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Review

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Review

  • Game release: June 19, 2012
  • Reviewed: June 22, 2012
  • X360

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes transports the series' problems to an open world, but winning humor shines through the clouds.

by

High above the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City, a spotlight beckons the Caped Crusader. It's an irresistible symbol for a man who lives to vanquish evildoers, and the latest game bearing his name makes a similar siren call. Eye-catching visual design and clever jokes draw in those who idolize Batman, and the collect-'em-all nature of the levels serves to keep you invested for hours. But problems--both new to this adventure and series staples--bubble just below the surface, making Batman's latest attempt to thwart his masked villains feel sloppy. As endearing as Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes can be, this flawed sequel fails to live up to the Dark Knight's high standards.

When the Joker joins forces with Lex Luthor, only bad things can happen. Political aspirations serve as the driving force behind the mischievous duo's latest harebrained scheme, but it's not Luthor's attempt at rigging an election that stands out. Rather, it's the goofy storytelling that's so enjoyable. Cutscenes are littered with clever jokes that should make DC aficionados flash a knowing smile. The interplay between Batman and Superman is particularly funny. Bats tries to keep his jealousy bottled up, but his feelings surface as mean-spirited jabs and 4-year-old-caliber pouting that reveal Bruce Wayne's petty side. Robin's adoration of Superman plays wonderfully into this dynamic, creating hilarious moments whenever these three are onscreen together.

Once the story gets under way, you're set loose in Gotham City to roam and venture as you please. The transition from linear level progression to open-world freedom is the biggest change from previous Lego games. Needy citizens call for help, tantalizing collectibles dangle just out of reach, and distractions surface every few steps. In a game already bursting with content, having so many places to go and things to collect is almost overwhelming--in a good way--and could have propelled Lego Batman 2 to new heights, if only the execution were better. But the locomotion is severely flawed. Getting from one location to the next is a fumbler's quest because loose vehicle controls and a zoomed-in camera make turning a tricky task, and the lack of a minimap hinders your ability to navigate.

See the world through Scarecrow's foggy vision.

After you arrive in a stage, events play out just like in previous Lego adventures. Tightly structured levels place Batman, Robin, and any other superhero willing to lend a hand in treacherous locations. As you walk through recognizable locales such as the Batcave and Lex Luthor's office, your primary job is to solve puzzles. See that metal-plated wall over there? Don Robin's magnetic suit to walk right up to it. Staring at an indestructible computer? Jump into Batman's power suit to blow it sky-high. There's a pleasing rhythm to the problem solving because you seamlessly go from one puzzle to the next, using different abilities to interact with the environment in unique ways. Rarely are the puzzles tricky enough to seriously stump you, but seeing the different environments and dangers is reason enough to continue playing.

Outside of puzzle solving, you trade punches with miscreants who don't realize that attacking Batman is always a bad idea. Combat is mostly unchanged from previous adventures. One-button melee with context-sensitive counterattacks ensures you bash through baddies without breaking a sweat. It's tedious, and though you won't have to deal with as many respawning attackers as in the first LEGO Batman, combat still feels like pointless padding in an otherwise fun adventure. This feeling is magnified by sections in which you're invincible. Flying as Superman to destroy the Joker's airship is boring because there's no threat of failure. Just let the missiles slam into you while you slowly peck away at the ship's armor and try to stifle your yawns.

It's a shame the combat hasn't been improved from previous games, but that's to be expected in a franchise firmly stuck in the past. In no place is this more apparent than with the friendly artificial intelligence. Watch in horror as Batman gets beaten to a pulp by a street thug without so much as moving a muscle, or explosive barrels slam into an oblivious Superman. Robin might repeatedly jump in a pit or just stand stock-still while you wait for him to help you with a switch. It's infuriating. And not only do your AI pals fail to help, but they openly impede your progress at times. Batman might stand in front of a door you need to cut open with Superman, or Wonder Woman might stand in your way on a narrow beam. Yeah, it's funny to laugh at their ineptitude, but considering that the same flaw has existed since the Lego franchise began, it's becoming embarrassing. Luckily, you can always join up with a friend, though the lack of online play makes it tougher to get help in a pinch.

It's a bird! Wait, no bird. Just a plane and Superman.

