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DS

North America

LEGO Batman: The Videogame

by Jonathan Metts - October 12, 2008, 2:07 pm PDT
Total comments: 6

5

This simple 3D platformer is more about collecting than building.

With no real Batman game based on this summer's blockbuster, The Dark Knight, fans of the character only have the LEGO version to satisfy their crime-fighting needs. LEGO Batman is based more on the comics than the films, although it's hardly accurate in any case. The story includes three different capers with the sole purpose of throwing together as many of Batman's villains as possible; the result is unintelligible and pointless. Apparently some people really like the LEGO Star Wars and Indiana Jones games because they recreate so many scenes from those films (with goofy LEGO character models), but you won't get that kind of satisfaction here.

The game plays like an early 3D platformer in the style of Banjo-Kazooie or Gex, with rudimentary puzzles and lots of collecting. Almost everything you do in the game causes "studs" to spill out; they're used to unlock bonus items such as extra characters. Combat is mindless, as you can literally just pound the attack button until enemies are dead. The entire game is very forgiving, to the point that if you run out of health, you'll immediately respawn in the same location with zero penalty. With no survival pressure and no strategy whatsoever required in battle, I have to question why these elements were even included. There's no point in having a health meter or heart pick-ups if your deaths mean nothing. There's no point in having combat if it's not fun or challenging.

Luckily, the game has some redeeming quality in the puzzle-based level design. You're always controlling at least two characters (Batman and Robin, or a pair of the villains) who must work together to get past obstacles. This format should make the game work well in two-player cooperative mode, although I wasn't able to test that feature. Each character has different abilities, although many of them are heavily repeated in the bonus characters. Batman can double-jump and grapple up to ledges, while Robin can walk on tight-ropes and use acrobatic moves. There are also special suits that let Batman use explosives and Robin walk through toxic waste. Unfortunately, most of these abilities can only be used at specially-marked places. There's usually not much thinking required as you switch back and forth between characters to pull switches and push blocks. The simple puzzles may be satisfying for very young players, but I felt like I was just going through the motions.

There isn't much else to say about LEGO Batman. It's a simple, bland, but competent game for kids and no one else. Neither the LEGO nor Batman license is used very well here, but it should be a decent introduction of the Batman universe to younger players. There's a ton of content in the package (including a full set of levels in which you play as the villains), but it's pretty much the same thing over and over. Less demanding players should be kept busy for a long time, while everyone else should be able to see quickly that the game doesn't have any real depth or challenge.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 5 5 6 7 5
Graphics
6

The art style may be appealing if you like seeing familiar characters reduced to LEGO form. Cut-scenes are presented as colorful but text-free comic panels that look good, but don't tell any sort of coherent story. Gameplay itself is a bit too dark, even on a DS Lite, but the graphics hold up on technical terms.

Sound
5

There's nothing special here. The music is surprisingly subdued, but when you do hear it, it sounds a lot like the Danny Elfman scores for Tim Burton's Batman films.

Control
5

Movement control is floaty but responsive. Touch controls are infrequently used, but when they are required, they don't work very well. I usually had to try multiple times to pick up blue blocks or detonate an explosive. One more gripe: it's hard to make Robin land on a tight rope every time, as you have to line it up perfectly.

Gameplay
6

Levels are intricate patterns of switches, buttons, and character-specific ability pads. This is the best part of the game, but the puzzles quickly become transparent and tedious. Combat is a joke and has no business being included at all.

Lastability
7

There are tons of items to collect, studs to spend, and levels to burn through. If the game manages to hypnotize you enough, you might find yourself slogging through for quite a while. Co-op multiplayer is probably the best way to play, but you'll need two copies and two systems, so the console versions are probably better for that purpose.

Final
5

LEGO Batman is an inoffensive, mostly boring platformer for kids. It'll keep you occupied for hours, much like the Riddler's weird devices in Batman Forever, but it would be a stretch to call the experience fun.

Summary

Pros
  • Cheaper than a babysitter and will last more than one night
  • Dual-character design is mildly engaging
Cons
  • Bloated with collectables and worthless unlockable content
  • More a time-waster than a fun game
  • Story doesn't recreate the Batman films, TV series, or comics
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

GoldenPhoenixOctober 12, 2008

Jonny how does it compare to Lego Indiana Jones?

SchadenfreudeOctober 12, 2008

Or Lego Star Wars? I've never played any of them, but I've been interested in trying out the Star Wars games. I get the feeling once I play one Lego game, I'll never want to play another one, so I might as well play the original ones before the series just followed a cycle.

DAaaMan64October 12, 2008

From this review, and what I've played of the others, the Star Wars games are the best.

I've never played any others, sorry.

blackfootstepsOctober 12, 2008

Quote from: Schadenfreude

Or Lego Star Wars? I've never played any of them, but I've been interested in trying out the Star Wars games. I get the feeling once I play one Lego game, I'll never want to play another one, so I might as well play the original ones before the series just followed a cycle.

Hire (or borrow so you don't waste cash) a Star Wars Lego game, play it for a few hours and then you'll probably never have the desire to play it again.

LuigiHannOctober 13, 2008

Yeah, your best bet is the Lego Star Wars "Complete Saga," which includes all the levels from both Lego Star Wars games, and some bonus stuff.

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Genre Action
Developer Travellers Tales
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: LEGO Batman: The Videogame
Release Sep 22, 2008
PublisherWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
RatingEveryone 10+
aus: LEGO Batman: The Videogame
Release Oct 15, 2008
PublisherActivision
RatingParental Guidance
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