LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360)

Date Tue, September 11 2012

I’ve hesitate to write my review for Lego Batman 2 for a couple reasons.

  1. Everyone else liked it more than the original.
  2. I waited so long that it no longer seems relevant.
  3. And I don’t remember much about it.

Okay, so that’s a few reasons, but the point remains. In fact, the last reason is probably the most important. I played through this video game, and it left very little of an impression. I beat the entire story mode, but it just failed to call me back to play free play. The original, despite its shortcomings, never failed in that mode. The very things that made Lego Batman 2 sound enticing are also the things that most disappointing.

Lego Batman 2

Lego Batman 2

The Superheroes

Sure, you get to play as Sups and WonderWoman and the Green Lantern and a few lesser-known characters, but they all have limited screentime. Aside from Superman, you only get to play with most of the Justice League in the last two chapters. All in all, it seems like they don’t play very much of a role in this game, and that’s disappointing.¬†The Flash’s super speed was fun, and I enjoyed breaking everything with the Man of Steel, but any character with heat/laser vision soon became monotonous. Robin’s updated costume is pretty slick, however.

While Lego Batman 2 does introduce new skills and overlaps them–multiple characters have laser vision–so you don’t always have to be the same character, you just don’t get to play as them as frequently as I’d like. This game would better be titled Lego Batman 2 and Superman.

The Flying

All the Leg video games suffer from screen issues. If you share the screen with your co-op partner, you wind up dying or killing them accidentally. The split-screen options are confusing, and this is true for Lego Batman 2. You were much closer to the characters in the original, but everything is much smaller and more difficult to see with the followup. Consider that I played the original on a TV half the size and it was easier to see, and this is no small (haha) issue. I digress. Flying adds yet another frustrating screen issue. Because you’re floating, you’re further away from the ground/buildings/other characters. The screen rotation is ridiculous and depth perception completely disappears. At first, flying seemed cool, but I quickly stopped playing the flying characters because of these frustrations.

The Story

I don’t remember anything about the story, except that it had the joker. I’m not kidding. It was super short, and you only get to play as the good guys. The villain’s mode in the original Lego Batman added something to the game that this one just lacks. It was all over in short order. I spent little time playing as Batman or Superman, and even less time was spent as the other members of JLA. The bulk of this game is about free play, which some people will love. For me, it’s all about the story, and LB2 failed in both depth and length.

The City

Rather than setting the game in the Batcave, the devs placed it in Gotham. On the one hand, this gives you a bigger playground. On the other ,you have to run around to find where you’re going. The division between “home base” and actual game is confused, and I spent a lot of time running around trying to figure out where I was supposed to be, and then trying to find it. Even with the city map, finding anything or anyone was more frustrating than it should have been.

The Controls

I loved the original game because I could run around and break the crap out of Lego blocks. Talk about fun and fancy-free. The sequel is anything but, however. After a few minutes of walking, you start to sprint. The vehicles go much more quickly, and controlling your character, even on foot, is hard. Why should this be? Why can’t we have the speed without going so fast as to hurt eyes or make gameplay difficult?

The Achievements

Are awful. All the achievements in the original made Batman fans smile because they drew from the story of Batman. This was a game for the fans of Batman, not just Legos. The same isn’t true for Lego Batman 2. Every time you finish a level, you get achievements. They’re shallow and useless. Achievements should be for special things, not for just playing the game. It’s not like Batman’s canon didn’t provide plenty of opportunity for new achievements that would make the fans of DC Universe smile.

The Glitches

My god, you’d think the devs would be better at this by now but no, they’re not. The game froze in several places. We lost some serious data. This was also a problem with the original. Um, hello? Let’s fix this.

All in all, I was glad to finish story mode and walk away from this video game. I didn’t want to try to get any more achievements. I didn’t want to explore Gotham. I didn’t want to unlock all the minikits or get to 100% completion. I couldn’t care less about the extra characters, very few of whom are in the story mode. You have to run around the city and beat them up to get them.

I didn’t loathe the additions of voices like some others, but I do think it could’ve been done better. Some of the actors were just atrocious. Visually, this is more matured. The cut scenes with the improved graphics and voices add something that other Lego games add, but it also further removes them from the reason that we love other Lego games.

The premise of a Lego game that involved more of Batman’s cronies was great. Some of the improvements are quite exciting, but Lego Batman 2 just feels¬†simultaneously¬†convoluted and unfinished. The latter seems to be due to a lack of Batman fans working behind the scene, overhyped “new” characters and a weak plot, but the former seems to be due to the direction all Lego games are taking. I, for one, preferred the simple break-and-build play of the original by far.

8 Responses

  1. Minta September 16 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    I haven’t even heard about this game..we do have the original that you build and we love that game..Thanks for sharing about this one.

  2. Beeb Ashcroft September 16 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the thorough review! I don’t have an Xbox so I haven’t gotten the opportunity to play this one, but I do love Batman.

  3. Terri September 16 2012 @ 5:34 pm

    My son is getting an XBox for Christmas. Thanks for the intro to this game title – I’ll bet he would love it!

  4. Grace Hodgin September 16 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    My grandson loves all the Lego games but he is a lot younger so is more easily entertained.

  5. CJ September 16 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    This game is new to me, thanks for sharing about it. I can think of a few little ones who would love this!

  6. daisy September 16 2012 @ 8:07 pm

    This is on our list for Christmas shopping. I know someone that will LOVE this!

  7. Diane September 17 2012 @ 5:53 am

    My son doesn’t have this one. Usually once he beats the story he doesn’t play the mini games either.

  8. Pam September 18 2012 @ 8:30 am

    I was thinking this one would be a good choice for the 9 year old but after reading your review it seems like it might be too easy.

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