Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lego Batman Review

Again, one of the best perks, if not the best, of working at GameStop is that I get to take home games and try them out for free. With this privilege, I feel like it is my responsibility to also share my thoughts on the games with the world. So here goes.

Over the weekend, I borrowed the new Lego title, Lego Batman. If you've played the other Lego games (Indiana Jones and Star Wars) you know what to expect with these titles. I had not played them, so while I had some clue as to how playing with Legos was going to work, this was still new for me.

The game is broken down into 6 main Chapters. The first three have five parts each and you play through them as Batman and Robin. The second three are the flipped side where you play as the villains. Over the weekend I only finished the first three Chapters as Batman and Robin and then played one of the villain missions where you are the Riddler and Clayface. I imagine with the other missions you will rotate through the different villains as well, but didn't have the time to get through all of them.

Some of the main game dynamics are general fighting, item collection, collection of Lego "stubs" (which is basically the currency for the game) and destroying objects in order to open up Lego pieces that are then built into objects that allow you to advance or operate some new device. Along with just your normal operations, you can also change suits which gives you a new ability such as being able to glide or dive underwater. Each Chapter also has a mission where you use a vehicle, such as the Batmobile or the Batplane.

This game is not designed to be some epic revolution of game play. You're basically playing around with Legos, in Lego environments with a lot of smash and grab repetition. There is some humor and clever little environment combinations thrown into the mix to keep things fresh, but the bottom line is that there is just a lot of stuff to collect and it's going to take a while to do it. You'll have fun doing it for as long as you can keep interest, but inevitably the repetition will add up.

A few side features exist that reward you for your efforts. You can purchase information about the Batman franchise, you can buy access to new characters, you can do a mix and match to determine what you want your super hero to look like, you can wander around the "trophy room" to see what you've collected, and there seems to be some mini games scattered throughout like collecting money lying around Wayne Manor.

There weren't any real flaws with the game that I could think of as long as you understand what you are getting into. I ran into some confusion early on because it didn't do a very good job of explaining the controls to me as well as what options I had available in order to know what I could and could not do at the current time. Some of the stuff you have to come back to in the "Free Play" mode of the levels in order to collect (at least that's my assumption since I couldn't find any other way of doing it), so not knowing that produced some frustration in the beginning as I looked around trying to figure out what I was missing.

Overall, I played it more during the weekend than I thought I was going to because it was fun. There wasn't a lot of thought involved, and I imagine if you've got a buddy and want to play co-op, it can be a lot of fun to tag team the bosses and just go through the levels smashing stuff. The bottom line is that you're playing with Legos, so if you're cool with that, you'll enjoy the game.

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