Developed by Traveller’s Tales
Published by Warner Bros.
Lego Batman 2 marks a few firsts in the Lego series: first to include voice acting, first to include a truly open world, and first to include splitscreen in any meaningful capacity beyond some vehicle levels, but these are balanced out by somewhat broken implementation and a redundant-feeling roster.
The voice acting, directed by Cam Clarke, replaces the silent, somewhat slapstick comedy of the previous Lego games with passable dialogue in a boilerplate “Lex Luthor and The Joker have teamed up, and only the Justice League(for the most part Superman and Batman) can stop them” plot that feels overly reliant on multistage boss battles against Lex and the Joker’s giant robot. The voice acting itself is good, but the dialogue is lacking, though I expect it to improve in later games when they get more used to using voice acting. The villains could have used a wider variety of lines as well, as most of them only seem to have one or two lines.
The open world, a complete recreation of Gotham City, is packed with content, from vehicles and characters you can find and purchase to the majority of the gold bricks that allow characters to be unlocked and red bricks that unlock features. But the puzzles that lead to these gold bricks seem to rely a lot on the different suits available for Batman and Robin, and only Batman and Robin, to use, and unlike the previous game, you can’t switch suits at will in the hub world, which seems like a bit of wasted potential, as I mostly got around to these after beating the game, and after playing that long as Batman and Robin, I’d prefer to use the other characters I had unlocked, most of those being slightly downgraded and mixed versions of Batman(as well as his and Robin’s various suits) and Superman, features-wise. This is somewhat possible, but a lot of them require features only the suits have. Also, Gotham City comes off difficult to navigate during those sections where you don’t have a flying character, as it’s just dark enough to have trouble distinguishing where exactly the roads are going and intricate enough for those paths to be confusing. And when you do have a flying character, then the problem is grappling with the open-world flying controls, which are hard enough to use in their own right.
Multiplayer mode was a weak spot in the Lego games for a while, with 2 players sharing the same screen, to the detriment of whichever player got dragged around whenever the players decided to go into different parts of a screen. The new system keeps the unified screen, but separates that when the players separate by literally dividing the screen and cutting out the parts between them with a divider which moves with the players, causing confusion when the relative position of the characters changes too swiftly, as well as messing with the aim of the characters with aimed attacks, as the camera movement of one character affects the camera movement of the other. A simple vertical split, as is used in the open world. would have been much less confusing.
The gameplay is smooth for the most part, though it does have a few glitches and problems in the controls, and it’s generally fun to play.
The changes in Lego Batman 2, while good ideas, are a little poorly implemented, leading to an all-around fun game with some dissapointing issues.