Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

We all kind of know what to expect from the LEGO series of games now, whether it’s Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, or Harry Potter. But with one branch of the LEGO franchise, Telltale Games has decided to be a bit different this time around. Yes, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes looks to be the biggest and best game in the LEGO universe yet and from the demo we saw at GDC, anyone who is fan of LEGOs will not want to miss out on this title.

It’s hard to know where to start with this one as there is so many new features added in that differentiates this game from all those that came before it, but we’ll begin with the story. In a plot that reminded me of the Adam West Batman, the Joker has crashed the Gotham Man of the Year Awards, angry that HE wasn’t this year’s recipient. Thought to have been locked away safely in Arkham Asylum (yeah right), Batman knows he must get to the bottom of it and realizes Joker had help. Lex Luthor busted Joker out for reasons still unknown and so Batman realizes he needs some help. Enter the Justice League.

Now we don’t know how deep the roster is for the JL, but knowing the LEGO series, I don’t see them pulling out any stops with this and so we can expect a lot more than just Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Superman, who were just a couple of the members we saw briefly in action during our demo. And Superman’s entrance was epic in how he drifted down from the sky set to his movie theme, much how a lot of LEGO Batman’s scenes have Danny Elfman’s classic 1989 score in the background as well.

The most stunning aspect of the demo though was the central HUB world. Instead of being restricted to the Batcave like in the first game, all of Gotham, including landmarks like Wayne Tower, Amusement Mile, and the Botanical Gardens, are fully realized in a LEGO 3D environment that you can explore by flying around with Superman or one of the other JL members or drive around in one of Batman’s preferred vehicles. This also leaves a lot of opportunity for teaming up as we special LEGO blocks that could only be picked up by Batman, but needed Superman to melt special gold grating first with his heat vision.

And Batman isn’t alone on the power front. Much like in the first game, him and Robin see brand new specialized suits appear for certain situations. We saw Batman’s Electricity Suit, which makes him immune to electricity and can power up machinery, his Sensor Suit that makes him invisible to security cameras and can let him see through walls, and his Power Suit that gives him rocket launchers and limited strength abilities. We also saw a pair of Robin suits where Robin channels shades of both Tim Drake and Dick Grayson in his Acrobat Suit, which includes a bo staff and the ability to do Prince of Persia style flips from poles and his Hazard Suit which allows him to put out fires and swim underwater.

We were also told that a few new additions were inspired from critiques of previous games on the fan forums. These include mid-level saves for the longer levels, split-screen for when playing in co-op mode to allow for more individual player freedom, and for the first time ever in a LEGO game, voice actors. Yes, finally all the heroes and villains of the DC LEGO-verse will speak. There was no reveal of who the particular voice actors were for each character, but it was hinted at that fans would not be disappointed.

Honestly, I went into this meeting at GDC and had my mind blown by the differences we saw between the first LEGO Batman and this new game and the idea of exploring LEGO Gotham had me a lot more excited than I thought it would. It made me feel like a kid again and I think that’s what has always been part of the appeal of the LEGO games and already with an early build, this game has succeeded on that front for me. Now it’s just a matter of trying to develop some patience before LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes’s Summer 2012 release.