The Caped Crusade cleans Gotham City of criminal activity with his trusty and slightly inexperienced partner Robin in this newest LEGO game installment. Recent LEGO game vets (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) get some definite advantages from the familiar game play and actions. This fun, action filled platformer (most gamers should know that by now), has recognizable characters, but here they grunt, hum and wince instead of talk. This status usually means a paper thin story, but developers incorporate a decent storylines and backgrounds very well within the game.
The main scheme involves villains escaping from Arkham Asylum. Joker, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Bane, Catwoman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, The Mad Hatter, Clay Face and Penguin create the predictable, ensuing chaos as Batman and Robin clean up the mess. Seem like overwhelming odds? Don’t worry. This duo gets special suits (four for the Dark Knight and four for the Boy Wonder) players can choose at special times in the story to advance through levels or solve puzzles – nice incorporation of action and story.
Each hero and villain have unique actions, which developers use towards creating the base story mode from both perspectives. Players can then replay each level in free mode once completing the story mode mission. This setup engages players in the story and parallels the increasing amount of unlockable weapons, actions, vehicles and gadgets.
Wayne Manor provides a nice base for game play choices among the hero 15 levels complimented by the 15 villain levels. Multiple players can drop in and out of game play and have a seemingly limitless amount of lives after initially having approximately 25. Grappling over objects then bashing through them covers the destruction appeal in the game as special bricks and building areas cover the creation aspects. Players can also customize characters. Characters automatically grab ledges, which keeps younger players out of trouble and less frustrated, which can slow down movements at times. Players can also use choke or throw actions to dispatch adversaries quickly. The batarang comes in handy for distance attacks.
A solid, all age title with considerable replay value including bonus content and unlockables found in free play mode. This game has some issues, but they’re minor. Younger players may occasionally get stuck in their progression; some of the environment can be too dark to see (depending on your TV settings) and there’s no real advantage getting the Wii version over another console version. Overall, this game succeeds yet again by incorporating a current franchise with LEGO mania. The Danny Elfman music score, from the first Batman film, permeates game play plus players can enjoy some amusing sound effects to make those tactical block creations all the more real and effective. With three LEGO franchises created into game, developers have several options to expand in same format…maybe a land (Halo), sea (Pirates of the Caribbean) and air (Spider-Man) combination would keep players happy?
LEGO Batman is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP and Xbox 360.