Published on June 29th, 2012 | by Dembonez192
Review: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes – 3DS
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Systems: Wii, PS3, 360, PC, Mac, 3DS, DS, Vita
Release Date: June 19, 2012 (All but Mac), September 6, 2012 (Mac)
Please read this review with caution as there may be spoilers included that could ruin your gaming experience! The handheld version of LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has quite a few differences to the console versions, but this review will cover only some of them.
Coming from someone who has never played a LEGO game in his life, I have to say I was hooked on this particular one the moment I played through the free demo which was long enough to give you a real feel of the gameplay and short enough not to give away the entire story.
The scene opens on Gotham Theatre where Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are both up for the Man of the Year Award. Considering Lex Luthor is running for office, he feels entitled to win this. Instead, Bruce takes home the prize, or at least I’m sure he wanted to. The Joker unfortunately spoils his plans and interrupts the ceremony by causing a ruckus and stealing precious items from the visitors. Bruce disappears from the building while this is happening, and The Joker’s partnership with Lex Luthor begins. Can the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin stop these evildoers and their minions?
If you played through the demo, you will know what to expect right away as soon as the initial cutscene ends. You are ambushed by a bunch of grunts inside the theatre, and you have to fight the mini bosses in the order you fought them in the demo. Everything is the same, and the length of the demo is the length of time it will take you to someplace new. Each of the levels in the 3DS version of the game are around this length of time.
One thing I enjoyed about Gotham Theatre is that while it introduced me to the controls of the game, there were also many unique things to interact with. These things include a piano which you were allowed to break in order to build a set of stairs up to the stage, musical instruments that you could play as a way of unlocking a code, The Riddler’s boxes that you could use x-ray vision to see through, and The Penguin’s robot penguin minions that you could use to destroy him.
These unique interactive elements disappear as you move along in the game. The puzzles especially become one-dimensional as time after time, you run across computers that contain a combination code that you have to figure out. These codes always contain the same three figures, so it is never really that challenging. Furthermore, you find yourself rebuilding similar contraptions such as valves, levers, and grappling bars for you and your partner to use. These objects are also often used for the same purposes.
Speaking of the partners in this game, it is great that the handheld version of LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes allows players to join with other handheld players wherever they are to complete levels together. This allows you to enjoy playing the game with different people without having to invite them to play on your console. Wi-fi co-op capabilities would’ve helped this game tremendously though as those of us who typically played at home probably had an issue with the CPU partners in this game.
I’m glad the game is merciful when it comes to enemy spawns because no matter who your partner is in the game, they will only get in the way and do next to nothing. The good thing is that you can not only fight your enemies, but you can fight your partner as well. If they are in the way, destroy them to make things easier for you. You will have a difficult time if your partner is Superman though because he is pretty much invincible to everything that isn’t laced in Kryptonite.
The partners are bound and determined to follow you everywhere you go too, even if it isn’t safe for them/inconvenient for you. I can’t count the number of times a partner walked right into electricity and killed themselves or followed me to an area of the level that they didn’t need to be. This actually happens more often when you have seven partners to choose from because the CPU is not afraid to shift into something that can (and will) follow you where they don’t belong.
Having eight characters to choose from during Free Play is lots of fun overall though because you get to play with the skills of heroes, villains, and civilians alike. Many characters have the same skills, but others have special skills that you must use in order to unlock other characters and special goodies scattered throughout the levels. The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Lex Luthor, Poison Ivy, and her goons are especially important when it comes to unlocking everything among multiple characters with matching skills.
I have my own favorites that I enjoy using, and it would be nice for the game to allow me to pick all eight beforehand. The way Free Play works is you choose your main character, and five characters are randomly generated. You are always stuck with Batman and Robin regardless, in spite of the fact that you play as them throughout the entire game and would probably like to try someone new. Fortunately you can always change your lineup during actual gameplay just in case you run across a set of vines that can only be taken down by Poison Ivy or one of her goons.
In that respect, the levels are very explorable. Even though the handheld versions of this game do not support roaming freely around Gotham City, you will always find new places to explore the more you unlock characters that can reach those places.
The more characters you unlock, the more places you can discover to unlock even more goodies. It’s a nice cycle that they included in the game, and since some of the more generic abilities like stealth and flight belong to multiple characters, you can mix your party of eight in many different ways with the same results. Some people may find the overlapping abilities to be a drawback, but I think it’s great for people who would much prefer to play as someone else without losing certain abilities.
