Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its Batman! Wait a minute, Batman? That's right, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has hit our consoles and with it, Batman has brought his friends rather than just his sidekick and Rogues Gallery.
This is the 11th game from the partnership of Telltale Studios and LEGO, so players should know what to expect. You control a little Lego character that has a wacky adventure that balances a fine line between slapstick and stupid while destroying the environment, building LEGO, finding collectibles, solving puzzles and all the while trying to collect as many of the silver, gold, blue and purple studs - the currency of the LEGO games universe - as possible.
The majority of the LEGO licensed games have been based around a franchise and followed already established plot lines, however LEGO Batman 2 is the second attempt where Telltale are using established characters to create new stories for the player. In this game we start off by watching Lex Luthor attend an event in Gotham to compete against Bruce Wayne for the man of the year award. There is no surprise when Bruce beats Lex to receive the award, however that is when chaos ensues as the Joker and friends, including other famous Bat rogues turn up to ruin the fun.
Once you have completed the task of putting the Joker back in his rightful place (Arkham Asylum) the main storyline starts. The basic plot line of the game sees Lex breaking the Bat rogues out of Arkham Asylum with a gun powered by Kryptonite. Lex wants to take over the world, Joker wants to cause Mayhem, Batman wants to protect Gotham and therein lies your adventure for the remainder of the game.
Telltale and LEGO have worked hard to bring a coherent story to life and one of the key notable progressions of the series is that this is the first game to introduce talking characters. This is a great addition to the game as it means a more complex story can be told while making sure all the visible Lego silliness is retained within the character animations. While the voice casting is not always the best, the addition of Clancy brown as Lex Luthor - reprising his role from the Justice League Cartoon show - is a great little nod to any fanboy or fangirl and is pitch perfect in every scene.
The game has also seen a progression in having an open world in Gotham. While acting as a hub for the main storyline missions, of which there are fifteen, the city also acts as a great playground to explore. This is another first for the LEGO licensed games and a great indication of the progress the developers are making. It is also another exciting part of the fanboy or fangirl in you when you can visit Gotham City Police Department or Gotham Zoo - at which point you can ride the animals!
Overall, the main storyline will take you between 8-10 hours to complete, but as we have come to expect there are a lot of little extras to keep you busy with the Free Play option. Here you can collect all the missing collectibles using characters you have unlocked through your first play through. In addition, Gotham has all of the broken Arkham inmates causing trouble that you will need to round up, and there are numerous collectibles littered around the city that you need to collect outside of the main missions.
If I could ask one thing of the game it would be that the multiplayer option was also available online, because while the drop in/drop out local co-op system works a treat, I would have loved to play with friends online and argue over who is going to be Batman and who has to choose another auxiliary character, like Brainiac Goon. That is another great thing about the game because while we have a few faceless goons, the characters you unlock can be the entirety of the Justice League through to lesser know villains such as Flash nemesis, Captain Boomerang, and Green Lantern’s sometimes friend or foe, Sinestro.
I had a great time with the game and know that this could appeal both to adults and children alike. It is another great addition to the LEGO game franchise and a real progression from first LEGO Batman. I would love to see a third LEGO Batman game, perhaps collecting the storylines from all the films in a similar vein to the Star Wars or Harry Potter games that have come before it.
All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the amazing John Williams soundtrack every time you play as Superman and fly into the air, which is truly a special moment every time you do it.