More thoughts on Lego Batman 2

25 Jun

Last week I shared my early thoughts on Lego Batman 2 (link).  Over the weekend, a friend and I decided to kick the game into high gear and beat it.  This served multiple purposes.  I could write about the whole story mode, a bit of free roaming for stuff, but also share my thoughts on co-op mode, a major selling point to the Lego games as there is no link play.  I will say, that while this is the best Lego game to date, it is not perfect by a longshot.

The story is a major selling point to the game.  For one thing, it’s Batman and that is all kinds of fun.  As pretty much everyone knows, this ratchets that up a bit though by adding the Justice League to the mix.  My last review left off with the basics of Batman and Robin established.  When Superman entered the game though, everything changed.  The game did a respectable job on his powers. He is invulnerable, superstrong, flies, and has both heat vision (to burn specific items) and freeze breath (to freeze others).  He is a wonderful all around character, but I must admit flight is dodgy.  Maybe after logging more hours, it will seem fluid, but it just doesn’t seem as intuitive as I had hoped.  There are LOTS of things to find while flying though.

In the last two levels, though, the game gets even bigger.  Superman gets poisoned by Kryptonite but the Justice League arrives to pick up the slack.  Green Lantern, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman all appear in the last two levels of story mode which deals with a massive Joker bot controlled by Lex and the Joker.  Each of these characters offers gifts to the player, but several (the two I looked forward to the most) also offer unique challenges.  Cyborg plays great.  He has heat vision and is magnetic allowing him to climb or pull certain bricks like Robin.  Wonder Woman is also a joy to play.  She is invulnerable, flies, and superstrong like Superman.  But her tiara is basically a batarang in disguise and her lasso of truth functions similar to the grappling hook that Batman carries allowing her to pull specific things.  Unfortunately, Flash and Green Lantern didn’t play nearly as well.  Green Lantern, my all time favorite character, has the same flying issues as Superman.  His only plus is that he creates special green Lego constructs.  These have to be made from specific green blocks.  So if none are around, he is basically a goon.  Flash is even worse.  Yes, he has superspeed which will allow him to circle Gotham before anyone else is half way across the city.  But, at least in the level I played him as, the same power makes him incredibly erratic.  Before I realized it, he had traversed the level, missing my goal entirely.

When you beat the game, or if you like to go back to levels earlier, free play really opens up the game.  Any characters you unlock become available to use in levels like in previous games.  An interesting change for this game though has you opening the characters not unlocked in story play by wondering the newly free roaming hub, Gotham City.  Specific red search lights key you in on villains and blue lights leads you to heroes.  The bad guys are unlocked like you might expect.  Beat them and then buy them.  The heroes are slightly more difficult.  Throughout the game are hidden 250 golden blocks.  Some are gained by beating stages, some by saving hostages, and others just are randomly hidden.  The blocks are used as something of a supercurrency.  If you have enough, you can build specific golden doors at the blue lights.  Then you can buy a hero character who emerges from the doorway.  I believe this system makes free play (and replay) a little more worthwhile.

Finally, the co-op mode has been revamped.  I love it when I don’t hate it.  Gone is the traditional fixed camera of Lego games.  Player one can wonder a stage looking for hidden items while player two follows a linear, established path.  Once you are out of sight, the screen splits like many games.  Unlike most split screen games, though, one character isn’t dedicated top or left, with the other being bottom or right.  Whichever area of the stage you are in dictates whatever area of the screen you fill, which means if you are close together (but not close enough to show the entire area in one screen), you may wind up causing the splitscreen to circle around as you and your partner move around.  This caused many unnecessary deaths.  A bigger problem I have only noticed with a partner though is that sometimes a character will glitch and wind up frozen.  Nothing we did seemed to unlock the character.  And as the mobile player moved around the screen, the glitched character would randomly pop up all over the screen.  Eventually, we discovered if we dropped out, eventually we could walk over to the character and he would move again.  But it happened sporadically.  The first five or six times, he would stay frozen.  Some attempt later would restore the other character to “life.”

In spite of the problems I found with different parts of the game, I do believe this is the best Lego game by far and I believe that is a serious accomplishment.  The Lego games are fun parodies of popular concepts.  Each that I have played have provided myself, and my children, hours of entertainment.  Lego Batman 2 takes all of the fun of previous games, and provides new life simply by adding voices and a few other things.  The difficulty of the game is increased and this made it more fun overall for me also.  As a Batman fan, I would easily put it in the top two or three best Batman games also, as long as you are willing to realize Batman doesn’t always have to be so serious.  A little fun goes a long way for me. 

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One Response to “More thoughts on Lego Batman 2”

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