LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Review

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Title: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Developer: TT Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.1 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail

The list of LEGO games available on the PS Vita that we have reviewed is constantly getting smaller and smaller.  We have reviewed a total of seven LEGO games available on the Vita.  Five of those are native PlayStation Vita titles and two of them PlayStation Portable titles.  From LEGO Star Wars III to LEGO: The Hobbit, there are a lot of games of this nature available to the Vita, and it is still getting more.  As it stands, there are still three native PS Vita games of LEGO fashion that we’ve not reviewed.

As you know, the LEGO games have changed as the years have gone by.  The handheld variations of these games are true of this, especially in the current generation.  The LEGO games that come out now are very different from the same games that come out on home consoles.  If you put LEGO: The Hobbit for PS Vita and LEGO: The Hobbit for PS3 side by side, it’s a world of differences, from the lack of res-pawns to the top-down perspective.

However, in the beginning of the Vita’s life time, there were some LEGO games that tried to be like their home console counterparts.  Some of these games tried and failed, not being complete games, like LEGO: The Lord of the Rings.  Today, we bring you another PS Vita LEGO game that plays like its console counterparts.  Was anything taken out of this release?  Here is our official review of the Vita’s very first LEGO game, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes.

Story

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LEGO Batman 2, like the first game in the series, follows the adventures of Batman and Robin as they try to contain a potential break-out at Arkham Asylum shortly after Bruce Wayne’s “Man of the Year” award is cut short by none other than the criminal mastermind, The Joker.  As they travel through Gotham, Arkham, and more, they will find that not only is there a break-out, but there is a much bigger picture in play.  One that will not only involve Batman and Robin, but Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and more.

The story of LEGO Batman 2 has improved from the first in that the scenes are voiced now, allowing for a lot more comedy, from Batman’s constant “I Don’t Need Superman’s Help” stubbornness to an office secretary not being able to recognize who Superman and Batman are, suited up, directly in front of her.  If you’re a fan of DC Comics, you’ll be sure to get a laugh or two out of the events that are laid out in the game.  It’s not a ground-breaking story, but it is a funny one.

Gameplay

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Like LEGO Batman before it, this game is a 3D Platformer with Combat Elements.  You will be controlling Batman and Robin (along with other characters further into the game) as they travel through Gotham to put a stop to the plans of every super-villain they come across by punching them, tossing Batarangs, navigating platforms, and destroying anything and everything in their path.

Like all of the other early LEGO games on the Vita, the perspective is in 3D and plays exactly like the PS3 version of the game does.  You will have a party to be able to cycle through and you will need to use different characters to solve different puzzles.  There are certain doors and objects that can only be used by certain characters, such as green objects that must be manipulated by Green Lantern or Brick Walls that must be used by Superman Heat Vision.  As you play through the game, the goal will be to figure out what character is needed and how they are needed.

Suits carry over from the original game, allowing Batman and Robin to transform into their different suits to be able to pass obstacles, such as Batman’s Stealth Suit that allows him to become invisible to security cameras or the Hazard Suit for Robin, allowing him to navigate through toxic waste.  Unlike the previous game, though, you’re stuck with the suit once you put it on.  You cannot switch back until you get to the next level or find another suit.  However, you will find that there isn’t a use for switching back, as you will need each suit as long as you have it.

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Once you clear a mission, you can replay it with Free Play.  Free Play has gotten much better from the original game.  Not only are you able to use characters of your own choosing, but you have a feature called Super Free Play.  This allows you to not only switch between the members of your party but also swap any of them out with any character you have unlocked and purchased.  This way, if you find an obstacle in a level requiring a character you don’t have with you, you can just go into Super Freeplay and drag them into the level without having to start over.

There is something unique to the handheld versions of this game.  Something that the console versions do not have.  Once you finish the game, you will be able to take part in Justice League Missions.  This allows you to go through waves of enemies with specific members of the Justice League, in order to unlock new characters to use in Free Play.

While the game does also contain the Character Creator from the PS3 version of the game, there is one thing that the game does not have.  For one reason or another, TT Games pulled the Open World from the game.  While the PS3 version had an open world for you to explore, the PS Vita game only has the missions, Justice League Missions, and the Batcave.  This is unfortunate, but it isn’t as huge of a loss as some of the other Vita LEGO games, which had entire levels ripped out of the game.  This game does not.

Despite not having the Open World, Batman should take you about 7-8 hours to complete the 14 Story Levels of the game, adding another hour or two for the Justice League Missions.  For all intents and purposes, it is the most console-like LEGO game you will find on the Vita, and shows that the system can definitely handle the full console releases.

Controls

As a LEGO game, the game plays similar to how the first Batman game played, but with a few more options, being a PS Vita game rather than a PSP game.  The touch screen, for example, is used for a few things.  Some are things you can also use buttons for and some you cannot.  It can be used to target enemies and objects with the Batarang (or other throwing weapons for other characters) as well as switching characters and solving puzzles.

Moving your character is done with the Left Analog Stick.  The Right Analog Stick is not used.  The X Button is used to jump as well as double-jump and Glide.  The Triangle Button is used to switch between the two characters on the screen.  The Square and Circle buttons are used for Combat.  The Square button is used for melee attacks, and you can hold it down to target enemies and objects with throwing weapons.  The Circle Button is used to grab stunned enemies to do a one-hit kill.

Lastly, the L and R Buttons are used to cycle through the characters in your party.  The control scheme is very similar to the control scheme of the original game as well as many LEGO games that have come after it.  If you’re not new to the LEGO franchise, you will be right at home with these controls.

Presentation

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The presentation is one of this game’s highest points.  The original LEGO Batman that’s available on the Vita was riddled with technical problems, possibly due to the entire game being ported over to the PSP.  LEGO Batman 2, however, doesn’t have those.  The game plays very smooth, and even the Load Times for each stage never pass about 5-6 seconds.  The game was optimized for the Vita very well, and everything flows and plays smooth, whether you’re along in a Theater or surrounded by enemies.

The game also looks visually impressive.  When you are playing the game, it will be hard to find jagged edges on the character models.  They can be seen in the Finisher Moves that zoom in on the characters but, even then, they’re not easy to spot.  You’ll have to be looking for them to find them, which is a feat, considering this was a very early PS Vita title.

Overall

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is the most complete LEGO game available on the Vita.  While the PS3 version’s Open World was removed for this release, you will still find a game that looks great, has a ton of characters and content, and an impressive visual presentation that will make any DC and LEGO fan proud to own it.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes an 8/10.

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