Tag Archive: DC Superheroes

You can call me…JOKER!

In my mind, the major issue holding the Lego videogame franchise back since its 2005 debut has been the strict guidelines to which the games adhere, since they’re all based on established properties. Mind you, they’re all terrific franchises: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and soon, Lord of the Rings. But one game in the series that bucked that trend was the first Lego Batman. Though the Caped Crusader’s clearly an established property, the story didn’t limit itself to a comic book, cartoon, or movie story arc—and many of us celebrated that fact.

Flash forward four years after the release of the first Lego Batman, and developer Traveller’s Tales has decided to forgo their proven-successful mold once more with Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes. Not only does this entry provide players with an original storyline, but it also marks several significant series firsts. Midlevel checkpoints might be one of the more noticeable changes, as the size and scale of each story level is several times larger than anything else seen to date in the Lego franchise. The game also includes a centralized hub world—in this case, Lego Gotham City—that connects players to many of the major plot points.

But let’s get to the biggest change: talking! For the first time ever, each character in the game actually speaks and doesn’t just mime their intentions or resort to physical humor to get a point across. Now, that’s not to say that the childish Lego slapstick’s been entirely done away with—there’s just a bit less of it. And DC Superheroes’ cast is more or less a Who’s Who of voice actors, with Nolan North, Rob Paulsen, Claudia Black, Tara Strong, Jennifer Hale, and many more—spearheaded by Clancy Brown, who reprises his DC Animated role of Lex Luthor.

But as always, it’s that classic Lego gameplay model of destroying and rebuilding everything in your path—and the kooky plot at the center of it all—that really makes DC Superheroes. And, of course, as our tale unfolds, the Joker’s back up to his old hijinks; he crashes the Gotham “Man of the Year” awards, demanding that he should be the recipient. Bruce Wayne, the actual winner, makes a quick costume change into Batman and proceeds to apprehend his longtime nemesis. But Lex Luthor, also in attendance, decides that working with the Joker to possibly help rig his upcoming presidential run could be just what he needs to change his address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And so, as soon as the Joker lands back in Arkham Asylum, Lex busts him out. A nefarious duo of such epic proportions might be too much for even Batman to handle, so the entire Justice League comes in to lend their support.

More so than any Lego game to date, this one should strike a chord with audiences of all ages. Older Batfans will appreciate several moments that pay homage to Adam West, Michael Keaton, and essentially every actor who’s worn the cape and cowl over the years, while younger players will love being able to break apart and rebuild an entirely interactive Gotham. And with the expanded roster of the Justice League at your command, exploring the same area with different characters can make DC Superheroes seem like a whole new adventure each time—not to mention that you’ll need to switch often if you want to find every secret red or golden block.

The expanded Gotham does provide some navigational problems, though. Although the game includes a map feature—and you can place markers that create a Fable-like trail in the ground comprised of Lego studs—the markers blend too easily into the background and can be confused with those you pick up as currency to unlock characters. And while there’s also a compass in the upper-left corner of your HUD when in the Gotham hub world, it’s difficult to really tell where you want to go, especially when soaring around in the Batwing or taking hairpin turns in the Batmobile—the compass spins around faster than the Flash on a straightaway!

Despite these occasional navigational issues, though, this is still the most complete experience you’re likely to get in a Lego game. Whether it’s taking to the air as Superman, making constructs as the Green Lantern, or just sticking to the main story as the Dark Knight and rocking out in his iconic vehicles, gamers of all ages should be able to appreciate what Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes brings to the table.

SUMMARY: Easily the best Lego game yet, Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes’ expansive world, original story, and bevy of unlockables should please fans of all ages.  

  • THE GOOD: Massive world, entertaining original story.
  • THE BAD: Easy to get lost in Lego Gotham.
  • THE UGLY: Aquaman. Aquaman is always the answer to this one.

SCORE: 9.5

Lego Batman 2: DC Superheros is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, 3DS, and PS Vita. Primary version reviewed was for the Xbox 360. 

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.