Warning, potential spoilers below. Read at your own risk
This was the first LEGO game I have pre-ordered. I was sold on it pretty early, and that Lex minifigure looked good (my review of that here). I don't know if I'd say I had high hopes, since I knew that they would change a lot. TT added an open-world environment and dialogue. I think it surpassed the first LEGO Batman game, but it feels less charming. Overall, it was pretty good though.
Value for Money
Like I said, I pre-ordered it and got the bonus Lex Luthor figure. That and a new video game for $50 is a decent price (though there are some that cost only $30 and come with a Zhu-zhu pet. ). I could understand waiting for it to drop in price though.
It definitely seemed like a good value, with the open world and a large portion of the main Justice League, nearly all of Batman's most-common foes, and a few guest stars, like Sinestro and General Zod.
The manual was better than in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and didn't feel cut-off like LEGO Batman. I don't think it was complete, but it tells you all you need to know that isn't obvious. Except that The Penguin can send his bombers through those mini-igloos, that is never explained.
The cover is the same image as on the box, and the back has that image on the front of the DC set comic books with the DC Trinity overlooking various Batman rogues and Lex Luthor. The inside was in black and white, which is the first time I've seen that. I don't blame them, it's not like anyone reads them anyway. Why do I even have a section on this?
I prefer the box image to the first LEGO Batman game's, and as far as LEGO's go, it's decent. I'd only say that a few of the Star Wars games and maybe the second Indiana Jones ones are better. The only thing that really bugs me is that huge image of Batman. Does it have to be that big?
The back is a little better, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, and Green Lantern facing off against a few villains, Joker, Lex Luthor, Catwoman, Bane, and Poison Ivy, I think. There were a few screenshots I don't remember too well and Legends Unite!, the tagline, in big white letters. This is the first tagline I remember that doesn't have something to do with building or falling apart.
I haven't replayed it yet, but I probably will since I finished so quickly. The levels are nice, and this is probably the hardest LEGO game that I've been able to complete yet. I couldn't have done it without the gold brick detector though. 250 gold bricks is really overwhelming. Too overwhelming. Once you finish the levels, you can spend hours upon hours and days (or more, it only took me days with the detector :P) climbing buildings with Batman and Robin or destroying countless gold objects with Superman. It gets really tedious.
The levels were good, though I'll warn you now. The first seven levels are just Batman and Robin with guest appearances by Superman in the second-halves of two of the levels. Then Superman replaces Robin for about four, and then Robin comes back. And lastly, in the final two levels, they pack the Justice League in. In addition to Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and The Flash appear. I did like playing as the other heroes, but I got bored of Superman. It's kind of important to the story that none of the Justice League members come to Gotham long before the end, but I would have loved to see the Birds of Prey in action. They are all in the game (just Batgirl replaces Oracle). I kind of got off topic, sorry. I meant to say that I preferred the first few levels where yeah, Joker is still shown above all of the other villains, but you also get to see Two-Face, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, Bane, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Scarecrow, and a few others. I like Lex Luthor, Joker is okay, I guess, and the other heroes are great, but it's Batman's rogues that I love.
The free roam was nice, but it gets boring with all of the collectables like I said. I really liked being able to find villains hidden around the city, but you find them all quickly and their boss battles are easy and anti-climatic, especially Zod's. He's got all of Superman's powers, he shouldn't be so easy to defeat!
In summary, the levels are good, and the free roam has some nice ideas, but the collecting is overwhelming.
The reason most of us bought the game is for the characters of course.
The biggest problem with the first LEGO Batman game was the cast. See my review of that game for more. This one is better of course, in terms of heroes. The only one I'd like to add to the roster would be Green Arrow, but I wouldn't say no to a lot of others. Most of the heroes were well executed with all of their abilities, and if not it was only something small omitted. My only problem is that in terms of abilities, Batgirl and Huntress have been neglected. They have their respective tools, but are pretty much useless otherwise. I wouldn't complain if Batgirl could use Batman's suits, and Huntress should definitely have acrobatics. Acrobatics are useless though, since you always have to use on of Robin's suits instead just because he can turn into a ball or throw a stick. Well Robin, Harley Quinn can throw a mallet. How does that make you feel?
