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In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris busts blocks with Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes...

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes – Review

Christopher Nolan’s ultra realistic take on the legend of the Dark Knight may have all-but erased memories of the god-awful Joel Schumacher era, but Batman doesn’t have to be all deep voices and super-serious scowls to succeed. In fact, one of the most entertaining Bat-incarnations of recent years was the first Caped Crusader Lego game; a joyous trek through a brick-built Gotham City, it brought fun back to a saga that has spent far too much time brooding in the shadows.

Now, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has come along and, if anything, it’s even more fun and frivolous than its predecessor as it brings with it a whole host of characters from the Detective Comics universe. Batman may be the only DC icon who can currently cut the mustard at your local multiplex (well, at least until Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel hits cinemas next year), but the addition of Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern - hell, even Aquaman - makes this an instantly more appealing sequel.

Factor in a GTA-lite sandbox arena, more unlockable vehicles and characters than you can shake a brick at, plus the patented co-op gaming and amusing in-jokery and you’ve got a title that will appeal to just about everyone.

Gameplay-wise, it’s pretty much business as usual as you guide Batman and Robin (either on your own or with a second player) around a panoply of recognisable environs rebuilt in Lego form, swapping between the two to solve a variety of puzzles along the way.

You’ve also got a variety of different Bat-suits to help you to advance further in the game. Batman’s Sensor Suit, for example, turns you invisible and gives you X-ray vision (handy for sneaking past guard posts), while Robin’s Snow and Acrobat Suits turns water to ice and allows you to jump onto previously unreachable ledges respectively.

With all these wonderful toys at their disposal you begin to wonder why the Dynamic Duo would need the help of their Justice League cohorts, but as the game progresses the appearance of Superman et al not only breathes new life into the proceedings but lets you to fly from one end of Gotham to another faster than the proverbial speeding bullet.

The hugely increased cast of heroes and villains means that, for the first time ever in a Lego game, the characters speak (fans of the animated Lex Luthor in particular will be pleased to hear the dulcet tones of actor Clancy Brown), which allows for some genuinely amusing moments and makes a nice change from the usual mumbling and Robin-falling-over sight gags – although there’s still plenty of that going on.

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While the open world environment won’t be giving the likes of Grand Theft Auto any real competition, in terms of scale and sheer number of activities and land, water and air vehicles this is hugely impressive stuff – so much so that you can spend hours cruising about discovering mini-games and unexpected unlockables hidden around Wayne Manor, Arkham Asylum and other Gotham hotspots.

While it doesn’t touch the breadth, ambition and downright brilliance of last year’s superlative Arkham City, Lego Batman 2 really hits the spot. It’s not without its problems – there’s no online mode, there’s more than a few annoying glitches and interface problems from previous games still haven’t been addressed - this is nevertheless one of the most enjoyable Lego games ever.


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