LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Traveller’s Tales have built a successful formula with their LEGO games. Take key sections from a major film, build the sets out of LEGO, add humorous cutscenes and some puzzle-based gameplay and you have a hit. This then is the second Indiana Jones game, revisiting the first three films with all-new levels and recreating the action of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The game opens with the warehouse, and a single crate that can be opened – the first of three “chapters” from Crystal Skull. The player as Indy arrives at Marshall College and must board a train, once he can raise the barrier in front of it. This introduces one of the key new skills – aiming (available for thrown objects, Indy’s whip and guns) by holding down the X button. A quirky little touch carried over from the first game is the phobias – Indy, for example, is afraid of snakes and won’t go near them.

The levels representing the original trilogy of films are all new for this game. Each section also has a vehicle level, predominantly in the form of destroying a set number of enemy vehicles. Control is generally better than the awkward vehicles in LEGO Batman, but there are still problems with getting stuck on scenery or finding routes. However, for those not familiar with the films themselves the plot will come across as rather disjointed. The Crystal Skull levels, making up half the game, are much closer to the source material.

The hub levels are huge, and have a lot of extra features. Hidden coloured bricks unlock bonus perks that can be bought with Studs – faster building, or comedy moustaches. Bonus levels are the key to collecting all the hidden golden treasures, but will often require a particular combination of characters to complete them. Luckily extra characters can be added to the roster by finding them in the hub, beating a wave of them and then buying them. Each hub also has a series of vehicle checkpoints; driving over the start line in the appropriate vehicles (which have to be repaired or earned) will start the race. Collecting all ten golden treasures in a hub will then give you access to the Super Bonus Level, a timed challenge to collect a million Studs. The drawback is that often what you have to do next in a hub is not clearly signposted, leading to time spent aimlessly wandering around collecting Studs or trying to find a level to enter. But on the plus side, the way the hub levels “open up” as more characters are found and story events happen is clever.

A major addition for this game is the Creator section, unlocked soon after you start. This has four separate sections – Quick Play allowing you to play (and then edit) any section of the game already completed, Character Creator (to build your own heroes by mixing parts and changing colours), a Level Creator (to make your own levels) and the “Make An Adventure” option. This allows you to mix together your own levels and sections from the full game to create a unique Lego Indy adventure, with a special treasure to collect at the end.

Building a level is very straightforward, linking switches to objects and placing Studs. Land can be raised or lowered, and a large variety of objects and vehicles put into a level. The level can then be validated to check it will work before saving, or tested quickly. More themes and objects are unlocked as you complete sections of the main game. However, there is disappointment in not being able to share your created levels with other players via Xbox Live – a major oversight.

The graphics are good throughout, the cutscenes working well and touches like fire looking great. Sound effects and background music do the job too. As ever with the LEGO titles, the characterisation is superb – from Sean Connery’s beard to the slapstick antics of the female characters. There are good and bad things to say about the gameplay. It does become repetitive, running through similar looking levels and bashing vehicles together. The boss fights at the end of each chapter are also tricky and sometimes unclear about what you have to do to progress. As mentioned before, the hub levels are at times too large. Achievements do add an incentive to continue playing and experimenting, from completing the creation tutorials to finishing all of the bonus levels in each hub. Co-operative play (on the host machine only – there is no on-line co-op) is what the LEGO games do well, with two players constantly onscreen to help each other. However, younger players may find it frustrating at times and need the help of an older person to get them past certain sections.

Overall this is an improvement in some ways on the earlier games but does have its flaws. If you are familiar with the LEGO style of gameplay then you will get a lot out of it. Fans of the films will also enjoy the experience.