Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back to Back Batman Christmas Special Part 1: Lego Batman the Video Game for the PS3 Review




Happy Holidays everyone, and welcome to my first Christmas special on my blog. I decided to do something different than doing a Christmas-themed game, since, well, it would probably suck and wouldn’t be worth my time. Instead, I decided to do a back-to-back review of two games of one of my favorite super heroes, Batman. The first game in the review will be Lego Batman the Video Game. Let’s start then shall we?

When I was a young boy, I was mostly interested in Legos. I still have a huge box inside my closet filled with Legos and I still have very fond memories of getting the big Lego sets for Christmas. I was surprised that they decided to make Lego games that are based off of licenses, like Star Wars and Indiana Jones. While I played and beat one of the Lego games, I’m not as big of a fan of Star Wars, and decided to skip the first Indiana Jones game. I then decided to return to the Lego franchise, and rent Lego Batman since I am a fan of Batman.

Instead of following the story of a movie, the people who made this game decided to do three original stories in one game, which is a high point for me, since I don’t feel like playing through Batman Forever. The first story has the Riddler, and a group of villains including Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Two face, and Clay Face who are going to steal the gold from the Gotham City Gold Reserves. The second story has the Penguin as the main antagonist, with his crew of villains consisting of Bane, Killer Croc, Man Bat, and Cat Woman who is going to hold Gotham City Hostage with evil mind-controlled penguins. The third and final story has the main villain, the Joker, with his crew including, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Killer Moth, and Mad Hatter, who are going to destroy the cathedral and spread the deadly laughing gas throughout the city. Of course, it is up to Batman to take care of all the villains with the help of his sidekick Robin. Like I said, it’s pretty good that they didn’t go along with the Tim Burton Batman or the current Batman films seen today, since it would have just been redundant, like in Lego Star Wars or Lego Indiana Jones. Lego Batman was made by Traveller Tales, which is known for making the Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, but is also known for games like Haven: Call of the King, a bunch of movie licensed games, and other Lego games.

The game play is of a plat-forming beat ‘em up, where you control Batman and Robin, and go through the three stories, fighting all the bad guys and saving the day. During the levels, Batman and Robin can equip suits to help out with puzzles like gliding, walking up iron walls, breaking glass walls, and many more. The beat ‘em up parts are kind of like the old Batman shows like the one Adam West was in. Of course, with any Lego game, you need to break stuff to make a pile of Lego pieces appear to build things to solve puzzles with. You can also use the batarang to knock people out and break objects open. A cool thing is that after you beat all three chapters with Batman and Robin, you can play through as the bad guys who all have different abilities. For example, Riddler can use mind control, Two Face can use guns, Man Bat can glide, and Bane is super strong. It adds to a total of 30 missions, which is pretty big for a game like this. There is also free play mode where you can play as different characters and get to areas you couldn’t using the two characters you’re stuck with. There also vehicle levels where you can ride unlocked vehicles, and drive in the Bat mobile and Bat jet to name a few.

Graphically I think the game looks good. It won’t stun anyone, like games like Uncharted 2 would, but it’s Lego. What kind of graphics are you looking for? The music is also very well done with tunes sounding like they’re from the 90’s Batman cartoon or the Tim Burton film. The humor is very funny, and there are some parts where you can’t help but laugh at times. This game is also aimed towards kids since it’s a pretty easy game that won’t take much time to beat and it doesn’t really bring anything too challenging to the table for hardcore gamers, but for a game with the Lego licenses’ it doesn’t really need to be ridiculously hard like Demon’s Soul.

Now it’s time to talk about the bad parts. To me, the game can get a little boring, since it seems like you do the same thing in this game as you do with the other Lego games. All I’m saying is that the game mechanics they have been using for their past games seem to be getting old, and they don’t fix the issues with the game engine either. It’s kind of annoying because of that. The levels, while interesting, seem to get a little repetitive during the game since it seems like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, but that’s only with the first part of the game where you play as Batman and Robin. The pacing can be good at times, but it can be halted a lot due to annoyingly re-spawned enemies that stop you from solving a puzzle or getting further in the game. This game is fun alone, but it’s more of a two-player game like Goof Troop, Left 4 Dead, and Little Big Planet. If you do play this alone, it gets tedious when you need to be a specific character and have a specific suit, and then never play as him again through the level. The outfits are also a big issue due to the fact that you need to keep finding pads with Batman or Robin’s symbol on them to use them for one puzzle. It kind of makes you want a menu of the items you collect so you don’t need to wear that one outfit you solved one puzzle with. The game engine is also a huge fault since they make plat forming very awkward. The camera sticks in one area, platforms are slippery and I tend to fall off them, and it just doesn’t look as good as it did the first time it came out to the public.

Even with its flaws and the Lego game formula on its last breath, this is the best out of the bunch, due to its variety of characters, puzzles, and charm. I would say if you have kids, they would love this game, but for the hardcore Batman fans, I would say check it out before you buy it.

This game gets an 8.3 out of 10.

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