It's a shame there are so many obvious problems with Lego Batman 2, because the core experience is enjoyable. The visual design is particularly impressive. Swirling clouds and foreboding darkness give Gotham an eerie mood, and this meshes beautifully with the utter goofiness of the Lego characters. Sure, the city is in peril, but would it really hurt to laugh? And the amount of tomfoolery is staggering. Break into the zoo, and behold a menagerie of plastic animals. You might have thought you knew everything about Batman, but did you realize how much he enjoys riding polar bears in his free time? Plus, because most of the game is tangential to the story, you can spend hours discovering new things to do. Optional boss fights featuring lesser-known villains such as Hush and Captain Boomerang are fun endeavors, and once you win, you can control the baddie for some evil-themed mischief.

Lego Batman 2 contains the same strengths and weaknesses as the many games that came before it. Worthwhile additions such as the open world show the potential for where this series could go, but the core mechanics suffer from the same problems in every iteration. Although it's still as fun as ever to collect Lego bricks and watch the cutscenes, the lack of real change leads to the feeling that you've seen all this before. Batman is a meticulous self-improver; it would be nice if his Lego games had the same mentality.

The Good
Funny cutscenes
Snazzy visual design
Open world offers more flexibility in your collecting
The Bad
Terrible artificial intelligence
Wonky vehicle controls and no minimap make open-world exploration problematic
Tedious combat
6.5
Fair
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Discussion

55 comments
BARC_Trooper
BARC_Trooper

Lol, I'm not surprised at the review score. After all, this editor IS the "jerk who hates all the things you love" and vice-versa. Quite honestly: I'd like to see HIM make a LEGO game that is better than TT's games.

jpnelson82
jpnelson82

Not a particularly good review from McShea here. It gives off the impression that the game is not good, because it is so nit picky. In point of fact I saw many of the same issues, but worked around them and didn't care in the end. One thing I particularly liked about this game was it kept the references shallow enough that it didn't leave me with the impression that "I'm not a serious enough fan for this game," the way the Arkham series has. Quite the contrary, after playing for a while I was tempted to read more about the characters, the Arkham series never did that for me. I dislike the practice, but I'll say it this once, fans of the Adam West Batman and Linda Carter Wonder Woman will like this game, because it has a similar feel to those.

TI99Kitty
TI99Kitty

I also agree that this review (and especially the score) seems a bit harsh, and I'll explain why I feel that way.  Keep in mind, so far I've only played for a few hours on a throwaway account, and that the only other Lego games I've played were Lego Star Wars:  The Video Game and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on the GameCube.

First (and foremost), the Lego games are aimed at children.  They are supposed to be games that you don't mind your kids playing, and that they can actually play.  For that reason, and another I'll detail later, the combat is deliberately kept simple.  Is it a button-masher?  You bet it is.  And it was made that way on purpose.  Combat in games doesn't always need to be complex, involving endless combinations of button presses.  And still, Lego Batman 2 offers more than just "mash the "A" button.  If you *want* to, you can mix it up a bit by doing a jump attack or by throwing a Batarang (or using whatever special moves you get from the unlockable characters or variant suits.  Any more complexity than that is unnecessary in this game, and making it so that you *have to* memorize combos in order to defeat enemies would only serve to turn off the demographic this game is primarily aimed at.

Second:  While I like mini-maps as much as the next gamer, and I agree that in some games they are necessary, in this game they are *not*.  When you go into a scripted story level (at least in the 4 that I've completed), gameplay is linear.  Go from point A to point b, to point C, etc.  You *can't* get lost, because there is only *one* way to go.  When you're in Gotham City, follow the translucent blue studs to get to the next story location.  If you're engaged in freeform play (as I was, after I unlocked the Batcomputer remote terminals), just press "Start" and select "View Map."  And, really, after playing for a while, you should be able to remember which roads go to which locations.  Also, when you're free-playing in Gotham City, a compass at the top of the screen shows icons for items/characters that may be of interest to you..  A mini-map in either of these modes would just be one more thing to clutter the HUD and drag your eyes away from what's going on on the screen.

And thirdly (and finally, since this reply is getting way longer than I had originally intended):  Lego Batman 2 is *not* an action game (or a fighting game).  It is a puzzle/adventure game, with action game trappings; just like the Joker is not an *actual clown, but a wacky homicidal lunatic *dressed* like a clown.  As such, combat is mostly incidental to the gameplay.  The purpose of the game is to solve puzzles, collect items, and unlock "treasures" (in this case, other playable characters).  The combat is there (mostly) to mix things up a bit, and to add a bit of flavor to just pushing buttons, climbing walls, and picking things up. Think of it as the original Tomb Raider, but aimed at a younger audience.

 Well, that and also because a superhero game without *some* kind of combat would just be stupid.

