Until LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES came out, that is.
I have been playing this game with a greater fervor than any of the previous games combined. The biggest plus for me regarding this game is the much more open world-ness of the game. It feels like a much bigger game, and it certainly is in regards to character, story, and graphics. The main story is very much like the older and sillier team-up comic books in which the best villains combine forces to wreak havoc on their respective heroes, which is what brings together Batman, Robin and Superman vs The Joker and Lex Luthor. Of course, all of the inmates of Arkham escape as well, so you're up against many of the villains of the first game as well, such as Two-Face, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, Catwoman, etc. But this isn't just those three characters as the heroes. As you go deeper into the story gameplay, you get the most of the current lineup of the Justice League (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Cyborg)!
You still have the constant pumping of Danny Elfman's iconic score from the 1989 Batman film, but nicely, when you're in the open world scenarios, if you choose to fly with Superman, you get the even more iconic John Williams Superman theme! As far as sound design is concerned, this is the first time that you're treated to actual dialogue in a Lego game, and again, the dialogue is aimed at kids, but for an all-ages game, the dialogue fits these characters very well and particularly the newscasts during the cutscenes are very clever with the scroll at the bottom of the screen, which is something the adults will get a big kick out of. The sound effects are terrific, and you even have Clancy Brown returning to voice Lex Luthor as he did in the SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE animated series (Sadly, no Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy or Tim Daly though).
The biggest attraction for me personally was the amazing list of unlockable characters. Characters like Aquaman, Hush, Ra's al Ghul, Hawkman and many, many more are hiding around town waiting for you to build the golden door so that when you do get to the free play modes, you can pick and choose without always having to rely on the suits. Also, the DLC for this game (which includes packs of five heroes/villains a piece) is VERY inexpensive and is really there for the big comic fans.
There are some nitpicky problems that I have with the game (I wish that Green Lantern could shoot projectiles from his ring; I wish The Flash could run straight up buildings... like I stated, nitpicky), but the only problem I have with the game play is the flight mechanics are a little clumsy during the open-world segments, and that's a pretty minor problem. I know that many people who play co-op are having some problems with the in-game camera co-op play, but since I don't even have another controller, it's honestly not something I could comment on. Ideally these games are designed to play with another person so that they can join in the fun, but I'm more of a solo player anyway so it's never been a concern. Although my wife has expressed interest in playing this game with me as we did together with the first Lego Batman, so I might be looking for another controller soon!
For right now though, LEGO BATMAN 2 is one fantastically entertaining game filled with action, humor and joy and if you're a fan of the previous games, this should be a really easy buy.
Style 3D Platform
Release Date June 19, 2012
Developer Traveller's Tales
Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Controls Keyboard, Mouse
Included in Package 12-page Instruction Manual