PN Review: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Wii U)
As I write this review, it feels like it might already be a bit outdated. Lego Batman 2 is not only a sequel, but it’s a sequel that came out a year ago but now it comes to the Wii U. It’s a pretty solid game, and it, along with Lego City Undercover, is pointing future Lego games in a good direction.
Some More of the Same
If you’re familiar with Lego games, then you’ll jump into this one pretty easily. In the style of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, Lego Batman has you completing levels while solving puzzles, breaking everything in sight, and collecting an absurd amount of studs. You unlock a fairly ridiculous number of characters, and then revisit the levels and pick them apart to find every last hidden secret. It’s quite a romp.
The first Lego Batman, unlike Star Wars or Indiana Jones, eschews a familiar Batman storyline and uses an original plot. Lego Batman 2 continues the practice, introducing a fun little story where Lex Luthor is enlisting Joker’s help to win a presidential campaign using a giant robot and mind control gas. Okay, so yeah, it’s not the deepest story. Oh, well. But by centering on Lex Luthor, it paves the way for the inclusion of an expansive array of other DC cast members. Notably, Superman helps Batman and Robin for a large portion of the story as they work together to defeat the villainous pair. Eventually the rest of the Justice League shows up, and the game’s unlockable characters–heroes and villains alike–come from all throughout DC’s roster.
Another first for this game is the use of voice actors. Lego characters have, until now, communicated with gestures and body language, giving the games a unique sort of charm. Luckily, the voice acting still retains that charm, while adding another layer of humor to the characters’ interactions.
A New Direction
The boldest and most mold-breaking move of this game is the implementation of an open world. The game’s story is fairly short but is supplemented by open exploration of Gotham. You can cruise through the streets in the Batmobile, race across the city as Flash, or just fly around as Superman and revel in his glorious theme music. This open world mode is how you track down, defeat, and unlock villains to play as. It’s a fun world to explore, the environments are well-designed, but there isn’t a lot of content outside of the spattering of villains to fight. The open world obviously wasn’t the focus of the game, but it’s an interesting addition and will hopefully pave the way for future Lego games.
What Does it All Mean?
For the most part, Lego Batman 2 is a fairly ramped-up version of its predecessor. The puzzles are fun, the characters are cute, and the replayability is immense. The good news is that Traveller’s Tales knows what they’re doing, they can throw together a good super hero game, and they’re increasingly willing to experiment a little. This can only bode well for this year’s upcoming Lego Marvel Super Heroes!