Don’t let the name fool you. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes isn’t a mere sequel to the hot selling Lego Batman game, nor is it a movie tie-in to The Dark Knight Rises.
However, it is one of the most ambitious Lego games to date, save for the upcoming Lego City: Undercover for Wii U. For starters, this playful adventure is fully voiced by a rich roster of industry vets, such as: New Teen Titans’ Tara Strong (as Harley Quinn), Stargate SG-1’s Claudia Black (as Cheetah), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ Steve Blum (as The Joker/Batman), Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor), BioShock Infinite’s Troy Baker (as Two-Face), Young Justice’s Phil LaMarr (rumored as Aquaman/Green Lantern), SpongeBob’s Tom Kenny, Thundercats’ Kevin Michael Richardson (rumored as Kilowog) and Futurama’s John Di Maggio.
If that laundry list of cartoon and gaming talent didn’t impress you, the game features over 60 characters from DC Comics and cartoon lore. There’s even an afro-clown from the Joker’s goon squad.
The game begins with an award ceremony, where both Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are nominees. Bruce wins the award and wastes no time rubbing it in Lex Luthor’s face. This is a Lego game so it goes for comedy right away. But instead of those squeaky Sims voices, you get real words. Before Lex has a chance to respond with a villainous monologue, The Joker shows up to remind everyone that a Gotham “party ain’t a party” ‘til the Joker runs through it.
Gameplay focuses on Batman and Robin at first, but the other DC Superheroes will also appear in this pseudo-open world adventure. Batman and Robin both get a few outfit upgrades that don’t make any real sense save to push along gameplay puzzles. Batman has an invisibility cloak that he must have borrowed from Lego Harry Potter. Robin, on the other hand, has an acrobat outfit and a Bubble power, the latter of which he rolls around in as though he’s on the defunct American Gladiators. For comic fans, you’ll notice that Robin starts off wearing Tim Drake’s Robin outfit.
However, some of his acrobatic moves when he switches costumes feel more akin to the first Robin, Dick Grayson. The Grayson Robin comes into play more often when you face off against Two-Face in your first mini boss battle. Like all Lego games, you can switch between characters to solve character specific puzzles. Batman will need to turn invisible to get through doors or use his batarang to scale a wall, while Robin rolls around in a bubble just because he likes bubbles. It really doesn’t make sense. However, using Robin’s staff is pretty cool and you’ll be able to activate floor switches with the magical bubble.
The 60-plus-character roster features the likes of the Flash, Hawkman, Man Bat, Cyborg and even Brainiac. Flying as Hawkman or running at the speed of light as Flash is a joy. I wasn’t able to see how Brainiac would be involved in the story, but I have high hopes that we’ll see Brainiac and Lex Luthor form an uneasy alliance against the DC Superheroes.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes hits shelves on June 19 on Xbox 360 and PS3. There will also be a 3DS version.