Sure, the gameplay doesn't change much in the Lego games, but it doesn't *need* to.  Unlike the Call of Duty series, the *stories* are different enough to keep things interesting.  Add that to the fact that different Lego games have character with different abilities, and plenty of different puzzles, and the series isn't really in danger of growing stale.  Tt Games isn't just throwing a new coat of paint on a tired franchise and incrementing the number at the end of the title.  As I noted at the top of this post, I've played Lego Star Wars I and II.  I found the first one to be meh, and the second to be a bit better.  On the other hand, I'm really enjoying Lego Batman 2 -- because sometimes I need to take a break from games that have simplistic stories and complicated gameplay, and play a game that has a more complex story and simple gameplay.


tl;dr:  Lego Batman 2 is a fun play, and it's made for kids (even though grown-ups like me can enjoy it, too).

iPodFilms2
iPodFilms2

I also love how they streamlined the suits they now look better and are better put together than before

 

iPodFilms2
iPodFilms2

I love this game I love how you drive to everywhere and can just explore also the new characters put new life into lego

chg3
chg3

Now I remember why I stopped reading Gamespot reviews. Greatest Lego game of all time, and one of my favorite games this year. *sigh* Gamespot, will you get anything right?

HaydenC93
HaydenC93

I thoroughly enjoyed this game, but it's very hard even for an adult me and my girlfriend got stuck many times on this game. For young children some bits will be very hard for them to solve but I loved unlocking all the characters.

ToneCapone360
ToneCapone360

Do you know what bothers me about the game reviewing industry today?  How every critic seems to think that every game is made for sophisticated adult gamers.

 

It should be painfully obvious to everyone that the entire LEGO franchise is supposed to be easy because it's mainly targeting children.

 

Easy, one button combat?  Check.

Unlimited amount of lives?  Check.

Defeating an enemy in combat results in LEGO studs instead of a dead or unconscious body?  Check.

 

If you want a mature or grown up Batman adventure, then go for Batman: Arkham Asylum or Batman: Arkham City.

 

If you want a fun Batman game that is easy for kids to play with kid-friendly content and you won't mind playing yourself, then check this (and any LEGO) title out.

 

If you continue to whine about any LEGO games' simplicity, get a clue.

 

 

SteveMcD01
SteveMcD01

This Review is too low.  This game is for Kids.  The game is far from great due to the following 1)  it is too short 2) fights to unlock Characters lack any real challenge 3) there is nothing to really do with the Characters once unlocked other that - play levels that require Batman's suits or specific powers or unlock more Characters which is way too easy.  Really a 7.5 would have much better suited the game, it has minor technical flaws, it is fun, at a point it becomes repetitive which results in low to moderate replay value.  Some DLC (which Lego games never receive) would be very welcome since their is so little to do with unlocked characters, a Battle Mode (see Skylanders) would also add greatly to the replay value.

wavey_gravey
wavey_gravey

I am playing it at the moment.  I think the review score is a little harsh.  The complaints are legitimate I guess, AI is a bit dumb, and the camera is still a problem in some instances, but having played pretty much all the Lego games I think this one is a lot of fun.  A VAST improvement on the first Lego Batman.

Raelador21
Raelador21

Tedious combat in a Lego Batman game. Lol I think the wrong person is reviewing these games.

345tom
345tom

It doesn't annoy me that they downrate it for say the bad AI, but for things like 'combat' in a puzzler? The combat's there just to change it up a bit, so your not just switching between characters all the time to get through a series of doors. It doesn't really need to be any more complex.

 

What really gets me is Gamespots hypocrisy. They can complain about suckish AI in this and dodgey vehicle controls, but then you have bigger companys games where the AI and Vehicles plain suck, but they still get rated 9's.

 

Stop victimising the smaller companies.

epic542
epic542

Honestly, I think this was not a fair judgement, this is by far the best lego game i've ever played because of the open world, the graphics, the combat, and the characters. Not even near 6.5, i would give it at least an 8.0.

xGarrettThiefX
xGarrettThiefX

Well we might as well review Lego Lord of the Rings while we're at it ok ! Hey how about I give it a 6.5 !

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

Pfft, whatever the review score is, I'll be getting it anyway's...because, ya know....it's the GODDAMN Lego BATMAN! :D

tevic
tevic

I think a move as bold as going open-world should be enough to get the game at least a 7.5 or 8/10.

Open-world gameplay is really another dimention of gaming so I'm disappointed to see Gamespot giving only 6.5. Another disconnect of Gamespot vs the gaming community.

I'm sure lots of children and grown-ups will have a lot of fun with this open-world game, so what's the point in giving it a 6.5 ??

