This final submission in Batmonth has some deep nostalgia for me because it mixes together three of the things I clearly remember enjoying the most as a kid. The first would obviously be Batman and the second would be video games. The third thing this week’s game mixes up is Legos. Yeah, I enjoyed the little bricks as a kid and a few years back (mostly with Lego Star Wars) they’ve made a big uprising in video games. So let’s take a look at Lego Batman the Video Game for the Nintendo Wii.
I personally enjoyed the story in this game, but I think it’s more the way it’s told then what it tells. The basic plot is pretty much the same as last weeks; a bunch of villains escape, they cause crimes and it’s up to Batman and Robin to stop them. This time though, they didn’t cheap out on the villains with a total 15 baddies divided up in teams with leaders Riddler, Joker and Penguin. All three have their own plans and every character shines with a bit of their own personality. Here’s the thing though: no one can talk in Lego land. I should probably consider this a good thing when you think about how Batman sounds in recent adaptations. (Clip from Joker Interrogation scene spoof) (chuckle, I still love that video). Instead, the game relies on extreme body language to tell the tale, which is AWESOME since they are Lego! It’s exaggerated to a comical point and I think it’s something you have to see. However, when you have limited facial expression and have to show directly what you’re thinking with actions, it makes it so there’s absolutely no depth to the characters. But, this is Lego Batman the Video Game, you really shouldn’t be expecting all that much depth anyways. What has to happen happens and the message that needs to get across gets across, all while still being entertaining. What more could you ask for?
Now, I haven’t really played any other Lego game developed by Travellers Tales (I’ve maybe played all of 5 minutes of Lego Star Wars) but, from what I’ve seen, the game play isn’t too different from game to game, almost becoming its own sub category. Mostly, it’s the regular adventure platforming type game where you beat enemies and solve a variety of puzzles with game play mechanics. However, there is one main game play element I think is pretty unique: destruction and building. Since your world is made of Lego, you can destroy objects and rebuild them into the device you need. By the way, just gotta mention this sound: (bricks rattle). Get used to it, because EVERYTHING you destroy makes this noise! Play this game too much and you’ll eventually hear it all the time. And you will be destroying a lot of stuff, not only to figure what you need to build, but also cause you get the form of money in this game by breaking random crap (the idea of a millionaire, dressed a protector, going around smashing windows for more money is disturbing to me). There’s a lot to collect and buy, so yeah, you’ll be trying to break everything.
However, the game play tries to mix it up sometimes. First off, in every “episode” there’s at least one vehicle level. I have to say, I don’t like these: they aren’t the “refreshing change” they were going for like the shooting levels in The Death and Return of Superman. I find they mostly feel like the same thing, but with a big character that has a hard time moving around. I’ve seen a lot of critics say they like these, so maybe it just me, but I just found it to be a sudden road block in the game play. One other “mode” (for want of a better term) that I do like is the ability to play the villains side of the story. This is not only because playing as the bad is normally always more fun, but because you keep changing characters in villain story mode. This means, you have to keep adapting to different abilities ever level. As Batman and Robin, you’re given different costumes throughout a level, but it’s just not the same thing as such a permanent and drastic change.
This game was fun and definitely lived up to the expectations my nostalgia put in place for me. Though it has a few flaws; it can become mindless quickly, it’s easy to go in circles if you don’t know what to do and it’s too easy making it impossible to get game over (almost the exact opposite problem the other two Batman games had). But all of this is pretty easy to ignore due to how much fun simply playing as Batman characters in Lego form can be. The game’s look is really cool, the music is awesome, actually using Danny Elfman’s amazing scores, and the game play is overall enjoyable. And out of all the Batman games I’ve reviewed this month, this one is probably the most loyal to its source content. The only people I can see not enjoying this game are those adults who refuse to have any type of inner child. I give Lego Batman the Video Game for the Nintendo Wii 8.5 Levels out of 10.Hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s August theme of Bat-month.