LEGO Batman: The Videogame Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

LEGO and Batman is much like LEGO and Star Wars, a coming together of two giants in a marketing dream. As Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have resurrected DC’s popular character for cinematic audiences and, with the Dark Knight being such a massive success, LEGO or not, there’s no better time to release a game based on Gotham City’s brooding hero.

Make no mistake about it, LEGO Batman is still very much a kids game, and shares the same charming humour of Traveller’s Tales previous LEGO releases. If you are wanting a Batman game with the same atmosphere as the resurrected film series, then perhaps due to all its silliness and the fact that the very un-intimidating pint sized cast, of heroes and villains, are made out of plastic, LEGO Batman probably isn‘t for you, but lets face it, it was never supposed to be.

LEGO Batman doesn’t only share the humour of the two LEGO Star Wars releases (the games were also later combined to form “The Complete Saga”), but like LEGO Indiana Jones earlier this year, it also shares much of the play elements, which will perhaps make some people groan. Indeed, it’s still all about cooperative puzzles, collecting various items, and smashing up enemies and surrounding objects into LEGO pieces. In truth, little has really changed which is actually both a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s a good thing because the aging format is still great fun, and those who like hunting for items, or just like draining as much life out of their games as they possibly can, could find themselves playing for hours, in not only the main game, but also the free play, which is unlocked after each level and allows you to play as different characters, making use of their different skills.

It’s a bad thing because Traveller’s Tales are seemingly reluctant to fix things that have long frustrated people. The camera is still very unhelpfully positioned during many of the jumping sections (if you‘ve never seen a superhero plummet down a hole, then be prepared to see it here), the driving levels are little fun and often confusing, also if you’re playing on your own the partner AI will constantly frustrate, and there’s an overall feeling that the game has just been re-skinned, with nothing extraordinarily different about it in comparison to the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones games, those of the LEGO variety, of course.

It may be cut from the same cloth as the above mentioned, although it’s not a complete clone, some new ideas do make it feel a little less like Luke Skywalker or Indiana Jones are simply wearing a Batman or Robin costume. Speaking of costumes, Batman and Robin have their own individual suits that can be switched between at certain points, with certain suits being ideal for specific situations. Perhaps you need to clear a gap that is beyond Batman or Robin’s usual abilities, then simply by finding the correct costume changer for Batman and donning the glide suit, you can then cross that gap with a heroic glide. Perhaps you need to make something explode in a very unapologetic manner, then zip up Batman’s demolition suit, or you may need to walk up a metal wall with a pair of magnetic boots, then swap suits with the Boy Wonder and you’re sorted. The duo have four costumes each and changing between them throughout the game will give you a hand in much of the puzzle solving.

It’s not all about the dynamic duo though, as whilst they do have 15 levels to heroically smash and clean up, the featured villains (complete with their own powers) own half of the game, with another 15 story levels for you to work through as those who oppose anything heroic. This is rather impressive as using these characters was always a given, although they could have simply been exclusively available for use in the free play, instead, in terms of level number, the addition of 15 extra levels makes this the longest standalone Traveller’s Tales LEGO game yet.

Visually it looks as plastic as you’d expect and the animations are wonderfully cute, although as far as sound goes, Danny Elfman’s Batman theme is way overused, and why the villains couldn’t have had their own music is beyond me, it just seemed a little odd to be hearing the Batman tune when I was creating chaos with The Riddler.

There’s a fear that Traveller’s Tales are going to really damage the reputation of their own series if they don’t fix the mistakes that they made at the very start and also give us something a little different. All the latter is the potential future though, as for the now, LEGO Batman is huge amounts of cooperative fun, and Traveller’s Tales still make some of the best kids game out there.