GS becomes more and more like "Edge",  giving review-score for insiders of the gaming industry or for really hard core gamers, but not for the gaming commuity at large.

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

As shocking at it may seem, I respect Tom's opinion. Reviews should point out flaws like A.I and dumb combat, because we need to hold developers accountable and send them a message. Without it, we will keep getting the same bad A.I, dumb combat and yes, dare I say it, the same thing over and over again, like Call of Duty became. Don't you want TT to improve that stuff, or is the fact that its LEGO good enough for you and everyone else?

johnners2981
johnners2981

So Tom Mc Shea gives game of thrones a 7 and this a 6.5. Won't be paying any attention to his reviews anymore

vivevivo
vivevivo

"Tom Mc Shea loves platformers and weighty moral decisions almost as much as he likes vaseline on toast. "

 

Why is he reviewing this game then ???

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Not normally one to comment on review content since they are completely subjective but this feels especially petty Mr McShea and for once I will come out and say you got it WRONG!

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

Dang you Tom Mc Shea, why can't you just unconditionally love the legos?

DirtyFalcons94
DirtyFalcons94

I have to respectfully disagree with you McShea when you say the combat is tedious. Lego games have never been really big on combat. That is not the series main focus. Would I like to see a deeper combat experience in future lego games? Definitely. But lego games are all about exploring and collecting. I thought should know that by now since you say that you enjoy playing lego games. 

RedCallahan
RedCallahan

I've been waiting to read the GS review of this Lego Batman 2 for nearly a week and it got a 6.5??? This game deserves at least an 8, but I'd give it a 8.75. Seriously, did Travelers Tales offend you, or make you wait until the release to give you a copy and it hurt your feelings or something???  The "bad" issues identified in the game seem a bit ridiculous. I don't really care about the AI issue. If I'm playing as Robin, and Batman is walking into a wall, so what??? It doesn't effect how I am playing as long as I can use Batman when I need him. The lack of a minimap making it hard to find where your next objective is also a moot point. There is a clear trail of studs that lead you to the next level, and as you progress, (or enter codes) there are plenty of open world indicators to show you a new area to focus on. It really upsets me that GameSpot used to be the first place I'd go to check for reviews and scores, and now it's just a place I stop to get an extra opinion. I love how they present the good and bad in the written reviews, and how you are able to basically put games in order from highest to lowest score, but it means nothing when the reviews (or reviewers) aren't good, or are inaccurate. I usually buy games that I want to play and and develop my own opinions on them, but if you get a new system, or handheld and just want to see what games are supposed to be better than others as you try it out, this used to be a great source.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Man this score is so off for this game for me! I'm playing it and having a blast!

 

Personally its a 8.0 or 8.5. And honestly, some of these cons for this review are pretty lame.

d33pak001
d33pak001

@suplax Agreed

This one seemed to me (After playing) that its the best one in the series,

there is less combat n more puzzles.....

Also free roaming does not require a mini map

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

6.5 seems a bit harsh, the gist of the review is its the same as other lego games but slightly better.  I'd give it a 7.5 at least.

suplax
suplax

Again, another GS shit reviewer.

Cptmcrofl
Cptmcrofl

I loved this game with all my heart, but I guess I am a Lego fan boy.

Goj1ra
Goj1ra

When the metacritic scores equal a 80 and Gamestop gives it a 65, guess who I am going to listen to..Everybody else.

 

 

domokun00
domokun00

 @SFamicom Don't base your judgment on this review. This one is really bad.

vivevivo
vivevivo

 @Lord_Python1049 

Of course you have a point, developers should be encoraged to better their products.

But seriously, should these Lego games aspire to more than a fun platformer, and try to have amazing AI ? When the reviewer hates platformers, you know you're getting biased right there. And yes, they are more or less the same, over and over again, in different worlds. But they retain all the comical , fun, addictiveness and originality of the serious, instead of trying to be something just like everything else in the market ( difficult AI, combat etc).

My two cents.

xaviermf
xaviermf

 @SadPSPAddict I agree with you. It seems someone actually put some vaseline on McShea's toasts (as per his profile), because it seems he was in a sour mood when he wrote this review.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @Goj1ra Look beyond the numbers. The text of a review can tell you a lot more than the score ever could.

SFamicom
SFamicom

 @domokun00 Which review are you referring to? The GameSpot one or the media-feed one?

