LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES successfully mixes the Batman universe with that of other Marvel DC characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern etc. As before, you have to play through a number of levels in Story Mode before using any character you've unlocked and bought to redo the levels in Free Play to find and collect all ten Minikits hidden in each level, reach Super Hero status by collecting enough studs and rescue the Citizens In Peril (one is hidden in each level, while there are more in the Gotham City hub).
Batman and Robin sometimes stumble across suit dispensers that allow them to enter a special suit that gives them certain powers that they would not otherwise have, and Traveller's Tales have designed this game in such a way that even in Free Play there are times when you will still have to revert to these two, so they won't be redundant just because you've unlocked what you believe to be more powerful characters!
There are some new things to the Lego games universe, and the first noticeable one is that the characters actually speak for the first time. No longer do they just grunt, laugh and make noises, they now exhibit dialogue. I would have preferred it if there were a mixture of more lines when you enter a Batcomputer terminal, though -- hearing Alfred repeatedly saying "What can I do for you, sir?" did grate on me after a while. Perhaps some similar variations would have helped alleviate this problem, and the game could then pick one from several instead of repeating the same one over and over again?
Some of the characters, such as Superman and Wonder Woman, can actually fly! In the levels this is quite straightforward, but in the hub it is a little bit fiddly but not too bad when you get used to it.
You sometimes reach checkpoints in a level, so you can actually go back to that level during a later gaming session and resume from that point instead of having to completely finish a level before you can save what you have done.
I really want to give the game a higher mark, but as it stands there are some frustrating programming glitches that mean that I cannot. I'm not just talking about the problem of some iffy camera angles and some occasionally bad hit detection (something that has appeared in previous Lego games), but some more problematic ones.
Some other reviewers have spotted one that also affected me; there is one particular cut-scene where, twice out of the four times I have seen it, it froze and I had to reset the console and redo part of the level. Luckily the second time in each case it bypassed this bit and I was able to proceed, but this is still worth noting.
However, I have come across some other glitches that, at the time of writing, other reviews have yet to comment on, some of which make some levels impossible to complete. I had a problem where I had to use a character's heat vision to destroy a golden Lego item, and what is supposed to happen is that the item gradually heats to a bright red before exploding, but there was one occasion where something just wouldn't heat up to that level, meaning that I had to quit the level and do it again.
I have had a problem in one section of a level where the game would not let me change characters by holding Y and selecting one manually; it would do the transitional animation but this would be about four times as long as normal and you'd simply revert back to the character you were trying to change FROM. Using the triggers or bumpers still worked in this section, but if you need a specific character's ability and this character was not one of the ones automatically selected for you then this section would not allow you to get the Minikit hidden within it!
There is another galling glitch that has so far affected two levels on Free Play for me. I have successfully managed to collect all ten Minikits in these levels, but for some reason the end-of-level summary for one of them suddenly decided that I had only collected six while the one for the other level said I had only collected eight! No, I didn't, you stupid &%£*%^£ game, I collected ALL TEN on BOTH OCCASIONS! This means that you will not be able to unlock those particular vehicles for use in the hub, and some vehicles can only be unlocked by collecting all ten Minikits hidden within a level! Also, because you only get certain gold bricks by getting all ten Minikits within a level, this means that you cannot collect all 250 to enable you to build one of the hidden archways in the hub!
Another problem is that, when you collect a Red Brick or Gold Brick, you (and your second player, if you have one) are frozen to the spot while it reports the collection of this item, but the problem is that the rest of the action does not freeze and, unless you happen to be a character like Superman or Wonder Woman (who are virtually indestructible and cannot be killed by simply being hit multiple times), you will be killed by any enemies who attack you while you are frozen to the spot and unable to move for about ten seconds. Was this really necessary, Traveller's Tales? Does the player's action really need to stop like this? This doesn't happen when you collect a minikit or a Citizen In Peril within a level, so why have it happen here? It's just annoying seeing enemies gang up on your character during this and be powerless to defend yourself until the game allows you to resume control.
I'm sorry to have to do this to a Lego game, but Traveller's Tales simply should not have released it in its current state. Until there is a patch to relieve the game of these glitches I will be unable to give it a higher mark, and anyone who has no intention of connecting their XBox 360 to XBox Live for even a Silver membership (the membership that doesn't cost anything but still allows you to get DLC and updates and patches for games) will NEVER be able to complete the game. In fact, for the latter, if Traveller's Tales do manage to do an XBox Live-borne patch for LEGO BATMAN 2, they would also be advised to make the patched version the version readily available in the shops while allowing people with the existing glitchy version a chance to exchange their disc for one containing the patched version.
Disappointing news indeed.