Somebody needs to make a LEGO Superman: Kingdom Come.
We all kind of groaned at the 3DS press conference when Scott Moffitt announced a demo for LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was available to download RIGHT NOW. A demo for NSMB2 would have been something worth crowing about, but few of us at NWR crave a new LEGO game, least of all me. I’ve played several, mostly by accident, over the last five years, and they’re all basically the same “break stuff, collect things” game, with lazy platforming and funny cut scenes. This is not to say the games aren’t well made—they are—but they don’t differ. We’ve been playing the same LEGO games with different skins for a long time now; hopefully LEGO City: Undercover bucks this trend.
LEGO Batman 2 certainly doesn’t. The demo opens with the Joker taking control of a Gotham nightclub where Bruce Wayne has bested Lex Luthor for a man of the year award. The Joker, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, and the Riddler crash the party and take over. Soon enough, the Batwing crashes through the wall (subtle!), and Batman and Robin are on the case. The Joker runs amok, but his partners in crime are happy to deal with the Dark Knight.
After beating up some non-threatening thugs, breaking furniture, and collecting a lot of LEGO bits, you fight Harley Quinn by using your Batarang to stun her. The ‘rang is activated by holding X, moving a cursor over your target, and releasing. It sounds more awkward than it is, but it’s certainly not a fast action—a smart targeting system, like the one in Rocksteady’s Batman games, would’ve been appreciated. Eventually, Harley starts hopping and doing acrobatics on stage, leaving you to hit targets with your Batarang to electrify the podiums she leaps to.
Then it’s off to the next few areas, which feature the Riddler forcing you to deal with several environmental puzzles. In one, you’ll need to play four musical instruments in a particular order; later on, you’ll use Batman’s “stealth suit” to see through a wall and sneak past a security camera; in another, you’ll use the same tricks to spot the box in which the Riddler hides . Eventually you’ll fight the Joker with Batarangs while avoiding cannon fire. It’s all pretty brain-dead stuff, and there are times when the platforming falters given the camera’s zoomed-in position. Interestingly, you can tap the touch screen to switch between Batman and Robin at any time (in fact, you must in order to solve a puzzle). Batman can glide while Robin can double-jump. If you die, you respawn instantly.
Interestingly, the level is sprinkled with items only other superheroes can activate. For example, you’ll need a “super-strong” character (Superman) to move an object, or a character who’s “good with explosives” (???) to blow up a wall. Only Robin, an “acrobatic” character, can swing from pole to pole, and it seems like Batman’s power is to change into different suits. Whether revisiting old stages multiple times with different heroes is a chore or not (maybe you can choose who to double up with) remains to be seen. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the demo, but I haven’t been impressed with most LEGO games. I do like the idea of playing as multiple DC superheroes—probably all Justice Leaguers—but LEGO isn’t the way I want to experience it. I’ll keep waiting for Injustice: Gods Among Us, thanks.
Also, I’m pretty sure that, given how LEGO characters are designed, Power Girl won’t be featured in this game.