It’s no real secret as to why the Lego games appeal to a wide generation of gamers. While the younger set enjoys the run and jump style platforming and easy accessible gameplay, the shall we say, more seasoned of us will appreciate the nostalgic heart, and subtle nods to some of the most famous movies of all time. While, Lego Batman, the newest title to be released in the Lego series does retain the familiarity of the the Star Wars and Indiana Jones titles, it’s fails to deliver much more.‚
The heart of the previous Lego games comes from the fact that the story-lines are ripped directly from the films. Half the fun comes from watching developer Traveller’s Tales comically recreate some of the most memorable scenes from movie history in block form. Though the cut-scenes are completely void of any sort of dailauge or captions, they’re done so creatively that the emotions portrayed by the Lego characters are enough. Rather than base the story of Lego Batman on the films, the title features an all new story based more on comics. Though it’s a novel idea, it does cause the game to lose some of it’s heart, becoming just another run of the mill platformer. Sure, you’ll crack a smile at some of the antics, but that charm that made the earlier games great is notably gone.
There have always been two sides to the Batman mythos. Theres’ the family friendly, Saturday morning cartoon like Caped Crusader that kids love, and then there’s the dark, vengeful Batman as seen in this Summer’s blockbuster; The Dark Knight. Though technically the same character, the two worlds couldn’t be more different. Unfortunately, Lego Batman suffers from a bit of an identity crisis as it attempts to create a Batman world with influences from both ends of the spectrum. While the villains, supporting cast (especially Robin — who’s role is nothing more than blundering comic foil) and story feel like they could be from a lost episode of the campy Adam West television show, the protagonist is a complete contrast. Lego Batman’s main character is a stone faced, brooding hero — who is a complete and utter bore to play. While Batman’s rouges gallery has always featured some of the most interesting characters to ever grace the funny books, it’s a problem when it feels like a chore to play as a game’s title character. Though, it is a nice touch that the developers didn’t take the easy way out bu only including the well-known Bat-villains; as names like Hush and The Mad Hatter are not only represented, they’re playable.
Gameplay wise, Lego Batman is solid — ‚ even if it’s all been done before. Though the game follows the same run, jump and collect formula as those before it; it’s still quite fun — especially for the younger crowd. For those new to the series, you control two characters from the Bat-world, as they traverse a Lego themed Gotham city. Some of the levels are incredibly puzzle heavy, which can be good, but also can be downright annoying as some of the puzzles border on annoyingly frustrating. Often times you’ll spend hours trying to solve one, and end up banging your head on the wall once you find out how easy the solution was.‚
There’s no doubt that Lego Batman will sell like crazy, it’s the kind of game that kids will flock to and those in the market for a quick, light-weight platformer will find much to like about Lego Batman, but anyone looking for something more will want to stick with previous installments.