Travellers Tales has had a pretty good run of LEGO-licensed video games over the years, converting "Star Wars," "Harry Potter" and "Indiana Jones" into popular action franchises that all ages can enjoy. The company really hit pay dirt in 2008, however, when it released "LEGO Batman." Not only did the game successfully convert the popular DC Comics hero and his cavalcade of villains to LEGO video game form, it actually gave you both sides of the coin, letting you play either as Batman and Robin or their villainous rogues gallery.
Not content to stop there, Travellers Tales will be going even further with the game's sequel, "LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes." First revealed late last year, the game once again returns players to Batman and Robin's Gotham City, this time introducing other characters from the DC Universe to the mix. Superman is a notable addition, a character that's been in dire need of a decent video game appearance for quite a few years. Over the course of the block-riffic game's storyline, the Man of Steel works with the Dark Knight in an attempt to stop the Joker and Lex Luthor, whose latest dastardly plan is forcing Gotham City to fall into chaos.
Warner Bros. Games recently invited CBR to get a look at the game in action, with Travellers Tales' Jonathan Smith on hand, walking us through the game's various additions. And even though "LEGO Batman 2" is still a work in progress, what we saw was definitely impressive.
The demo begins as the Joker and his henchmen stomp their way through a Man of the Year ceremony recognizing billionaire Bruce Wayne thanks to his generous contributions to Gotham City. Harley Quinn is on hand, doing back flips like crazy on stage while Batman and Robin do some damage to the mime-themed thugs in the audience.
As with previous LEGO efforts, you can destroy items in the environment to your advantage. Punching tables, chairs, fire hydrants and other props causes them to explode, revealing either collectible coins (which can later be used to purchase in-game characters or goods) or LEGO blocks. In typical fJEGO ashion, your character uses these blocks to build an object that can help them through the stage, such as a platform or a crank.
The opening demo stage also shows that Travellers Tales is sticking to the same humorous combat that worked in the original "LEGO Batman." The violence is never over the top, even when Batman literally knocks the head off of one of Joker's thugs, leaving him wandering around aimlessly until he finally collapses.
After fighting in the main hall, a trap door opens, leading to another area where a pair of mini-boss fights await with both the Riddler and Two-Face. Both battles require unique tactics when it comes to taking the bad guys down, figuring out the pattern and then hitting them at just the right time to take a chunk off their health bar.
This stage also introduced the new level structure Travellers Tales is bringing to "LEGO Batman 2." No longer are stages simply small, interconnected rooms; this time, gamers will experience large, exploration-worthy areas where you can use your grappling hook to reach new heights or seek out secret collectibles. The developer has been perfecting this method of design over its past few games, starting with "LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars" and continuing with last year's "LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean" and "LEGO Harry Potter 5-7."