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LEGO Batman - updated impressions

Of course, it wouldn't be Batman if you were dependent on fancy new suits to do everything. Batman and Robin at their most basic are still a pretty formidable duo, and in addition to punching the plastic heads off legions of 1960s-style goons, they can aim and toss destructive Batarangs with a bat-shaped reticule. Said reticule can be moved around the screen freely when you're in aim mode, and it's capable of "painting" up to 10 targets, all of which will then get a face full of Batarang when you let it fly.

Less violently, Batman and Robin can use ziplines to quickly raise or lower themselves to different platforms (or just kind of dangle and toss the Batarang), and they're capable of shimmying across any flimsy-looking clothesline you find hanging around. They'll also be able to build and drive vehicles; in one sequence we saw, Batman rapidly built a disassembled helicopter, climbed in and started flying around, while Robin latched onto its undercarriage with his zipline and went for a ride.

LEGO Batman follows three consecutive storylines, each focusing on a different major villain and all of which fold into a larger narrative about a mass breakout from Arkham Asylum. But what's especially interesting is that, as you play through the game's 18 levels as Batman, you'll gradually unlock 18 more levels that let you play as the bad guys. Don't expect to beat down Bats, though - these levels focus on the "planning" stages of the crimes, meaning you're setting up the capers that you foiled earlier as Batman.

In each of these, you'll play as whatever major criminal the current story is focused on, accompanied by a different second banana depending on the level. The one we saw focused on the Joker and his abused girlfriend/sidekick, Harley Quinn, as they shot and bashed their way through a colorful circus full of cops. Harley packs a pistol and can use her blocky wiles to charm her way past any security guards that might be keeping doors closed, while Joker carries twin Uzis and can fry do-gooders with a joy buzzer that briefly turns them into actual LEGO skeletons.

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