DC's Finest Collide
Like the massively popular original LEGO Batman, which has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, this sequel has a new story created from scratch. Playing as Batman, Robin, Superman and a host of other classic DC characters, players are tasked with foiling evil plans hatched by Lex Luthor and the Joker, who have teamed up to destroy Gotham. For the first time in the series, developer Traveller's Tales has also opted to give the characters voices in order to flesh out the tale.
Not including the Rock Band version, this is the eleventh licensed LEGO game in seven years, and while they've all been pretty great, LEGO Batman 2's Gotham City could set the title apart from its predecessors. It's a giant, sprawling open world which players are free to explore as they like using a variety of vehicles including the Batmobile, the Batwing and the Batboat. And each DC character has their own bag of tricks; Superman is able to fly to wherever he wants, for example, while Flash has the legs to make fast cross-town sprints.
There are plenty of things to do in Gotham, from rescuing citizens in peril by launching batarangs at enemies' plastic faces to solving a variety of puzzles, and the game can be enjoyed solo or with friends thanks to easy drop-in, drop-out co-operative play. All the while you'll be collecting Studs, the currency in all the LEGO games. Found either in the open or after breaking things, they're used to purchase the likes of hints and other playable characters. A new combo system makes it easier to rack up studs if you're able to dish out blows without being struck yourself.
Riddle Me This
The puzzles in LEGO games have felt a little formulaic for some time now, so we're hoping to see Travellers Tales push the boat out a bit when it comes to level design and original ideas. We're expecting a mixture of simple but fun and think out-of-the-box puzzles, which will require players to use neat combinations of characters' powers and special suits to complete them. Superman's super-breath can freeze streams of water to make platforms to climb on, for example, while he can also melt chunks of ice with his heat vision.
Each of the game's suits has at least two abilities. Batman's electricity suit enables him to dish out pain with electric charges, and also acts as a portable battery pack that can be used to power all manner of things. Robin has a hazard suit that lets him immerse himself in any type of liquid, including acid. As well as enabling underwater adventuring, the suit can collect and spray the liquids you come into contact with, so you might use water to fry computers or carve through metal using acid. Elsewhere, the sensor suit's powers include X-ray vision for seeing through walls and invisibility.
Suits You Sir
One simple puzzle we saw involved using the sensor suit to see inside three boxes, two of which contained traps and the third one The Riddler, while another based in Arkham Asylum saw Batman and Robin attempting to slip past Killer Croc. In traditional humorous LEGO game style, the solution was to distract the evil crocodile by roasting up a tasty chicken using an oven powered by the electricity suit.
With a new, voiced story for the first time, an open world that's ripe for exploration, plus new ways to take out bad guys and solve puzzles, LEGO Batman 2 will hopefully represent an evolution for the franchise rather than simply retreading old ground, and it looks set to offer plenty of fun and surprises for players of all ages.