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Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes Review

Free Play, Lego Batman, Open World

Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes is another solid base hit in the Lego video game franchise. My son and I have played through just about all of the titles on the Xbox 360 since the first Lego Star Wars was released. Lego games are some of the few titles out there that hit the right note between being family-friendly and enjoyable for adults/kid co-op play. I’ve played through the story mode and completed a little over 50% of everything Batman 2 has to offer. The experience is just as good as any other Lego game, but that’s the game’s biggest problem. Even with a few elements new to the Lego gaming experience, the game is simply on par with other Lego games.

Batman 2 follows the standard Lego game formula of smashing objects, solving puzzles, finding hidden baubles, and using Lego studs to purchase characters and vehicles. There’s nothing really new in Batman 2 in the areas of game play, graphics, or music that sets it apart from previous Lego titles. The new hooks in the latest Lego installment are an open world Gotham City and the addition of actual speech in the cut-scenes.

The story mode pits Batman and primarily Superman in a World’s Finest struggle against the Joker and Lex Luthor. You’ll get to play other DC universe heroes (Green Lantern, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Flash) late in the story mode. One might think this would be a disappointment, but the other heroes’ special abilities are nothing that truly makes the heroes feel unique. Wonder Woman is basically a hybrid of other characters’ powers with a Lasso of Truth that’s only good for pulling switches. Green Lantern turns out to be the most original and least utilized of the Justice Leaguers. The Power Ring wielding hero can construct, you guessed it, green objects that effect the game’s environment. Pity there’s only a handful of instances in story mode or free play that capitalizes on Green Lantern’s abilities.

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Batman 2 is set up in the vaguely open world environment of Gotham. Players run around the city looking for the starting point of the story mode’s chapters while being tantalized by the prospects of what adventures await on Gotham’s streets. Unfortunately, most of what Gotham has to offer is out of reach until one has completed the story mode. The execution of Batman 2’s open world is handled infinitely better than Lego Indiana Jones 2’s head scratching layout, but Gotham has a lot to be desired. Hidden in the streets and buildings of Gotham are character/vehicle unlocks and gold/red bricks. There are some challenges in getting the swag, but the majority of the 250 plus extras items in Gotham are fairly static. Most of the gold/red bricks in Gotham can be obtained by doing mundane tasks such as filling vats with different color liquids or having a specific character open a box. The new open environment gold/red brick hunting was fun for the first 50, but the variation of tasks leaves the 150th gold brick feeling like a day at the office.

Topping off the list of problems with Batman 2 is that there are an abnormally high amount of glitches. The worst I found was the game freezing at the final cut scene in Chapter 12. This might not have been fatal except I could not continue onto the next chapter. A call to the customer support line yielded, “Yes we know it’s a problem and no we don’t know when there will be a patch”. Thanks guys. Luckily through a forum search I found that if you turn off the music, subtitles, and motion blur Chapter 12 will end properly. Other glitches I experienced were simply annoyances and didn’t majorly alter game play.

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Overall Batman 2’s story mode is fun and through free play has a high replay value. However, Batman 2 didn’t give me much in the way of a “gee-whiz this is something fresh” feeling. There’s always hope on the horizon. Lego Lord of the Rings is in the works, my precious…