Stud-hunting on the Vita.
I have lost track of how many LEGI games are available now, but the fact that I have played them all didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for another dose of brick-breaking and stud-collecting, this time with the Dark Knight and friends in their second outing in brick form. Being a fan of both the LEGO games and Batman left me feeling doubly giddy with excitement.
Comic book fans will have plenty here to be happy about, because not only do we have the Batman and sidekick Robin, along with a huge selection of well known villains from the Batman stories including The Joker, Penguin Bane and Poinson Ivy to name a few, but as the title may have suggested, other DC super heroes will also make an appearance. Superman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and more are not only present, but playable and bring with them their unique powers allowing players to go back over levels and find all manner of collectibles and goodies.
But that all comes later in the game. To begin with the player has to work through a typically over the top plot beginning with a simple robbery by The Joker at the “Man of the Year” awards and quickly escalating into a nefarious scheme to help Lex Luthor become President. The story is filled with fan-service and typically over-the-top characters that make the whole thing entertaining.
Players approach the game one level after the other, fighting various goons and the occasional boss battle whilst solving puzzles and smashing everything in sight to collect enough studs to achieve “Super Hero” status. Much like all of the other LEGO games, in Batman 2 different skills are required to do different things, but rather than using different characters, in LEGO Batman it is all about the suits. The player will be able to swap out their suits at certain points, which give them different skills, such as the stealth suit which lets Batman sneak past security cameras, or Robin’s magnetic suit that allows him to climb walls in certain places. Everything is fairly straight forward and shouldn’t present any major problems for either newcomers or veterans of the LEGO games.
It is all fairly by the books. The levels can be replayed with different characters to find all of the hidden goodies. There are mini-kit pieces to gather, citizens in peril to rescue, super hero status to be achieved and so many studs to collect. Players can create their own superhero, which is always good fun, and there are even some extra missions in Justice League mode which offer a bit of “survival”-style action. All in all, it is quite a well-rounded package.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes on the PS Vita is a worthy addition to the franchise that ticks all of the boxes created by the previous LEGO titles. It is what you would expect and there is no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this game is you enjoyed any of the other LEGO games. But this is all only if you don’t sneak a peek at the Xbox360 or PS3 version if the game. If you check out either of these titles, it becomes apparent how far they have advanced the franchise by building the game around an open world format, leaving the Vita version feeling somewhat shallow and unambitious. I was personally quite content with LEGO Batman 2 on the Vita until I played the same game on the PS3. Considering how powerful the Vita is supposed to be, the difference between the two games was substantial, and more than a little depressing. I may have even cried a little…
But, as I say, the Vita version does what it says on the tin and is still very enjoyable. It may not be an impressive leap forward in the genre, but it is still enough to hold the attention of LEGO game fans. There is, however, one glaring problem with the game which, although having no effect on the actual gameplay, does dampen the experience. The awesome LEGO cut scenes, which add so much humour to these games, have been down-sampled on the Vita. I don’t know why this has happened, I can only assume it was a size issue, but the result is that the cut scenes are no longer crisp and enjoyable to watch, being instead blurry and disappointing. It is actually quite shocking and not what you would expect from Sony’s handheld.
To scratch that LEGO game itch and inject some frantic stud-collecting into your daily life, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes on the Vita certainly hits the mark. Just make sure that you don’t accept any invitations to play co-op on the Xbox360 or PS3 and squint when the cut scenes are playing – that way you won’t know what you are missing…