The villains are a little worse. So many of them can't do anything of use. Other than, and I can easily list them:
- The Joker
- Lex Luthor
- Poison Ivy
- The Riddler
- The Penguin
- General Zod
- Mr. Freeze
- Killer Croc (Just until you get Aquaman, which you have to do, then he is useless)
The others have few abilities, if any at all, and when they do Batman/Robin's super suits/Superman can do just one small thing that they can't which makes them useless, like Catwoman, Two-Face, and Bane. Many of the characters also loose abilities from the first game, like Mad Hatter can no longer double-jump.
Getting the villains is fun, but the heroes are terrible. The only one you really need to complete the game is Aquaman, but until you learn to use the map and have a lot of golden bricks, you won't be able to get any.
The super suits are back, and what I find kind of annoying is that now the game relies on Batman and Robin too much. Catwoman and Harley Quinn may have the acrobatic ability, but everytime you need to use it, you need either Robin's staff or Zorb ball. I don't mind the game relying on the Dynamic Duo, since otherwise they would be too easily overshadowed by Superman and Friends, but it takes the usefulness away from so many other characters and I almost feel like I have a smaller variety of useful ones than in the first Batman game. It at least helped that you could switch to Batgirl and/or Nightwing though to mix things up, but now you can't. Harley does have a boomerang mallet though, so you have to love that even if she is otherwise useless.
The cast is kind of small, I'll admit, and the DS is once again loaded. There are only a few characters I'd add to the line-up though. Green Arrow, just because, Cheetah, because Wonder Woman's rogues have no representation, and Firefly, just because looking over Batman's rogues from the first DS game, he is the only one who would be able to do anything in this game. Fly, and heat up golden objects. That would actually be pretty useful. And plus, a small cast means more individual work on the minifigures, and I have to say, that I want all of the ones designed specifically for this game, but they all need some work, especially The Flash. I might be being a little biased since I love the character, but I personally do think that Batgirl () is the best minifigure, with Green Lantern at a close second.
The selection is good though, other than the three I mentioned, I think that they nailed it, as long as you remember that this is a Batman game, all the characters from other franchises are only making guest appearances and cameos. They have all of Batman's main enemies (and Killer Moth ), all of the main male heroes (except Green Arrow), all of the main female heroes (and Huntress), and a few sensible guest villains (and Captain Boomerang).
Unfortunately, I played the game on the Wii. Downloadable content is evil. The cast is small, and I really wish that they wouldn't have done this, or at least made them cheat-code only like the Dancing Captain Jack Sparrow. I don't care about most of those characters, and other than Captain Cold, Shazam, and Black Adam, and possibly Zatanna they would all be useless. Nightwing was on my wanted list though, and I have no chance to get him. Shame. I ranted again, didn't I?
But I do have to give them credit, I guess. In my review of LEGO Batman I said I wanted them to expand the world of Batman heroes and villains. They did add Huntress and Tim Drake (it says Dick Grayson, but it's Tim. I can rant about this. It will be easier for both of us if you agree).
I was hoping for a better character creator, we haven't gotten a half decent one since the first LEGO Batman and even then that felt a little half-baked. This one boasted that it would have "secret" characters. The only one is Vixen. Seriously, just Vixen. Why Vixen, I don't know. But that's really anticlimactic, at least as much as that kind of thing can be I think.
Anyway, get this on a PlayStation or X-Box if you can.
I don't like to complain about the graphics of games as long as everything works fine, but I have to. First of all Harley Quinn and Two-Face's arms are the same color on both sides and the Batmobile's wheels (among others) are more octagonal than circular. I'm willing to blame this on Wiis though, so I'll overlook it, and again, get it on a PlayStation or X-Box if you can.
There were a few glitches I came across, but nothing really terrible. That's probably with the enhanced graphics and huge environment though.
