Alrighty, my first review after my spree of mini reviews. I'm still toying with the idea of a new review format, but in the meantime, I'm going with what works for now, but I will be adding
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Release Date: June 19, 2012
System Reviewed: Xbox 360
What's Great: A necessary change to the stagnant LEGO formula, LEGO Batman 2 shows that there is still life left in the idea of mashing LEGOes with [insert favorite intellectual property here]. I was highly skeptical of the first Batman game, but it proved to be fun, as you didn't have to keep up with established plot points from other franchises; you just grabbed a character and let it happen. The open world, similar to Hogwarts in the LEGO Harry Potter games, is a big improvement, as rather a cross section of places like Hogwarts, you have full control of the camera and can view just about everything.
What's (Not So) Great: I'm not completely sold on voice acting in the LEGO games. While the actors did a great job with their respective characters, I feel the miming from all previous games worked very well, and it was a great way to see how they attempted to convey their own speech to others, using props and whatnot throughout it. Despite being subtitled "DC Super Heroes", you don't get to play as Superman until about the 4th mission, and the rest of the Justice League doesn't kick until the second to last mission.
Bottom Line: The game does hold promise for the future of the franchise, especially with LEGO Lord of the Rings when that comes out, but I do fear that, if they don't attempt to bring in new elements to help make each successive game feel fresh, these games will just be re-skins of their predecessors. It's still a fun game, being able to play as the rest of the Justice League - even if it is at the end of the game - is rewarding, and the open world gives you plenty to do in-between missions, as well as after the game, something LEGO games put into each release.