Lego Batman 2 starts with the Joker causing his usual brand of mayhem which Batman and Robin must clean up. A fairly simple task until Lex Luthor joins in on the action. This will require the help from Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern and, well, pretty much every DC hero you can think of.
Lego Batman 2 is one of those games that comes along every once in a while that requires very little skill, all age groups can capably enjoy and also very little thought is needed to play through and complete.
Although these three factors normally make for a bad game, the people at Traveller’s Tales seem to disagree and rightly so – after all this isn’t their first successful Lego title. TT Games have been making Lego games now for seven years, improving and ironing out the kinks subtly over each story showing that although simple to the eye, a lot of thought and effort is being made. Lego Batman 2 having the most noticeable changes yet; improved camera angles on a relatively fixed environment makes platforming easier and less frustrating; a free-roaming Gotham City is also a new feature which was hugely welcomed as not only do you get to romp around one of the most famous comic book cities but it also plays as a giant level in itself with lots of action, purchasable vehicles to buy and golden bricks to discover. Red bricks – which unlock cheats to help you complete the game to its entirety – also have to be earned here, compared to some of the older titles where you simply purchase them from gaining Lego studs collected throughout the story mode. Finally, the most noticeable new feature is speech. That’s right, for the first time ever Lego Batman 2 has dialogue and it has been beautifully scripted and voice-acted, giving extra fun and depth to the characters which in turn draws you into the game that little bit more. Sure, the voices take away some of the charm the game’s predecessors had, but it gains in more ways than it loses.
Lego Batman 2 has fifteen levels to play through, all having ten mini-kit pieces to collect which will unlock a vehicle that you can drive, sail or fly around Gotham; each level also has a civilian to rescue and a stud target to achieve. You won’t be able to collect everything however until you complete the whole story and unlock new characters that you can use in Free Play mode. This brings extra life to the game and doesn’t feel taxing in the slightest. On top of this you have drop in, drop out multiplayer capability; sadly there is still no online multiplayer, which is a bit of a shambles as this isn’t the most complex game ever made and this should be a given by today’s online standards.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this game, the lack of online multiplayer gave me a sense of disappointment but wasn’t the only thing that tainted my experience. Sadly I found myself staring at a frozen screen time and time again from where the game had crashed, meaning a full reset was needed and if you are in the middle – or towards the end – of a level I’d have to do it all over again as often the auto save wouldn’t have kicked in. Hours of wasted gameplay has a way of leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.
Sadly there is more woe – careless testing resulted in a pretty bad glitch for me: after fighting my way through a long level and getting to The Scarecrow boss at the end, it became apparent that I needed both playable characters to defeat him. I found myself yet again quitting out to the title screen because the second usable character had been locked out of the boss arena by an electrical barrier. Rather than re-spawning next to me, he was destroyed time and time again as he was being respawned on the wrong side of the fence. Another disappointing experience and yet there is more! Whilst looking to buy aircraft vehicles marked on your map you will notice a lot of the time that the vehicles are not where they’re supposed to be, until after you run around for a while at least and return – even then there is no guarantee that they will appear. If this is by-design then there’s no apparent logic to it so I consider it a bug.
With a fun, unique storyline and new superheroes/villains at your disposal, beautiful graphics, longer levels and a huge environment to explore this game should be enjoyable. In fact it is most of the time – sadly the good aspects don’t outweigh the bad however. Although improvements have been made, new faults have been put in their place. Maybe TT Games didn’t test Lego Batman 2 thoroughly enough before releasing it; maybe they desperately want to re-introduce a hard reset button on your console. Time will tell when Lego Lord of the Rings is on sale as to whether the series will look up. Until then, this game should be classed as an exercise tool because you will be forever getting up off your seat to turn it off and on again.