Mailman Chris here. It seems it’s always the way that as soon as you get busy and there’s a demand on your time, all the fun things you wanna do happen. Such is the case of all the great video games being released right now. The newest addition to the pile…LEGO Batman
I’ve written the reviews already for LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones so if you’re expecting major gameplay changes, you may wanna look elsewhere. But for fans of those games, this is another stellar addition to the stable.The premise of the game itself is unchanged. Many playable LEGO Minifigs from the Batman universe running around doing fun and sometimes challenging things. Rather than base it on any of the movies, they used new ideas culled from over 70 years of 4 color goodness. They start you off playing as the Dynamic Duo (with Tim Drake as Robin if you were wondering) and as you go along you can earn the right to play as Nightwing, Batgirl or even Alfred…
Where the game shines is the inclusion of a ton of villains including all your favorites along with lesser known baddies (outside of the comics at least) such as Hush, Killer Croc, Mad Hatter and Man-Bat. Once you play through a level on story mode, it’s unlocked to play using any of your unlocked characters. Every character has defined traits, so you use them all at different times to get through certain areas. An example of this is that Mr. Freeze, Joker, Two-Face and Poison Ivy are all immune to toxic waste so when there’s a spill, you go to one of them to walk through the obstacle.
When starting a level on free play you pick the character you want, but the system will automatically pick a handful of additional characters to give you what you’ll need to get through that level. Then you can just switch with the push of a button.
And what good is Batman if he doesn’t have gadgets, right? This game has ‘em. The Bat and the Boy have a choice of 4 different suits you can earn to allow them to do different things like walk magnetically on walls, glide through the air, handle extreme heat or break windows using a sonic gun. Also accessible in the game are vehicles for land, air and sea such as The Bat-Mobile, The Batwing, The Bat-Boat and even The Bat-Tank(?) All of the main villains each have their own vehicles for fun as well.Here’s where the game differs from the previous LEGO works of art. You play as Batman, working out of the Batcave on 3 missions, each dived into 5 sub-levels. But, deep within the Batcave is a big flat screen tv that is “monitoring” Arkham Asylum. After you have beaten a level playing as Batman, you can pull a lever and it whisks you away to the other side of the tv where you now get to be the bad guys in Arkham. Chaos ensues within as apparently the guards are all on break or something as you have the chance to play through a retelling of the same level you just played as Batman, but now told through the eyes of the villains. Team up as Clayface and the Riddler, or maybe The Joker and Harley Quinn to try and defeat the evil Batman. With all different objectives it’s a new way of looking at the genre and it is
The strength of the LEGO games has been their family orientation and infinite replay ability. This is no different. Because there are no difficulty levels to choose, any member of your household can pick up the controller and start blasting away. Nearly everything is breakable and if you die, you just restart right there with an infinite number of lives.
Some of the challenges used to obtain hidden objects (to get you to the goal of 100%) can be a little tricky to find and or get, but they are not necessary to play and complete the game, nor do they detract from the fun of the adventure either. There’s no spoken language in the game so everything is dependent on hilarious physical sight gags which usually come at the expense of the Boy Wonder or one of the bumbling minions of evil. It’s a great game for anyone and I would give it a must play. The co-op play has improved over Star Wars and Indy as now the screen will pull away to accommodate a larger area rather than completely bond you to your partner with a 5 foot invisible leash (causing my kids to constantly yell “No, go this way, I can’t move until you do”). It continues to have online play so you can play though these fun levels with some little kid on XBox Live who already knows infinitely more than you ever will about the game.
These games seem to hold their resale value for awhile, so don’t expect a used copy to go cheap for at least a year. On a side note, like other family games in the genre, it sells for $50, which is about $10 less than most other new games.Tune in next time for reviews of Guitar Hero World Tour (releasing 10/22) and a downloadable-only, brand new Mega Man 9.
Same Geek-Place, Same Geek-Channel.