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

 @vivevivo I think they should aspire to be greater, yes. The alternative is that they should become mediocre kids products. In any case, If you look at movies you can have kids films that are both fun for kids and adults, and you'll have a range of reviews that offer a variety of opinions both that approach it from a variety of viewpoints. This is what we should aim the gaming press to become more like.

 

And by the way, Tom McShea loves platforming. He gave Super Mario Galaxy 2 a rare perfect score of 10. A game that both kids and adults should be able to enjoy.

TheTNWrestler
TheTNWrestler

 @TomMcShea Just to add to my info, I just ran the test on this score.  Your score is in the bottom 7% of the metacritic for the Xbox version.

 

TheTNWrestler
TheTNWrestler

@TomMcShea

Ok, I have wanted to say something about this for a while now.  Tom, this issue can be related to a problem in a statistics course.  If you have taken one (don’t know if you have or haven’t), you would know that to be statistically significant, you have to be two standard deviations above or below the mean.  I have performed some tests of your scores and several are below the average.  This mathematically proves you are more negative and judgmental about games than others.  When you state that the text says a lot more, the text is just as subjective as a number, if not more since there can be so many interpretations.  A number, in fact, is a quantitative way to summarize your experience and eliminate so much of the lovely “text” that you mention.  Also, I can say Tom that after reading into your reviews, I see that you are a person who merely wants to see something changed or some brand new idea after noting your love for Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and overcritical analysis of this game as well as others (Skyward Sword).  Sometimes things that work can be continued Tom, it doesn’t have to be dramatically changed.  I welcome an email response if you’d like, I just want to see someone who actually enjoys gaming on here rather than someone looking for something to be upset about (which is definitely you).  Sometimes it’s nice to go to IGN as Greg Miller is a little nuts and overexcited sometimes, but he acts like he enjoys gaming rather than coming here and reading some of the cynical reviews I’ve seen/read here.

Goj1ra
Goj1ra

 @TomMcShea

 Well I wrote a reply to this and now its gone...Uggh, I belive my internet has a grudge against me..Reply number 2

  Anyway, I stand by what I said earlier.What makes you assume that I haven't read any reviews on it?The truth is the exact opposite.I am a beliver in always reading reviews before buying a game.

      The Lego series is known for being simple.Its part of its charm.Its a game that anyone can pick up and enjoy!Although a Lego game always has screewy A.I.Just git a friend to play with you and that problem dissapiers. I know that you didn't like the idea that Superman is invulnerable but he is!I want to give a bear hug to TTgames for not nerfing him!! LEGO Batman2:DC Heroes adds a lot of new things for the better.Voice acting and an open world enviroment make the game more enjoyable. Many reviews that I have read say that its the best LEGO game out there!This game should have at least got a higher rating than a 6.5.

      From everything that I have read; this game is a no brainer buy for me. Go Justice League(and especially Wonder Woman)!!

Goj1ra
Goj1ra

 @TomMcShea

 What makes you assume that I haven't read all the reviews?I always read all the reviews before I buy a game.

 From everything that I have read the game  is a funny family orientated game.It has nods to DC fans and trys to add a bit to the Lego furmula.Lego games are made to be easy games and this one is no exeption.Also with your A.I. problem just go split screen with a friend. Lego games are made to be played cooperatively.Finaly Superman is Superman.He is invulnurable! I actually want to thank TTgames for not nerfing him.Also the concept of exploring Gotham City makes me giddy with glee.

Honestly, this game seems like a no brainer buy for DC fans,Lego fans,and people that enjoy a simple silly game. Go justice league!

    I stand by what I said before.

vivevivo
vivevivo

 @Lord_Python1049 

I'm suprised that he gave it a perfect 10, given that he is described as lot liking platforming, maybe thats only deceiving.

In theory I agree to all you said.

I've yet to buy a Lego Game since Indiana Jones, Adventure Continues and Harry Potter I-IV. But if the games continue on that vein, I think I just dont see the point in wanting better AI, but that is just my taste, maybe you expect different things in these specific games. 

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

 @Goj1raBeing realistic isn't fun, and making Superman invincible isn't fun gameplay wise as it offers no challenge, unless you make it fun. Geez, dont you get the point?...

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes More Info

First Release on Jun 19, 2012
  • 3DS
  • DS
  • + 8 more
  • Macintosh
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  • PC
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  • Wii
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Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is a sequel to Lego Batman: The Videogame and includes appearances from the likes of Wonder Woman, Superman, and The Green Lantern.
7.7
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Developed by:
TT Games, Playcast-media, Traveller's Tales
Published by:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Feral Interactive, Playcast-media
Genres:
3D, Open-World, Adventure, Action
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
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