect of these finds is that they’ve now been designed for the player to go a specific way to get to them—no bypassing. In order to get several of the Gold Bricks, you have to be using one of the Batman/Robin suits—sometimes more than one—and the beginning of the path is sometimes several buildings away from the end. It can be slightly frustrating, but it was rather enjoyable overall.
And, for certain make sure you go to the amusement park; not only do you get a lot of Gold Bricks, but you can have fun just playing the games and going on the rides.
Unlike previous LEGO games, Batman 2 uses voice actors, creating a more cohesive and inclusive storyline. Some of the voices sound familiar, as they’ve reprised some of their roles from the DCAU television shows, but not most of them. One of the best parts was the newscast at the beginning of each story level, tying in the events from the previous level to the current one.
A really great addition was the Red Brick “Peril Finder,” allowing you to find the “Citizens in Peril”—if anyone has played the LEGO Harry Potter games, then you’ll know that finding those “Students in Peril” could sometimes be a huge pain, especially in the Open World section.
The best addition that I’ve seen is the Map, a section where you can look at all of Gotham City and “Scan” it to find the location of Gold Bricks, Red Bricks, Citizens in Peril, Villains, and LEGO Doorways. It’s not pinpoint accurate, and you can’t zoom in like you could with GoogleMaps, but it does help give a ballpark of where certain items are.
Perhaps playing the other LEGO games has spoiled me, but I was pretty disappointed with the amount of characters available—it wasn’t a large selection. I expected a lot more of the Justice League and their enemies to be available, but even with the 5-villian-pack I got as a download with the game, there still weren’t that many individuals.
It also wasn’t as long as the previous LEGO Batman game, with only 15 levels all done from the hero side. It would have been amusing to see the other side with Lex and the Joker as main characters—although, to be perfectly honest, Lex is not the best playable character for this game.
The flight controls in the Open World are also very hard to use, at least on the 360. They just seem to be too sensitive, and at least two other people I know have complained about it. It is very easy to literally fly into things, and you have to maneuver the flight path so exactly that even the smallest deviation can cause you to careen in a trajectory that will plant you headfirst into the ground. Fun!
Glitches (360 version)
There are some glitches to watch out for when playing the 360 version (I’m not sure if they exist in the other versions, though.) that can ruin the game if taken too seriously. A slight glitch is that every time you collect a Gold Brick in the Open World, it freezes the player for a few seconds, not letting you move. I’d suggest playing as Superman for most of these, so that you’re not randomly accosted by thugs in a dark alley without any way to defend yourself.
A somewhat major glitch that I encountered was in Level 12; at the end, the cinematic scene locks up and freezes the game, forcing you to turn off the console. The best way to counteract this is to leave the console off for at least five minutes—the longer the better—to let it cool down and then replay the level. It may take more than one try to get around this but it is possible, and once you do it you won’t have to worry about it in Free Play mode.
I had fun playing the game and utterly destroyed it in less than a week of playing (that’s on top of working and spending time with my family). Sadly, like all LEGO games, it is short to play but fun to do so. It is a good, family-friendly game, especially for the geeks who have little geeklings, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys LEGOs or comics.
Now, to await the LEGO Lord of the Rings game in the fall . . .