Random Review: Lego Batman 2

bat-easyIt should almost be called “Lego Superman,” as he’s probably the best character in the game :).  Most of the Justice League makes appearances in the game, but they don’t have much importance in the story, which is a shame.  hopefully it’s a setup for a full fledged lego justice league game?  (related: why is there no lego:Avengers game?!!?)

Easton and I have played through several Lego games now, and of all of them, this was definitely the hardest.  In most of the other games, you have to learn how to move the characters.  In the first Lego Batman, you also had to drive some vehicles, but that’s it.  Lego Batman 2, you have to learn how to:

  1. move the characters in missions (no biggie, all the other games have done this)
  2. move your character in 3rd person over the shoulder view, where the right analog stick also moves the camera, as all of the between missions take place in a sandbox style world
  3. drive vehicles in 3rd person view, because the sandbox area is so big.
  4. fly vehicles / people in 3rd person sandbox mode, because that’s a little different controls than driving.
  5. fly vehicles in a flight sim on rails style in missions
    The large amount of control schemes made it hard for Easy to pick up.  In the sandbox area, a lot of the times he was really confused about what he was supposed to be doing, and how to do it. 
    The other interesting thing was how the in-mission split screen worked.  The first time the “auto” split screen took over, we didn’t even notice right away, and we realized we were on opposite sides of the screen from where we were sitting on the couch, so we switched spots.  and like 2 minutes later, I realized that somehow we were again on the opposite side of the screen from where we were sitting.  The splitscreen is actually genius!  If you’re close together, there is no splitscreen.  as you get farther apart, the screen divides, but not exactly horizontally or vertically.  Depending on where you are and where you are going, the splitscreen might be diagonal, and as you move around, the split line moves with you.  As long as you’re watching your own character, you never really notice it.  I imagine that a 3rd person watching might get really confused and a little dizzy, though.
    That being said, I think it is the best lego game so far.  The voice acting gives the game a lot more sense of character, and allowed them to tell a new real story, instead of how most of the Lego games are a caricature or some existing content.  It also let Easton follow in the story without me having to explain what was going on, or read all the captions to him.
    The one thing we really missed from the original Lego Batman was being able to play the missions from the bad guy point of view.  that was one of the most clever things in the original!

Because of that, the story part of the game seemed pretty short.  when we finished it and the credits started rolling, both Easton and Laura said “that’s it!?”.  Then I explained that we had 250 gold bricks to find, 20 red bricks to find, 50 people to rescue, a ton of guys and vehicles to buy, etc.  Even 2 weeks after finishing the story, we’re only 76% complete, and still have yet to go through all of the missions again in story mode!

My biggest complaint is mostly about switching characters.  In sandbox and story mode, you can hold Y to switch characters.  While the character selector is up, the other player can’t do anything.  Easton love to switch guys, so I spend a lot of time just waiting for him to pick someone.  And if you were robin or batman in a special suit, switching characters makes that go away, and you revert to normal batman or robin, which is really annoying.  You might have to run all the way back to the beginning to switch back to a specialized batman and run all the way back…

My only other major complaint was the autosave stuff in sandbox mode.  If you find something that causes it to save, both of your characters freeze and can’t move for ~5 seconds.  But nothing else freezes, so if there is money to pick up, it might disappear during the save.  If there were bad guys attacking you, they keep hitting.  if you were driving a vehicle, you just go straight for a while.  That could have been handled a little better.

There were lots of other minor gripes, a fair number of freezes or crashes, some glitches where we got stuck in walls or floors, etc, but that’s all par for the course, and they were rare enough to not be a big deal.

One thing that I did like, however, was that (finally!) a lego game doesn’t make you press all kinds of buttons to load a game.  It used to be that you’d press start, press down once to select “load”, press A, the save location prompt appears, select your location, press A, choose your save, press A, loading starts, it says it was successful, Press A, it warns about autosave press A (start,down,a,a,a,a,a).  This version auto finds saves, so you don’t get prompted for locations if there’s only one, and you can just press start, then A A A and you’re in.

TL;DR: best lego game ever!

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