Lego Batman 2 is the latest in a long series of Lego games by Traveller’s Tales, having reached other platforms only 3 months ago to great reception.
Although the game itself doesn’t take many pains to explain the gameplay to you, those who have played any of the previous Lego games will feel right at home, ready to dive into to the tricks and gizmos the game has to offer. For everyone else, well, you play one of the DC Superheros in Lego form, where you must stop the Lego villains by, er, destroying everything you can find. Smashing bits of Lego is not only a great deal of fun, it also rewards you with “studs” (a score and currency within the game) and occasionally scraps of Lego with which to build new items in order to progress. Part of the game involves solving basic puzzles, navigating through the environment, and even piloting different vehicles. You can switch between any characters in your party, each of whom has a set of actions they can perform, for example Batman himself can throw a baterang, targeting multiple enemies and scenery fixtures, and he can grapple onto certain hooks found throughout the levels. There are also lots of different costumes for your heros to be found, which give them new abilities. For example, Robin can don a “Hazard Suit”, allowing him to walk through fire and collect water to clean up toxic spills.
All in all, the sheer variety of characters and suits means you get a lot of toys to play with, and the game cheerfully doles them out at a steady pace. You also get to pilot cars and other vehicles both in the levels and in the GTA-style Gotham City “hub” that links them together. The hub provides a means to accumulate extra studs as well as (later on) spend them on new characters and complete bonus challenges.
This also marks the first Lego game in which the characters are fully voiced. It works extremely well, and the relationship between the characters is superb. Batman scowls at the goody two-shoes Superman, whilst Robin sulks at being constantly left out of the limelight. The story comes off as inconsequentially, that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it, only that its primary purpose is to provide a playground for all the characters. Given the number of different licenses involved in this single game (and the politics involved, no doubt), it’s astonishing that it works so well.
The game still suffers from many of the same issues endemic to the series. There’s no difficulty setting, so you might find it too easy of too hard (this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that Superman’s character is extremely powerful, so just sticking with him where possible makes the game a lot easier; also you can try and find all the many, many collectibles scattered about if you’re in need of more of a challenge. Controlling vehicles in third-person mode is frustrating, there were a couple of instances where the vehicles got completely stuck due to lack of a reverse option. Then there’s the awful camera, which allows you to pan only slightly, making it very difficult to judge depth correctly.
Overall, it’s the same Lego formula, but it’s the best one so far, combining the joy of wanton destruction, loveable characters and simple but varied gameplay.
Performance & Quality
We spotted some graphical anomalies when you don’t have the quality settings dialled all the way up. There was also some pretty bad frame drop from time to time, but on the whole it was playable. There’s also an issue with the mouse not being locked to the screen, so if you have a dual monitor setup, you might find yourself accidentally clicking in the other window. There’s also an issue whereby every time you fly (as Superman) the tutorial message comes up telling you how to control him. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in a future update.
It’s also worth noting that the save games are not compatible with the Windows version.
The game supports local multiplayer only, whereby you and your partner each take control of a different character.