On the bright side though, they have fixed a lot of old animation mistakes dating back past the first LEGO Batman game, which was four years ago.
Story and Voices and Music and Stuff
The story wasn't overly creative. Joker teams up with Lex Luthor. That's happened before. There was a breakout at Arkham Asylum. That's happened before. The Justice League fights a giant robot. That's happened before. It was still decent though, and that was probably because of the script. It wasn't a masterstroke, and there were times when I had to sigh, but it was certainly better than that Ninjago special (which I'll admit, is the only episode/whatever I've watched of The Masters of Spinjitzu).
The characters with characterization was different, and they did change them a bit from the first LEGO Batman game (you could still get a taste of their personality even without voices). Some have changed for the better, like Joker and Robin, others for the worse, like Catwoman and The Riddler, and others didn't change much, like Batman, Harley Quinn, and The Penguin. It's been a while since I've watched anything with pretty much any DC heroes except Batman and Robin (and a bit of Batgirl) but I think that they did a pretty good job. The tone kind of reminds me of Batman Forever, but honesty, I hated that movie. This did a better job at not going too campy, and not too dark. Not that you could call it dark. I wouldn't even call Batman Forever dark mostly, I couldn't take it seriously, but I couldn't laugh at it either. I ranted about it somewhere. Go look it up. Honestly, LEGO has one of my favorite versions of the DC Universe. Sure, they can't pull off the pain Dr. Langstrom goes through, the thin line Catwoman walks, and they don't even try with Mr. Freeze, but they aren't going to...<insert rant here>...they know when to draw the line.
Back on topic, I think that they did a good job with most characters' mannerisms. Batman was good, but his body language was strange at times. Lex Luthor was great, and they certainly included what I love most about his character, his jealousy. It wasn't a huge thing really, but it was there, and it made me happy. I didn't recognize exactly what Robin was based on, but it worked well for the story, he has that way of looking up at Superman like an uncle like Dick Grayson did. (But, again, Tim Drake. Don't even try me. I'm not a Zhu zhu pet.) Harley Quinn was wonderful, even though she didn't have much to do, and The Penguin and Two-Face had even less though I really enjoyed them. Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Martian Manhunter were fine too, but some of the weakest parts of the script seemed to be their lines I thought.
I this prefer Joker to how he was depicted in LEGO Batman, he feels more like a threatening prankster than a terrorist and a mass murderer. Just the way he should be. It got really annoying though how he was depicted above all of Batman's other villains. He didn't bug me as much as Sensei Wu though, none of them did, so that's good.
Now for the ones I don't like. The Riddler was one of my favorites in LEGO Batman, he really reminded me of Frank Gorshin. But this one doesn't at all. He acts kind of like some cowardly tough-guy who is still overconfident. I don't know what else I'd expect from a muscular guy in spandex and a bowler hat though. If anything, Catwoman was even worse. She acts like a real cat at times. She was acceptable in LEGO Batman, but here, just ugh. I didn't care for Superman. Like I said, I haven't watched anything non-Batman in a while, so I don't know how accurate this is to whatever, and his personality worked for the story, but he was too nice, and nagged a lot so he got annoying.
You don't get to see a huge amount of the other characters too much, but for the most part they either stayed the same or changed to little that I don't even want to bother with something so minor. Bane did seem a bit more inspired by The Dark Knight Rises than before though, which I'm actually okay with. It still fit.
Before I criticize the story a little, I want to give it some praise. The references were great. I don't want to get into them too much, but they mentioned Kite Man, so that made me happy. There was also a reference to how similar Bruce Wayne and Superman's faces are, but going into that would mean spoilers.
Now for the problems I had. There was no leading lady, first of all. Vicki Vale has a lot of lines, but she had no involvement. The closest thing was Harley Quinn and she only had three, including her soundbite. I wish that she could have stuck around with Joker and Lex, and though I know it wouldn't happen, what about Mercy Graves? I'll dismiss that though. I kind of thought that they would want Bane and Catwoman featured a little more, since they are in The Dark Knight Rises. I was expecting Bane to be hired for some muscle, but I don't know where Catwoman would fit in. I don't want to see much more of her after this though. I'd rather have no female lead than a damsel in distress though.
