Holy upgrades, Batman – the caped crusader’s second brick-form outing marks a huge leap forward, not only from the first game but for LEGO games as a whole.
The hub area is now a gorgeously realised Gotham City, full of nooks and crannies to explore and secrets to find, blessed with the kinds of weather effects, texturing and detail that wouldn’t look out of place in the game’s ‘grown up’ sibling, Arkham City. Mission areas are similarly upgraded, with larger levels and more to uncover in them. The introduction of talking minifigs also allows for witty dialogue throughout, with genuinely funny digs at comic book publisher DC’s rich history and characters.
For many, the big draw will be the expanded roster, bringing in members of the Justice League beyond Batman’s cadre of street-level vigilantes. Superman is the most prominent, with other stalwarts such as Wonder Woman, The Flash and Cyborg introduced towards the end of the story. Happily, none of the superpowered characters overshadow the Bat clan though, a tremendous feat of balancing on developer Traveller’s Tales part, and one that will ensure players happily cycle through the cast to make the most of abilities.
As with most Lego titles, the story mode – a cleverly scripted tale that sees Lex Luthor teaming up with The Joker in a grandiose bid for the American presidency, one involving mind control, giant robots and super criminals – barely scratches the surface of what’s on offer. Completing the 15 chapters accounts for roughly a quarter of the game, and for many the real draw will be gathering up the huge number of unlockable characters, vehicles, and other collectibles.
There are minor flaws that rob Lego Batman 2 of a perfect score – differing controls for flying characters between missions and free roam being the most frustrating, and frequent cases of pop-up as you roam Gotham, likely because the sheer size of the world leads to sluggish load times. However, taken as a whole, the game is a massive achievement, a delight for players of all ages and a love letter to the source material.