Growth and innovation is something that gamers expect when a franchise puts out a sequel.
Tt Games has carved out a niche thanks to its Lego license. And they have continued to grow and show promise with each new title. And they`ve had rich material to work with over the years: The complete Star Wars saga, The Clone Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Batman and the upcoming Lord of the Rings game.
Each game has added small new wrinkles, but the core components were a tongue-in-cheek storyline filled with bits of humour, large destructible worlds built with Lego pieces that could be smashed apart and reassembled, as well as replayability thanks to the use of multiple characters once the main story quest had been completed.
With Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, from WB Games for the 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, 3DS, DS and PlayStation Vita, Tt Games has upped the ante further and this bodes well, especially if what they`ve established here carries over to the upcoming Lord of the Rings game.
And that major change is dialogue. Yes, no more mime motions and simple comic gestures to get points across. These characters can all talk and that makes the game play out like a Lego movie. It`s not as minor a move as you might think. In fact, it`s a monumental improvement as it adds more story and depth to a game that both kids and adults alike can dig into.
Lego Batman 2 centres on an initial battle between the Dark Knight and his nemesis The Joker. When the Joker crashes a Gotham City award show that is a man of the year celebration, between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luther, he unleashes havoc as usual. Bruce slips into his Batman cowl and cape and begins to do battle with some of the usual rogue`s gallery, including Harley Quinn and The Riddler.
But Lex sees an ally in The Joker and the duo soon team up. So, that necessitates the introduction of the Justice League into the fray. Suddenly, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and others are fighting alongside Batman and Robin and that, my friends, is simply awesome.
Unconstrained by a movie tie-in, Tt Games treats us to an original storyline that, for a Lego game, is epic. Large levels that feature save points are a big improvement. The ability to use a wide variety of vehicles is a blast. Soaring above Gotham as Superman or flying around in the BatWing is a geek dream come true, no matter how old a gamer you are.
Having said all that, the battles are pretty typical of the previous Lego efforts, as is the usual collection of studs as you destroy and rebuild environments. But as tedious as that may sound, fans of this franchise know it`s a lot of fun in the beginning and the use of other characters to access various parts of the levels that you can`t get to during the story quest make it worth the grind.
The game certainly has replayability because of this and allows you to pit any number of superheroes against a great lineup of DC Comics villains, including the Penguin, Catwoman, Bane, Poison Ivy and others.
I hope this is a good sign going forward. I want to hear Aragorn, Frodo and Gandalf speak in the upcoming Lord of the Rings game. And I want to see original works featuring the likes of Indy, the Star Wars crew and, dare I say, some kind of deal with Marvel so we can see a Lego Spider-man, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Avengers game.
Oh, the possibilities.
And on one final note, the game does fall back to use Danny Elfman`s Batman scores from the 1990s. I played mine with Hans Zimmer`s excellent Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises scores playing on my iPod. It adds a much darker tone to the game, which I highly recommend trying for older fans of the Caped Crusader.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Rated E10+