One ability you need to be careful with is the flying ability. I found myself stuck in some awkward situations because I explored regions of levels that I shouldn’t have and became stuck. First of all, you cannot fall into bottomless pits with fliers. They will automatically pop back up to where they were. It is also possible to fly into hazards and fall endlessly into a black abyss. The only glitches I have noticed in-game were due to fliers except for one case where I tried to use bomb characters to blow up Two-Face’s balcony. In that instance, the columns of the balcony disappeared, and I no longer had anything to blow up. These things are easy to look past to an extent. It’s just something to be careful of since I’m sure while you’re playing through Story Mode, you wouldn’t want to have to start the level over just because you got curious. Just remember that the unlockables are not that far out of reach.
In order to completely unlock the goodies you collect in each level, you have to pay for them. Some start off cheaply. For example, the goons that you run across constantly are among the cheapest characters on the shelf. It doesn’t make them terrible to have around though. In fact, the Two-Face Goon is one of my must-haves wherever I go. Other goodies, especially red bricks, can cost upwards to 20,000,000 studs. That sounds like a lot, but the more red bricks you collect, the easier it will become to buy things. The stud multipliers are godsends for quick collecting. There are x2, x4, x6, x8, and x10 multipliers that can be bought. The best part about it is that they stack!
Let’s do some math and use the number 1. 1 x 2 x 4 x 6 x 8 x 10 = 3840. We got 3840 just from 1 because the multipliers all stack! Now, I don’t know how much a stud is worth. I know silver is the cheapest, then gold, then blue…but all of them are worth more than 1. Once you have the multipliers, everything else is easy to collect. Soundbites really aren’t important to me, but if you want to hear some of the villains speak, you can collect and buy those too for next to nothing. Vehicles are not in the game. To make up for that, they included some extra characters which is fine by me! I don’t mind the lack of vehicles, but some might.
There are some free character unlockables, and those are earned through Justice Mode. In order to unlock this mode, you have to beat Story. The reason is because this mode features the entire Justice League. You can’t pick and choose who you want to use, and the only time you actually get to play as the entire Justice League in Story Mode is at the end.
Justice Mode is basically an endurance mode that also allows you to play as each of the Justice League and adjust to their individual powers. In order to unlock six hidden characters, you have to defeat each level. There is no death or time limit, so no matter what…as long as you complete each level, you will unlock a character. It took awhile for me to figure this out since the game doesn’t spell it out for you. Justice Mode is pretty fun, but the levels aren’t as replayable as the actual story levels. Once you unlock what you need there, you should be finished. With Story and Free, you can play over and over again.
Finally, let’s talk about the cutscenes. They are…interesting. I did enjoy the voice acting in this. I think it really gave the game a lot of depth, and the personalities of the characters were fun to watch. The relationship between Batman and Superman was probably the best part. Robin was annoying at times and funny at times…but he was mostly just a sidekick who got in the way and caused trouble.
One odd note about Robin is that he changed costumes mid-cutscene. There was a costume that appeared blue in the game that appeared every once in awhile. It isn’t an unlockable costume, so it was strange to see. It was like the costume of his without the tights, but it was light blue. I don’t know if it was a glitch exactly, but it was certainly an error.
Two other issues I found with the cutscenes was that they were pretty low quality on the 3DS. Some of the cutscenes supported the 3D feature, but messing around with other, highly pixelated cutscenes showed that not all of them allowed the 3D feature to be used. Those cutscenes actually appeared sloppy and grainy, but those that you could watch in 3D looked fantastic!
The other issue I had was that in some of the earlier levels, a cutaway doesn’t mean immunity from enemies. I remember dieing in the second level because the game cut away to show that enemies were approaching, and the enemies immediately started attacking me before I was able to move again. Luckily there is no death count or game over, otherwise I wouldn’t have been a very happy camper.
Overall, I do think this was a good pick for my 3DS collection since it needs to grow. There are some obvious flaws with the game, but it didn’t prevent me from having fun and exploring the levels. If my partner ever got in the way, I killed him. If the cutscenes were grainy, I bore with it. If I didn’t like my party, I changed it immediately. If I died during a cutaway, I collected the studs I lost and was thankful there were no game overs. With every problem there was a solution (except for when flying characters glitched, but those were typically funny). I would never completely knock this game for its flaws, but I would definitely like to compare this to the console version myself.
+ Free Mode
– Repetitive puzzle solving
– Heavily pixelated cutscenes
Final score: 3.75 out of 5