By Santiago Melo
Since 2005’s appearance of the first LEGO Star Wars game – one of the best games in the Star Wars series – Traveller’s Tales (TT) has graced us with LEGO in every conceivable platform. Since then, players have been collecting studs, obtaining canisters, and unlocking secret characters (LEGO Star War’s Darth Maul rocked my face off) for the sheer LEGO pleasure they bring. This year saw the release of LEGO Indiana Jones: though not the best TT LEGO game, it was still better than Indiana Jones 4, with LEGO Indy cracking that whip against Nazis in brown uniforms (with none of the typical Nazi icons), and breaking them into little LEGO pieces. Now with LEGO Batman you will find a LEGO Alfred (don’t you ever forget about the Butler), LEGO Arkham Asylum, LEGO goons, and the classic TT humor that makes every one of their games so enjoyable.
This review is based on the Nintendo DS version, but you can expect the gameplay to be similar across all platforms, with the graphics and sound being the main update to the game. The storyline is fleshed out from the mythology of the Batman movies, cartoons, comics, toylines, and games. LEGO Batman has a robust cast of characters, fanboy details aplenty, and one of the best uses of an electric buzzer in video games. The number of playable characters is vast, ranging from Clayface to Catwoman (sadly or luckily, not the Halle Barry version) to Harvey Dent, with Batman and Robin using different costumes in accordance with the occasion.
The game is divided into two storylines: One where you do hero missions and get to play as Batman and Robin, and another where you play the same mission from the villains’ perspective. For example, in the first mission as Batman, you have to stop Clayface from stealing a very important key. Then you get your chance to break in and steal the key as The Riddler, Two-Face, and Clayface. Instead of saving the day, it is nice to experience the other side of Two-Face’s coin and thwart Batman.
Like previous LEGO games, freeplay time comes once you finish the main two story lines. In freeplay, you can unlock the majority of the collectibles and secrets you didn’t get while completing the storyline. All in all, don’t expect to finish this game in one or two sittings.
While LEGO Batman doesn’t really advance the established TT formula, players who have already gone through previous TT games will enjoy it, with new players quickly grasping the basic mechanics. But this lack of advancement means that camera issues leading to annoying falls haven’t been solved, texture and polygon clipping problems remain, and some repetitiveness in the mission structure persists. Still, despite its flaws, (which we can only hope will be addressed in future LEGO games) it feels like a labour of love.