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LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Review (Xbox 360)

Posted by Jim Cook, Jun 19, 2012 18:31

Before we begin the review, I promise I won’t make even a single Batman meme joke in an effort to seem cool or funny. At any rate, the ongoing success of the LEGO gaming franchise and the Dark Knight’s own revival in quality films and games has met its obvious conclusion, with the release of LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. In some ways, it is more of the same from the LEGO series; much of your time is spent marching through 3D areas full of generic enemies, followed by basic puzzles, leading up to a boss fight. There are even the usual loads of secret items and characters to find, though they have tried to add some new things to do. The result is a decent family-oriented game, though ’decent’ is about the limit of my enthusiasm for it.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360)The premise is standard whimsical LEGO fare, featuring several DC Comics villains such as the Joker and Lex Luthor teaming up to dispose of their respective superhero rivals. Said heroes do trickle in gradually (and once they’re assembled, it’s an impressive roster indeed), but most of the game is understandably Batman & Robin’s show. While most stages follow the ’fight, puzzle, boss fight’ routine mentioned earlier, there is a gimmick to it this time in the form of special suits for the duo to use. These suits grant new abilities, such as super strength, the ability to magnetize to metal walls and walk along them, and more. These abilities join their usual array of skills such as basic punches and kicks, plus tools like grappling hooks and Batarangs. You’ll be using pretty much all of these and more in order to solve puzzles, many of which rely on finding hidden or hard to reach switches with the suits you just came across.

Granted, ’hard’ is a very relative word here. LEGO Batman 2 certainly wants players to succeed, and while it’s willing to punish incorrect choices by deducting some points from your score it rarely gets more severe than that. The developers clearly knew their audience would include children and inexperienced adults, and they have made sure those players won’t be overwhelmed. Failure is usually just a momentary setback, and the only real problem is that some puzzles take advantage of that as an excuse to be lazy or confusing. While most make sense, a few leave their solution very close to hazards that instantly ’kill’ Batman (well, break him down into component LEGO blocks, then he reassembles himself) and take other strange liberties with the player’s expectations. Most boss fights and regular battles are pretty straightforward and enjoyable, though.

Most of what I’ve just described sounds like any other LEGO game, so it’s fair to wonder what makes this one different. The most notable of these is an attempt to expand the game world. The idea of a small ’hub world’ to explore and go to other stages is pretty typical for the series, but LEGO Batman 2 significantly expands on it. In addition to the Batcave, you now have a pretty large representation of Gotham City. It’s not just a hub; there are actually several secret items, hidden bosses, and vehicles to acquire. This isn’t Grand Theft Auto in terms of scale and depth, but the city is reasonably large and fun to drive or run through. Some of your hidden characters offer other options for getting around too, and this can be enjoyable for a little while.

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Our Rating for LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Review (Xbox 360)
8.5 Replay
An impressive amount of hidden characters and items can be found, many of them lying about in a pretty large version of Gotham City that you’re allowed to explore. Fans of 100% completion runs in a game will be very happy with this.
7.0 Graphics
The playful, simplistic look of LEGO blocks is carried over very well here, and most DC characters are immediately recognizable for who they are. It may not be technically amazing, but it’s distinct and works fine.
7.5 Sound
A soundtrack of iconic Batman music fits well, even if certain pieces of it see so much use that they grow old quickly. Passable sound effects and good voice acting help tell a playful story of good versus evil with some humor mixed in.
7.0 Gameplay
Easily learned controls, a very forgiving respawn/continue system, and tutorials when a new ability first comes up ensure almost anyone can play this well. There’s enough variety in the routine of fighting enemies, solving puzzles, taking on a boss, and driving vehicles that repetition doesn’t set in too early.
7.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Local split-screen (adjusting screen, really) for two players is offered, with no online play. There are some spots where the view is annoying, but this is still the best way to play; many puzzles require both characters to do something, and the AI’s ability to help with them can best be described as “It eventually cooperates. Eventually.”
7.0 Overall
A commendable attempt to update the LEGO series, albeit to mixed success. Anyone already tired of these games won’t find much to bring them back in this time around, though those willing to go through one more LEGO lark or who have yet to experience these titles will have some fun.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 4


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