Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is the kind of game you’d get for your younger sibling or cousin who’d like to experience the awesomeness of a Batman game. The reason being, it’s free of the adult tones of the stellar titles that are Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. A disclaimer though: don’t be surprised if you find yourself playing it more than the person you bought it for.

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman

Delving a little deeper, apart from the simple presentation and apparent kiddie feel, you’ll soon realise that it’s a game that almost anyone from any age group can play. It starts off with Gotham City billionaire and Batman’s alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, and long-time Superman antagonist and presidential candidate, Lex Luthor, squaring it off for a Man of the Year award.

And like every good tale involving super heroes, there are a band of super villains to contend with. Led by The Joker, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, and Two-Face storm the event and rob the guests. The Joker then steals the Man of the Year award and proceeds t o make his ill-gotten acceptance speech, only to be thwarted by Batman and Robin. Did we mention that this is all in the first ten minutes?

But it gets wilder. Featuring chases across land and sea and intricate puzzles, Lego Batman 2 ends up being an absolute joy. There are cameos from members of the Justice League as well, with Green Lantern and Wonder Woman making an appearance. The pacing is action-packed and elaborate. It feels in sync with that of a Call of Duty title rather than a game f or k ids. There’s a lot happening and you actually do feel that the story goes somewhere. Progressing through the game’s many levels and set pieces brings an immense sense of satisfaction. There is never a dull moment.

Superman dodges an attack

Superman dodges an attack

Each level is peppered with puzzles that require you to switch between characters who have specific suit powers or skills needed to proceed further. For example, Robin’s acrobatics suit allows him to reach higher ground while Batman’s sensor suit let’s him see through walls and become invisible. The trick is figuring out whose suits and skills are relevant for each part. In co-operative mode, you control one hero while your friend controls the other. Co-op is drop-in and drop-out, meaning you can continue on your own long after your friends have stopped playing.

Combat is a simple affair – all you have to do is keep mashing the attack button for combos or hold down a specific button for special moves. You have unlimited lives as well, and are rewarded with studs for defeating enemies, which you can use to purchase unlockables or create your own character, like in the previous game.

Batmobile

Batmobile

Between missions, you can explore the various parts of the city, which is a lot of fun too. Think of these sections as a super hero, all-age-friendly version of Grand Theft Auto or more recently, Arkham City. While being the brick version of the Dark Knight is amusing, what with his slew of gadgets and vehicles at your disposal, halfway through the game you gain access to Superman, who more or less makes Batman redundant, barring a few puzzles and kryptonite.

Controlling Superman is infinitely better. You can fly across the city, are impervious to damage and can shoot laser beams. These are a few things you can do as the Man of Steel, which more or less relegates Batman to second fiddle – until you come across a kryptonite-laden obstacle.

Aquaman

Aquaman

As with every game bearing the Lego moniker, the graphics are blocky, but in a good way. Every character and piece of the environment has been lovingly rendered with Lego bricks, giving it a unique look and feel. In spite of the contemporary Batman being associated with darker, more sinister tones, Lego Batman feels like a take on the cult 1960’s Adam West series, except with better dialogue.

Yes, you read right, we said dialogue. This is the first game in any Lego series to feature voice acting. Be it The Joker's hilarious (and sometimes cheesy) lines that don’t feel out of step with the character even for a moment, or Batman’s gruff tones made audible, it’s marvellously done. We don’t miss the absence of the villainous jester’s usual voice actor, Mark Hamill, either.

Given that the game is made of Lego bricks, it ends up with a rather charming feel. Characters gesture like mimes and have a slightly cartoonish style of walking, which is quite amusing. In spite of this being a sequel to 2008’s Lego Batman: The Videogame, you never do feel lost in terms of the plot. You can safely play this without worrying about tracking down the first game.

Batman, Robin and Superman

Batman, Robin and Superman

With all the hype surrounding the Batman franchise, it’s easy to overlook a game like Lego Batman 2. It might not have the dark appeal of the movies or the mainline games, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. Sure, the combat and design aspects are rudimentary at best, but as it stands, this is the most fun we’ve had playing with bricks yet.

Publish date: August 2, 2012 1:12 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 11:12 pm

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