LEGO Batman • Page 2

Bruce almighty.  

Returning after an enforced absence in LEGO Indiana Jones, there are over twenty vehicles to unlock, many specific to different characters. As well as a full complement of Batplanes, boats, choppers, subs, tanks and motorbikes, you can also take the helm of outlandish villainous transports. And those are just the ones you can collect. LEGO Batman goes all out as far as one-off modes of in-game transport are concerned. Discovering them is part of the fun, so I won't list them all, but the chance to ride robot crocodiles, giant Venus Flytraps and even dinosaur skeletons comes as a real treat.

With its dual structure, LEGO Batman already offers at least twice as much gameplay as the rather slight LEGO Indy. It's still not quite as generous as Star Wars, with its additional gold brick currency for unlocking extra material, but as well as the traditional minikits and red "power bricks" there are also 25 civilian hostages scattered through the game, as well as hero and villain "superkits" which are awarded one piece at a time for filling the stud counter in each level. You also get two bonus stages, set in Wayne Manor and Arkham Asylum. When you consider that I'd only achieved 53 per cent completion after finishing the hero storyline and polishing off two thirds of the villain plot, you can see that this is a game with plenty to discover.

And discovery is what the LEGO games are all about. The gameplay hasn't really changed, which isn't a surprise and really isn't worth complaining about. The core elements are comfortably familiar - scurrying into corners to find minikits, smashing everything you can find to horde studs - but there are enough new features layered on top to make it feel reasonably fresh. Most notably, the different villains each offer their own particular powers. Mr Freeze's gun can solidify liquids into platforms and encase enemies in blocks of ice. The Riddler and Mad Hatter can control other LEGO people, and operate them like puppets. Penguin releases exploding robot penguin drones. Even a big stupid lug like Bane brings something fun to the proceedings, with his super strength allowing him to hurl enemies miles into the air.

3
Clayface is the absolute comic superstar of the game. Every cutscene with him is a classic.

As with the previous games, wherever you look there's something funny or new to catch your eye. It's just a shame that persistent grumbles haven't been addressed. There is noticeable v-sync tearing on both PS3 and 360 versions, although it's nowhere near as bad as it's been in the past. Some leaps are made awkward thanks to quirky perspective, and the game will still occasionally respawn you in a position that leads to instant death over and over. The AI of your sidekick still needs work as well, as you'll sometimes have to backtrack and find them standing around, doing nothing.

While adult gamers will scowl with justifiable irritation at these glitches, they still don't seem to bother the game's true audience. As always, I playtested the game thoroughly with help from my six-year-old son and his school friends and they were as smitten as they were with LEGO Star Wars (which is still in heavy rotation, I might add). Traveller's Tales has the knack of knowing just how to build their games so that young players are drawn in, bit by bit, until they're tackling puzzles that they never would have solved before. It's undeniably educational, but in a fun way that favours lateral thinking and basic logic skills over anything too didactic.

With its smaller scale and samey levels, LEGO Indiana Jones felt like a step sideways, and even backwards, for the series. LEGO Batman addresses all those concerns and is even better than LEGO Star Wars in many respects. Grown-ups will find it cute enough for a single playthrough, but kids will be wearing the disc out for weeks to come. Another hugely entertaining, carefully constructed gem of kiddy gaming.

8 /10

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About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

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Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.

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