LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Demo Impressions
If there’s one franchise that’s surprised me with its ability to adapt itself to different intellectual properties over the years, it’s the LEGO franchise. The sheer number of games has been staggering, but they always manage to surprise me with their ability to be fun games despite the fact that they are all essentially the same. LEGO Harry Potter has been my favorite and I’m not ashamed to admit that my least favorite so far was LEGO Batman. Not because it was a bad game, but because that’s the property that I’m least interested in compared to the rest.
Warner Bros. and TT Games are bringing the bat back for Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and he’s bringing some friends along. This time he’ll be joined by other, popular comic book characters like Green Lantern, Superman and Wonder Woman. They’ll be taking on a number of super villains from across those properties as well. To get people geared up for the game WB released a demo of the 3DS game for the eShop during E3 and we’re going to take a look at that today.
The demo gives you access to one mission starring Batman and Robin. You’ll be facing off against four of the most popular villains from that franchise as well; Harley Quinn, The Riddler, Penguin and The Joker. From the very beginning of the demo, I was surprised by the presentation because this is the first LEGO game where the characters actually talk. There is a story told in cutscenes like always, but you can now understand exactly what the characters are saying and I was quite pleased at how good the voice acting sounded. The cast is made up of DC voice veterans and some newcomers, but it all sounds really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t end up being some sort of test bed for a LEGO themed Batman show.
The gameplay itself isn’t anything new. If you’ve played a LEGO game before you know exactly what to expect. Everything in the environment is destructible and that destruction is key to solving many of the game’s puzzles. You’ll find wind up keys hidden in tables or characters will drop key cards that activate elevators to take you to the next part of the mission. It all feels very familiar to veterans of the franchise and it still works. Many of the puzzles will require two players and the few times that came up, the AI performed flawlessly. The mission you play will also show how the characters interact with each other and how key it will be to switch back and forth between them to solve the puzzles.
Probably the most surprising thing to me, based on this demo, is that this 3DS version doesn’t feel like the previous 3DS LEGO games, which were essentially ports of the DS game. It feels very much like a console game adapted to a handheld. The DS games were all very slimmed down with very few environmental effects and the puzzles were all simplified. The demo for LEGO Batman 2 really did feel like it had the same depth as the console games. The mission took 15-20 minutes to complete with a lot of backtracking through small areas to solve the puzzles. There were plenty of enemies onscreen at any one time and the animations were all very fluid.
Of course you can’t have a LEGO game without some humor and most of the fun in LEGO Batman comes from the combat animations. At one point Batman put his foot on one of Riddler’s henchmen and proceeded to continually punch him like of those wobbly punching clowns. I can’t wait to see what some of the other characters do if Batman is any indication of the kind of fun we’ll see when it comes to punching baddies in the face. The development team even made a nod to the more mature rated Batman games with some cinematic slow down action during melee combos. It’s a nice little touch that doesn’t seem like it will be overused. It’s fun to see when it happens, though.
Overall, the demo does a nice job of showing what people can expect when the full game launches later this year. If you’ve never played a LEGO game before I recommend you download this and check it out. You might find yourself interested in the game. If you’re just simply waiting for the release of the game, the demo will be a nice little appetizer to whet your palette in the meantime. Will this mean a LEGO Batman game could end up being a favorite for me in the series? I don’t know, but I was impressed by what I saw.