Busting out my new PS3 with its bundled games to ring in the new year, I had certain expectations. I expected that Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 would be dull compared to the books, that Little Big Planet Karting would make a fantastic new coaster and that Lego Batman 2 would be everything I hate about Batman: the Brave and the Bold, with easy controls and utter mindlessness.
And while I haven’t dived into the other games deeply enough to give an honest review, Lego Batman 2 kicked my butt.
Let’s start with the metaphorical part of the butt kicking: the story and voice acting. Yes. Voice acting. In a Lego game.
While being unfamiliar with Lego games on a basic level, even I was aware that there is no dialog, no script. Apparently Lego Batman 2 decided to throw caution to the wind and it worked.
What’s that? A kid-friendly version of our hero just doesn’t work with his current image?
I agree. Which is why I rolled on the floor in hysterics as the game made BLATANT REFERENCES to Batman: Arkham City.
The script takes many references from various incarnations of Batman: from Tim Burton’s Penguin to Joel Schumacher’s Riddler – cringe-worthy, yes. Best of all is the Joker they used. He’s based heavily on Mark Hamil’s rendition of the Joker: dark, twisted, funny and obnoxious, his voice actor enjoys playing with every syllable he got to record.
Oh, and who are these voice actors? Only all the anime voice acting regulars we love like Troy Baker, Steve Blum, Laura Bailey, and Bridget Hoffman. Oh. And Clancy Brown. Yes, THE Clancy Brown – voice of Lex Luthor in everything from Superman: The Animated Series to Justice League. This game has the most professional cast I’ve seen outside of a high-end RPG.
Now back to the butt-kicking in a much more literal sense: the action. This game focuses heavily on investigative work, which means my friend Caenis and I spent a good hour standing around, staring into the void as we tried to solve one freaking puzzle.
I will admit that I am a crappy gamer. There is no way around it. Heavy Rain gives me panic attacks because – ack! Choices! Quick-time events! ANXIETY!
I take twice as long to complete RPGs as the average player. I stare at the wrong screen during Mario Kart and I always lose my character during Super Smash Bros.
So it’s no surprise that the puzzles took me an infuriatingly long amount of time to get through. What shocked me was that my friend Caenis, a legitimately excellent gamer, was having just as much trouble as me.
In the end, we had to look up steps on GameFAQs just to proceed and keep our sanity. Our pride suffered, but the excellent and exciting gameplay kept us going even after checking the FAQ for EIGHT DIFFERENT PUZZLES.
Yes, so, this game handed my butt to me. To top it off, Caenis kept “accidentally” attacking me, prompting me to shout, “YOU’RE THE WORST ROBIN EVER. I SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AFTER JASON TODD!”