Now for what I purposefully put at the end, how is the voice acting? For the most part, it's fine. I'll try not to rant, but I honestly don't feel I have enjoyed the grunts so much since the first Indiana Jones game. That and the original Star Wars games were brilliant. But then they undertook the tasks of an original story, the complex Harry Potter saga, and Pirates of the Caribbean. I could tell what was going on vaguely in the first two, but PoTC was a mess. I knew from the moment Joker and Lex spoke that it was here to stay, even though people thought it would leave for The Lord of the Rings. As worn out as it was getting, I think I'll miss it.
Though they now can actually make jokes, there is still a bit of that older humor. When Poison Ivy was hitting Bane after their defeat reminded me of it, as did the Batboat falling on Penguin.
Most of the voices are good, but they seemed to try to make them too deep, at least the male ones. Batman, Robin, and a lot of the minor villains were fine (I don't want to list) and I really liked The Penguin. The female characters were good too, or at least Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. I got used to Vicki Vale, though I didn't like her at first. Wonder Woman only had one short line but I didn't like how she sounded (she actually could have had a bit deeper of a voice). The worst was Catwoman though. Those of you who miss the classic grunts though might by happy with her, she never actually speaks (despite being a featured characters). She only meows.
Lex Luthor deserves his own line. Thank you Mr. Brown.
Superman and Green Lantern were decent, they could have been better, but they were fine. Martian Manhunter could have done with more of an accent (as could Alfred), but he was acceptable. And like Catwoman, The Flash never spoke. He didn't meow though, so that was a good thing.
As for the others, ugh. Minor characters excused of course, unless their one line was enough to make me hate them. For the most part, the one-liners were good (Scarecrow and Mr. Freeze being the only exceptions I can think of, though I didn't care for General Zod). First of all, The Riddler. I already said how I like Riddler, and even though he sounded like SpongeBob SquarePants in LEGO Batman, here his voice just doesn't fit him. It doesn't even work for the smooth-talking version. His bowler hat and/or spandex must be on too tight. Two-Face, again was too deep I thought, but at least the personalities conflicted, so I could get used to it. The Joker's voice was definitely too deep for me. Just so you can get an idea, if you have played the Pirates of the Caribbean game, Joker's "grunts" almost sound the same as Blackbeard's.
The soundtrack was mostly the same as LEGO Batman, the only difference being Superman got a theme song. I wish that they could have used music from not only Batman and Batman Returns, but also Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, or even better, the 60's version of Batman (just imagine, the fight song during a brawl). I'm sure that FOX owns the latter though, but oh well. My only big problem with the music is that it seemed to quiet, probably so the voices could be heard better. Even though they mostly did a good job with the acting though, it seemed really flat at times, it may have been because there was no background noise, or just the acting, the music being a little louder would have helped.
Okay, this has gotten long, and there is more I can say (I really wanted to rant a few times ). So I'll try and keep this brief. The first LEGO Batman game feels more satisfying, I think. Most of the villains here are restricted to anti-climactic boss battles and are overshadowed by Batman, Robin, or Superman. The story was better though, and the Dynamic Duo levels (the first four or five) were too. Superman fans should by happy, I don't play a lot of video games, but his gameplay is decent and I hear tell that this is the first time. There is also a good chance that your favorite mainstream DC hero is there too, as long as it isn't Green Arrow, though they are also, for the most part, overshadowed by Batman, Robin, and Superman.
I'd recommend it, but if possible, for PlayStation or X-Box. Or, if all you care about is the characters, not graphics or gameplay, try a portable version.
|Value for Money:||
5 / 5
4 / 5
4 / 5
4½ / 5
4½ / 5
LEGO Batman 3 anyone? Probably not happening. There will be a sequel though, something either more Justice League-y or Superman-y. Probably the former. Mark my words.