Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Box Art(http://dcuniversesuperheroes.lego.com/en-us/Videogame/Batman2/Default.aspx)  Rated E for Everyone by ESRB.   When one purchases a Lego game of any franchise, they expect a certain set of standards to be maintained.  The characters and storyline should be accurate to the franchise being replicated, the grunts, chuckles and other wordless noises emitted by the characters should be humorous, and the blocks of many a childhood that represent the namesake of the game should be present in every possible situation in the most creative of ways.  The first Lego Batman succeeded in all of these requirements, and I’m happy to say that the second does the same while setting new foundations for Lego games to come.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Box ArtLego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Logo(http://dcuniversesuperheroes.lego.com/en-us/Videogame/Batman2/Default.aspx) Rated E for Everyone by ESRB.  When one purchases a Lego game of any franchise, they expect a certain set of standards to be maintained.  The characters and storyline should be accurate to the franchise being replicated, the grunts, chuckles and other wordless noises emitted by the characters should be humorous, and the blocks of many a childhood that represent the namesake of the game should be present in every possible situation in the most creative of ways.  The first Lego Batman succeeded in all of these requirements, and I’m happy to say that the second does the same while setting new foundations for Lego games to come.



Presentation:
Let’s be honest; one doesn’t buy a Lego game because they expect a truly developed plot.  Ironically, Lego Batman 2 introduces an engaging storyline from the start.  A large majority of the DC universe make an appearance in the game, starting with the infinitely bald and devious Lex Luthor.  Lex and Bruce Wayne are both vying for the prestigious Man of the Year award, and just as Bruce wins, the Joker storms the scene with a handful of fellow Dark Knight enemies.

Superman makes an appearance shortly after, but even though I didn’t play too incredibly far into the game, he wasn’t a playable character early on.  Batman and Robin were the only options for the first three missions, and those missions were lengthy enough that an option to play as one of the cameo-ing superheroes would’ve been exciting, even if it was only for a short period of time.

Graphics:
The graphics are surprisingly detailed for a Lego game.  Don’t panic: everything that is meant to be a shiny, simple block is a Lego block, but everything else is rendered in sharp, focused 3D graphics.  The colors are vivid enough to bring a comic book to mind, while the backgrounds are crisp and realistic unlike the previous standards expected by some gamers (ahem, me).

The setting designs  are a throwback to the Joel Schumacher film Batman and Robin, which is simultaneously strange and fantastic.  Giant Lego men hold up buildings, and pink, green, and blue lights dominate the backdrop of a dark Gotham City, and while this unique take on a Batman setting is intriguing, it’s also so cartoonish compared to some of the darker interpretations of Gotham.  For some reason, this Lego version of Gotham has suburbs and forests that appear more predominately than towering skyscrapers.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots

Sounds:
Get ready for a big shocker: there is actual, lengthy, comprehensive dialogue in this game.  Grunts and groans are ever present, but we learn of the plot via dialogue rather than observation.  Lex Luthor’s voice actor from several of the DC movies (for example, Superman/Batman Public Enemies) returns for the game. 

Kabooms, blams, and whams are juiced up for a more realistic approach to crime fighting, eliminating a lot of dampened blasts and thudding punches for more impactful sounds.  The adorable little clatter of Lego’s being stacked on each other remains present, as does the collection of small coin blocks.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots

Gameplay:
An incredibly huge development in the multiplayer component of this game will be discussed in the innovation section, so please hold your applause until then.

Besides that development, gameplay remains very similar to Lego Batman 2’s predecessor.  A player proceeds through a level by smashing up flunkies and solving relatively simple problems, all while utilizing various suits to make gameplay easier. 

Commands are simple to understand, but a tutorial is entirely absent in this game.  It’s as if Lego games assume that players have played one before.  Little functions, like the use of grappling hooks onto handholds and controls when driving or using specific suits, have changed slightly, but a player won’t know that until they’re mashing the buttons.

Incorporation of driving in various stages has become normal, and players have several options of vehicle to choose from (if they’re Batman—unfortunately, Robin only gets a motorcycle).  The changing of suits is also a very frequent occurrence, especially when playing without another player.  Changing from Robin’s Acrobatic suit to his Ice suit to Batman’s Power suit within the span of a few minutes isn’t an unusual occurrence, and it gets a little tedious.  Players barely have time to enjoy a suit (like Batman’s Bat suit, which provides the ridiculously fun glide ability) before they’re forced to switch to a new one.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS) Screenshots

Innovation:
Cue drumroll, please.  Lego Batman 2 has a split screen function.  I’ll pause for dramatic effect while you recover from your swoon.  The split screen occurs when two players move too far from each other, and while the previous Lego Batman game would lock the movement of the players and the screen, Lego Batman 2 creates a line down the screens of the players.  This is visually jarring and difficult to adjust to at first, since the cameras rotate awkwardly and the split screen will blend back into single screen as players move closer together.  But hey, at least it exists, which is extraordinary for a Lego game.  Who imagined that a split screen in 2012 would be so exciting?

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