Keeping licensed Lego games fresh can be quite the challenge. For the upcoming Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, developer Traveller's Tales needs to find a way to set it apart from other games in the genre. The game itself brandishes one of the new aspects to be featured in the game: the inclusion of additional DC comic superheroes, like The Flash. But there are a few other things included to help ensure that this Lego experience isn't like every other one.
For starters, this time around, Traveller's Tales is incorporating an open-world approach to the Lego Batman universe. While the core story will be pretty linear--involving an evil plot concocted by The Joker and Lex Luthor--there will be opportunities to go off the beaten path and explore the city of Gotham. The entire city is yours to discover. The story may have you visit certain locales throughout the adventure, but if you want to go back and check out certain areas, you're more than welcome to do so. Of course, some areas will be accessible early on, but others will require certain items, specifically suits, for the characters to reach them.
Both Batman and Robin will obtain special suits that, when worn, give the ability to do cool things. There will be a handful of different suits to collect throughout the game, and each has a specific feature. You'll also switch between various suits on more than a few occasions. In Robin's case, there is an acrobat suit that will let him climb up certain areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Batman will get a stealth suit that will let him go past henchmen and security cameras undetected. If you wear the electricity suit in an area guarded by electricity, you will be able to reach your desired spot and collect any kind of treasure that might be lying there.
Additional DC superheroes are also included. The previous game allowed you to play with additional characters, both good and bad; this one will have 50 playable characters. Of them, though, the one who plays a central role to Batman and Robin is, of course, Superman.
The man of steel will join the dynamic duo partway through the game, and players will have access to Superman's abilities. As Superman, you'll be able to freeze people, fly high in the sky, and reach spots neither Batman nor Robin can reach. While it may seem that Superman should be able to do anything, thanks to his incredible power, the developers have found ways of making it so that you need to use all of the characters to access everything in Gotham.
Of course, there are other aspects to Lego Batman 2 that should help to differentiate it from other Lego games. Traveller's Tales heard that people wanted the ability save their progress midway through each level. Rather than having to restart an area from the beginning, now, you have midlevel save checkpoints that should be real time-savers. The other big reveal for Lego Batman 2 is that this is the first game to actually feature talking Lego characters. While we didn't get to see the talking in action, it appears that the entire game will be fully voiced. It will be interesting to see whom they line up as the voice talent for the characters and just how much dialogue is in the story.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is scheduled for release sometime this summer on every platform, but no firm release date has been set. There is a lot riding on this particular Lego game to have it stand out from the others, and hopefully, an open-world Lego Gotham with a fully voiced story and the man of steel are enough to do that.