Anyone that knows me would readily testify that I’m quite a keen gamer, maybe a bit too keen at times (those times being housework time, going to bed time and doing some DIY time). So when I was asked if I would like a free copy of Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes to review, there was only going to be one possible answer – Yes siree bob.
I patiently waited for it to arrive and I promise I didn’t bug the postman too much (although he may tell you differently) and last Friday my patience was rewarded. I reverently opened the mysterious black box with the batman emblem on it and the goodies were revealed in all their glory. I let the kids argue over the other stuff and then informed the wife that I would have to play on the Xbox all day, purely in the name of research.
I hadn’t played any of the Lego games before, but what they basically do is take a famous film of comic series and then, for want of a better made up word, lego-fy it. The background, the cars and the people - everything made from Lego and all breakable. I have to admit they have done a great job of recreating Gotham City; it still looks broody and dark but with the fun twist of it being in the Lego world. It’s really hard to put into words how much fun can be had in randomly smashing things up and then collecting all the Lego pieces.
The game is story led in which you take on The Joker and Lex Luthor, but you also have the added bonus of it also being a sandbox game (to the uninitiated this means you have a huge city to roam about and pretty much do what you want). To start with you have control of Batman and Robin who each have their own strengths and characteristics that have to be used together to get through each level. As you get further through the game you get to play more of the characters, the best one being Superman with his ability to fly, freeze and cut through things with his heat vision.
I played through the game on my own, easily switching between the 2 heroes by a quick press of the Y button, but where it really comes into its own is when it’s played by two players. There was no way my lot were going to let me hog the game, so I soon had to let Kaede (7) and Nate (5) start their own adventure. Nate isn’t much of a gamer yet and I think he may be a tad too young to really get into the game but I have to admit they both surprised me. They are not really known for their ability to cooperate and yet this seemed to bring out the best in them. When Nate got stuck somewhere not only did Kaede patiently talk him through what he should be doing, but if that didn’t work he would quite happily release his controller and let her get him past the obstacle.
Kaede would cope with most of the problem solving, certain suits do certain things to get you through the levels, but I would normally remain in ear-shot to help them out when needed. The game has a dynamic split screen, so you can both be in completely different parts of the level without any issue. It also has an easy drop in/drop out option so when Nate did have enough, he could just leave Kaede playing the game without her having to start again in the traditional manner.
Needless to say the kids love it, I would say they are a quarter of the way through the storyline and they have shown no signs of boredom as of yet. And as an added bonus, when they are not playing (because it’s my turn obviously), they have renewed their love of building with real Lego.
As for me, I’ve been equally impressed; the sheer scale of the game is immense. Whilst I’ve completed the main storyline, I don’t think I’m even a third of the way through everything you can do in Gotham City. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you are most definitely rewarded once you’ve beaten the final boss and instead of putting the game down and moving on to the next one, I’m quite happily exploring and getting into mischief.
The world of Batman is normally quite a gloomy and violent one, but Lego have somehow made it a inherently charming place (I found myself playing with a smile on my face more often than not and some of the banter between Batman and Robin is priceless), whilst still retaining the ominous feel of a Gotham City overrun by bad guys.
Lego Batman 2 is out now on most platforms and in my opinion well worth the purchase whether you have kids or not.
Many thanks to Kayley at Feref for providing me with my free copy of Batman and on that note I’m off to the Batcave to take on The Penguin.