Repetitive and not enough to differentiate and improve upon existing Lego games

User Rating: 5 | LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes WIIU

The Joker and Lex Luthor form a partnership to cause chaos in Gotham City. Initially, Batman tries to save the day alongside Robin, but reluctantly accepts the help of Superman and later on; The Justice League. Since Robin adores Superman, but Batman is jealous of Superman's powers, this creates humorous moments throughout the story. There's plenty of cut-scenes which are voiced and are very well done.

There's plenty of collectibles; 250 gold bricks, 20 red bricks, along with the 150 mini-kits which unlock additional vehicles. Some of these are found within the set levels and the rest are scattered around Gotham City. You are awarded a gold brick for completing a level, and another for surpassing the stud target.

You can roam Gotham City to collect studs, find the gold/red bricks and to unlock extra characters. However, until you actually complete the game, you are limited to what you can access. Therefore, it's best to focus on the main story line, and come back later. Unlocking the villains is too easy and it usually comes down to hitting them three times. A few characters may require the use of a particular character to defeat them, but other than that; it's all trivial.

Collecting the bricks around Gotham City is often boring due to the copy and paste nature of the puzzles. Usually, you have to equip a suit, climb up a building, equip another suit, and climb up to the top to collect the gold brick. It requires no thought, just a matter of time. I guess they require the suits to stop you jumping into a helicopter and simply landing on the buildings, but really there should have been more variation and thought put into them.

I'm not sure if I was just bad at controlling the vehicles and the flying characters, but the controls didn't feel that intuitive and I had to familiarise myself with the controls each time I was in this situation. The game-pad has a mini-map which can show the location of the bricks and villains (as long as you have scanned the area with the Bat-Terminals). The map is flat, so you still have to work out if a secret actually lies at the top of a building, or is located at ground-level.

After you arrive in a stage, it just plays like any other Lego game. You usually play as Batman and Robin, but may be partnered with an additional super hero like Superman. You smash as much as possible, collect studs, build structures, fight enemies and utilise the suit abilities to proceed through the levels. Most of the time, there's no real thought needed for the puzzles. For example, Silver objects can be destroyed with Batman's Power Suit. So if you see a silver object blocking your path, you can bet that the Power Suit will be in reach. Then you may find electric blocks your path, but an Electricity Suit may be right next to it. The stages just become a predictable sequence of steps.

Your AI controlled allies are quite passive and often stupid. They often fall off ledges or run into danger. It's not a huge problem since there's no direct penalty for their behaviour, although it can be an annoyance if you want to switch to their character.

In terms of combat, there's one button for your primary attack which is all that is required. You usually have the option of jumping into the air and attacking (which can perform a slam move), or can grab then throw. Your suit usually gives you another attack which can be the most powerful move. Since there's no block button, there's no real skill or urgency to the combat system. Characters such as Batman and Robin have 3 hearts, and if they lose them, you just respawn and some of your studs scatter as a penalty (but can be recollected if you are quick). Characters like Superman are indestructible so cannot be hurt. This can make the combat even more boring, since you just absorb any attack thrown at you.

In addition to the normal levels, there are some on-rails shooting sections. Again, it's usually a matter of time before you complete the section, and many sections allow you to take control of Superman who is indestructible, so don't even need to shoot down the missiles fired at you.

Once the main story line is over, it's a case of replaying the levels to find the secrets, and traverse Gotham City to pick up the rest of the collectibles, but it often feels rather tedious. At this point, you are allowed to switch into any of your unlocked characters. The game has a cast of over 70 villains and heroes, but as usual, the move-sets follow several set templates. A selling point for many is the inclusion of the whole Justice League as playable characters. The downside is the levels have been designed with Batman and Robin's special suits in mind so that it's mandatory to spend the most time with them. It also seems a silly decision to have the open-world game-play but force you to use Batman, Robin and sometimes Superman until you complete the game. There's no incentive to explore the city until then.

Graphically, it doesn't seem as bold and as clear as you would expect, which is partly due to trying to capture the dark aesthetics of Gotham. I also noticed a few bugs such as characters being stuck, and bosses freezing which required me to restart from the last check-point.

Lego Batman 2 sounded like it included enough changes to differentiate it from other Lego games. It's the third one I've played and I felt it seemed very boring, since I've done it all before. I think it would be more enjoyable for those who haven't played a Lego game before, or those that intend to play it in multiplayer.