Posted: July 3
First, let me start by saying this game came out in 2008, as that's a very important aspect.
This game is a "cartoon" image of the actual cartoon Batman: The animated series. That is to say, all the characters are based off that TV show, but their personality and the overall theme and tone don't match the TV show which is absolutly fine because if they did I don't think the characters would have translated as well. There is almost no dialog (there is a small amount of story given during the loading screens when playing as the villians), most of the story is conveyed through actions, a few sounds, etc.This game is often on sale and I would recommend getting it only when it's $5.
The game is charming, play sessions can be short (30 minutes +- a few), it's easy enough for a kid to play but there's enough there to keep an adult entertained.
Even though it has a few short commings, they are understandable and none of them are game breaking mostly mildly annoying.
So strait to the point, whats wrong with it. The graphics are simple (they are just lego pieces) so that asthetic holds actually well, but the cut scenes are pre-rendered and look awful. Also, there are a few textures that (and by few I mean in all the game I found it in two places) either were bad from the start or didn't age well.
The controls are not the greatest. B
is your all purpose action button and Y
is your all purpose character switch button. What happens is based on context which should be fine, but handles terribly. You can't do anything quickly as the game will not register what you mean to do properly.
The 3D level platforming is frustrating at times. And the vehicle combat sections are the absolute worst thing. Like above all, the vehicle sections have to be the single worst thing about this game. Thankfully, there are not many.
A good portion of the playable characters are re-skinned useless characters (all of the henchmen, police, etc., basically anything that isn't a main character). And some of the main characters are awful (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Scarecow, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Man-Bat, etc.). [spoilers]Catwoman outside of having double jump has no special functions for any puzzles, and her whip doesn't use the same mechanics as projectiles meaning you have to be spot on, not to close, not to far and aim perfect. Poison Ivy is better, her poison will arc to destructable objects. Scarecrows fear dust is a weak stun same as Riddlers mind control cane. Mr. Freeze would be good except it's effect seems spotty, and you can freeze your teammate.[/spoiler]
There are times, the game will lag up. I've noticed this happens only when near a puzzle and computer is calculating if the action your taking influences the puzzle.
Lastly, durring combat you can and will attack your second character. This makes combat more difficult then it needs to be as well as several puzzles. And when the second character is AI controlled, they don't help much in combat anywho. The only upside is when they get destroyed (and they will, often) it doesn't count against you.
Now I don't want you to think this game is bad, I just wanted to list some of the downsides.
A lot of story is convyed very well through the sets and the actions of the characters. Without saying a word you know what they're thinking. To me, that's great story telling.
While sets are partially re-used for the Hero/Villain portions it's not an exact carbon copy. It's often a different angle and different starting location meeting up somewhere. This makes all the levels far more fleshed out.
All the characters are here, and are well portrayed. Considering the game came out in 2008, you can see a lot of influence this game had on the Lego Movie. And you can play as any character. Theres even plenty of characters that aren't actually part of the game that are options. You get additional playable characters that you unlock via playing the game instead of paying for DLC!
There are plenty of secrets and puzzles that award you for exploring and thinking. All of which is needed to achieve the 100% completion (where youa are again, rewarded).
I was actually surprised I could play as the villains too. I think this is was a great move. However when you play them is kind of odd. To beat all 5 stages in a chapter (3 chapters), then you can switch to the villains. When playing as the villains you see how it started, prior to playing the hero. Basically, the sequal, is actually a prequal.
The free play mode is nice as you can just rotate through characters and the game does it quickly. Even your side kick will change if there's an obstical it can't pass (like poison) so it can. Most of the time, you don't have to babysit the AI (there are a few times, when trying to speed through you can get away from the AI and it doesn't know how to path to you.)
Local coop. (I didn't actually test it, but I'm giving it a nod as many games overlook this)
There's a lot of attention to detail (saddly, wasted). All the main characters are animated individually which brings a special personality to them. The acrobatic characters if you press back and jump will actually do a backflip. There's 3 different walk animations (creep, walk, run). Characters will press up against walls to strafe against it (however, this is never required.)
Suggested game play
In the event you pick this game up, let me give you some suggestions to save you some time and frustrations.
First off, just play the game through, start to finish. Don'y buy any upgrades, characters, etc. (Henchmen are plentiful, they are all the same and are bad). Once you've unlocked free play on all stages as well as all the main characters, that's when you want to go through and collect everything (still, don't buy upgrades). This will save you a lot of time switching characters as a good portion are bad (special attack is poor, or non-existant and\or they offer nothing to help solve puzzles).
A controller is far better then keyboard. I didn't have a second controller to test if the local coop allows for dual controller of it you have to use one player controller and the other keyboard.