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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developed By: Traveller's Tales
Genre: Action
Players: 1-2
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Noel Del Pilar

It all started with LEGO Star Wars, an idea that sounded more fun for the little kids. Yet, it turns out to become one of the better star wars games out there. Because of its success, they released a sequel for it and later they decided to give the LEGO style to the Indiana Jones series. Now, Travellerís Tales after three successful adaptations, is going to use this time the batman series to create a new LEGO style game. But has Travellerís Tales created another masterpiece or is it all the same stuff disguised with batman costumes? Read on and find out!

The story in LEGO Batman is pretty simple, all the villains have escaped from jail and they are now running loose all over Gotham, and is up to Batman to stop them all one by one and bring them back to jail. Surprisingly enough, this is not an official story of batman, instead itís one created specifically for this game. The LEGO series has never been one that truly dedicates to present you a story; however the idea of having just about every Batman villain appear in the game is a nice touch. The comedy cut-scenes remain here with goofy villains and a way too crazy Robin; still these are so far the best cut-scenes in a LEGO series.

The basic gameplay of the LEGO series remains here, going through each stage beating up enemies, destroying stuff, collecting studs (Lego pieces) and unlocking bonus material. This time around, the story mode is divided in three acts for Batman & Robin and once you finish them, you can play these three acts again but with the villains. Also, the combat system feels more smooth and fast paced then before, by kicking, grabbing or punching the enemies. Like previous LEGO titles, it features vehicle stages in which you use the bat mobile, the bat jet and the bat ship. These vehicle stages for the most part, play very well and give the game some variety.

LEGO Batman utilizes one of the new features implemented in Lego Star Wars II, where each character has a unique ability. Yet, with Batman and Robin you must find special equipment on each stage which is the special ability, to proceed in a certain part of the stage. For example, if there is a steel wall that you canít climb, you can use special magnet equipment for Robin that will make him stick to the steel wall. In other situations, if the platform is way too far, you must find Batmanís gliding equipment to glide to the next platform. With the villainís story, each villain has a unique ability so they do not need special equipment to proceed in a stage. And there are also abilities for both Batman and Robin such as climbing tall places using cables, walking through cables and the best one of all is hitting things that are too far away with a boomerang, by first targeting and then releasing the boomerang.

Unfortunately, some of the issues we found on LEGO Star Wars remain here such as your partner character having a bad AI. You can be going through the level easily but then all of a sudden there is a part where you need your partner, and you have to go back and find him because he got stuck on the way. Not to mention the enemies will focus in attacking you, instead of you and your partner, plus your partner even if he attacks the enemies, they wonít die when he hits them. Of course, if there is a second player playing the game, all of this changes. Yet, the camera when you have two players can be very limiting, requiring you to have both players be together all the time.

The boss fights, which occurr on just about every level, can be a mix-bag experience. The great thing about beating bosses is that each one is defeated in different forms. The bad thing is that when punching a boss is a mess of who attacks first, you or the boss. If the boss started attacking you first, he is going to keep attacking you unless you move away from him by jumping or changing to the second character. There is also a frustrating boss fight with Mr. Freeze; that no matter how much you try to avoid his freezer beam, it will freeze you and take out all your lives which reduces the Lego pieces you collected.

The character selection in the story for heroes is limited to Batman and Robin but you can unlock other such as Night Wing and Batgirl in the Free Play Mode. In the Free Play mode you play the same stages but with any character. In the villains there is a huge cast of characters including the Joker, Catwoman, The Penguin, Two-Face and many more. And since they decided to include almost every villain from batman, they decided to include a description of them in every stage in the heroes story mode, so if you donít know the villain, well here is your chance to know him.

Luckily, LEGO Batman does a better job graphically then previous Lego installments. The character designs is smooth and they move correctly and blocky LEGO like they should. The stage design is great, while not everything is made out of blocks, it would be asking too much. The framerate works pretty well except in some explosions where it gets a bit stuck, but it rarely happens. In the end, There is not a great level of detail visually involved in LEGO Batman to talk about, but we can say it has improve in certain aspects such as the lighting.

The music from LEGO Batman is the one used in old Batman movies instead of the one from Batman Begins, still it works. It mainly works because the personalities of the characters fit more to the original Batman movies, not the new remake series. There is not much voice since there is no dialogue, however there is some sounds when a character reacts to something that can be a bit dumb but again it fits with the style of LEGO and it was done like this in the other LEGO games. One funny thing you may notice that even though there is no voice acting, the Joker laughs quite a lot in this game compared to how little he did in the dark knight movie. The sound effects also go well with the original movies mixed with the comic style of Lego. Everything in terms of sound blends in very well between the Lego cartoonish style and the original Batman movies.

The game features up to 2 players of multiplayer co-op in both the Story Mode and Free Mode. Yet, there is also a ton of collectibles for you to do that will make you play the game for a month or even more, depending how much time you spent playing videogames. For example, you must collect a lot of studs (LEGO pieces) in order to fill completely a studs meter, you must also find some special white canisters that are in total 10 of them hidden secretly on each stage and you can unlock new characters and vehicles by buying them at the batcave using the studs you collected. There is probably quite a lot more of bonuses and things to unlock instead of more adventure in story mode, something pretty normal on previous LEGO games.

Overall, LEGO Batman does a great job adapting the Batman series into Lego but with a new story and a more polish LEGO experience then the previous ones. It is definitely the best LEGO game right now because of the quality, not because of the franchise it uses. Still, itís time to change the formula a bit because itís becoming more and more of the same, plus the AI and camera issues remain here and quite a bit more annoying then before. If you are a big fan of Batman and like the concept of LEGO, then you should check it out. If you already played previous LEGO installments and you were looking for a big change here, then you are not going to find it.


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