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Lego Batman


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Found a review (360 version) on Gamespot. I was quite looking forward to this, but not too sure now....

The Good:

Great cooperative play Tons of characters from the Batman universe It's fun to play as villains Lots of unlockables.

The Bad

Friendly AI is atrocious Game lacks humor Vehicle sections are a pain Too many baffling puzzles Co-op is offline only.

After Traveller's Tales released the well-paced, delightfully funny Lego Indiana Jones earlier this year, it seemed like it had finally gotten a handle on how to shrink iconic action heroes into the diminutive Lego universe. With a cast of diabolical, memorable characters and more gadgets than you can shake a batarang at, Lego Batman was poised to be the best entry yet for the family-friendly, block-building franchise. Unfortunately, it's a huge step back in the series. The perpetually bewildered AI and repetitive combat that have haunted the Lego games since the beginning are on full, frustrating display again, along with a smattering of baffling puzzles and agonizing vehicle sections that will make you feel like you've been punched in the gut by Bane. When the stud-collecting, puzzle-solving gameplay is able to rise above the problems, Lego Batman is an eminently enjoyable cooperative romp. It just won't make you want to do the Batdance.

Storytelling has always been one of the series’ strengths. Parodying famous scenes with silent Lego characters has provided consistent laughs, serving as a worthwhile reward for overcoming a particularly cheap puzzle or boss fight. Lego Batman doesn't offer up any such reward. The story does elicit a few smirks, but the jokes more often than not fall completely flat. Robin serves as the expected punch line whenever he's onscreen, repeatedly displaying his cowardice in the face of danger, but the joke quickly gets beaten into the ground. The reason for the lackluster laughs is that the story doesn't have anything specific to parody. The plot is based on the comic book characters, and though it does have some nods towards the movies, it doesn't make fun of any well-known scenes, so the humor relies on predictable slapstick instead of spoofing moments ingrained in popular culture.

The lone cinematic bright spot is being able to see the story develop from both sides of the morality coin. As Batman and Robin, you successfully thwart Gotham's angriest individuals as they attempt to steal riches, unleash a flock of gun-toting penguins, or put a permanent smile on the populace's face with laughing gas. And while seeing good overcome evil certainly has its place, it's even more fun playing through as the bad guys; although it's odd that while most of the Batman levels end in a boss fight against a well-known rapscallion, the villain levels will never pit you against the Caped Crusader. It would have been satisfying to freeze him into a block of ice or give him a joy-buzzer handshake, but you're left fighting hordes of nameless police officers instead.

The gameplay stays true to the rest of the series. Lego Batman is primarily a puzzle-solving game with light platforming and combat elements. Though you're given some fancy throw moves and a batarang to dispatch your foes with, the combat gets repetitive in a hurry. Some sections are overloaded with respawning foes, making it a chore to dispatch waves of enemies while trying to figure out how to pass a tricky puzzle. At least you can change into different suits, which keeps things relatively fresh. These outfits grant you different abilities, such as being able to glide as Batman or control robots as Robin. Not all of these skills are fun to use. For instance, Robin is given a vacuum cleaner to suck up stray blocks, and Batman acquires a special gun that shatters glass but can't hurt enemies. Lego Batman does have one huge advantage over its predecessors, though. You'll no longer be stuck controlling a droid or some guy who isn't Indiana Jones. Batman and Robin are both fun to play as, which makes cooperative play satisfying no matter who you are.

And if you think controlling Robin is cool, just wait until you can inhabit the body of The Riddler or Mr. Freeze. Controlling the villains is the best part of Lego Batman, so it's good that half of the game is devoted to these miscreants. The villain levels are far less predictable than Batman's because of the sheer variety of characters you can control. Every level lets you control a new charlatan, so you'll be able to lash out with your whip as Catwoman in one level and then unleash tiny penguin bombs as the felonious fowl in the next. Though the villains' tale mirrors Batman's story, the levels are different. You'll go through some of the same sections, but you'll predominantly move through new locations, making this adventure twice as long as previous Lego games.

Though cooperative play makes the experience more enjoyable, Lego Batman is virtually unplayable at times if you opt to go through it alone. The friendly AI is horrific. As in previous games, your AI companion cannot dispose of enemies. This means you'll have to fight off all the enemies and solve all the puzzles by yourself while your AI pal stands around doing nothing. Worse is the AI's complete disregard for puzzles that require two people to solve. For instance, a few puzzles require one person to stand on a platform while another flips a switch. In a few cases, the AI pal will stupidly follow you wherever you walk, which makes it impossible to complete the puzzle without plugging in a second controller and maneuvering both characters yourself. There is one vehicular boss fight where one player has to tow the enemy while the other peppers him with missiles. The battle is nearly impossible to win because the friendly AI refuses to help.

Despite the lack of humor and sometimes obstinate puzzles, Lego Batman can be really fun. The game has a ton of unlockables, from new characters to fancy costumes, which makes it well worth replaying. It's just a shame the problems that have plagued this series since the beginning have yet to be addressed. There is no excuse for distressingly thick-headed AI in such a simple game. If you can rope a friend into playing with you, though, the game is a blast. You'll just have to provide the cheesy Mr. Freeze puns yourself.

Score: 6.5/10

By Tom Mc Shea, GameSpotPosted Sep 27, 2008 2:17 am GMT

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Sounds to me a lot like Lego Indiana Jones. Which was also shit.

I played it for a little while the other day, and I found it refreshingly less shit than Indiana Jones. The main reasons I didn't like LIJ were:

- Few recognisable characters (compared with LSW) so not as much scope for comedy. And not as much comedy.

- FAR too many unforgiving areas of landscape that can easily be fallen into by accident, losing chunks of money in the process.

LBM has far more of the former, and although there are still areas to fall into and die, they are much more clearly delineated.

It's also pretty fun, in my limited experience, but not as laugh-out-loud-funny as LSW was.

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I've been playing the PSP version and having just as much fun with it as I did with Indiana Jones. It's not reinventing the wheel and it's not going to change your mind if you don't lke the Lego games, but I'm loving it so far.

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so it's business as usual then.

a little disappointing but since i loved the LSW games and enjoyed Indy, i'll be picking this up on launch.

sadly i did just literally waste the whole first two days of a week off work 100%-ing LSW2....in prep for this one to come out. Lego Indy and LSW1 were 100%'d ages ago.....

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Perish the thought! Was working over there for a month and a bit. Arrived safely back in blighty today. First thing I did was have a cup of tea and some beans on toast.

They don't have tea, beans or bread in the US? ;)

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They don't have tea, beans or bread in the US? ;)

Proper baked beans are hard to find, unless you go to a supermarket with an "English" section (consists of Weetabix, HP Sauce, Heinz Beans, PG Tips and Crunchies). Ranch beans just aren't the same.

My wife is American and baked beans are about the favourite thing that she's discovered since moving over here.

Also, the DS version of Lego Batman is ace, apart from the framerate in the vehicle sections.

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Baked beans seem pretty hard to find outside the UK.

The girlfriend had 'beans on toast' in Vietnam and it was some unknown green bean mashed and spread on some untoasted bread. Not very nice!

;)

Beans on toast discussion is sweeping the forum. I clicked on here read this post then thought "what thread is this?"

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Eurogamer liked it - 8/10

With its smaller scale and samey levels, LEGO Indiana Jones felt like a step sideways, and even backwards, for the series. LEGO Batman addresses all those concerns and is even better than LEGO Star Wars in many respects.

I'm looking forward to this. My 7 year old niece and I have played the other two to death, and although I doubt it beats Lego Star Wars, I can see the characters in this game being a lot of fun to play.

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360 Pre order from game came through the post today.

Have to say im very impressed so far after 2 levels, graphically very nice, and always something different to do, thanks to the different pick ups and power ups. Certainly worth £30 of anyones money.

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