LEGO Batman

The past LEGO games have always been simplistic fun, though a few puzzles here and there can be rather frustrating. The LEGO games have also always relied on previous movies to provide the set pieces and story.

LEGO Batman marks the first time a completely original story is being developed in conjunction with the tried and true LEGO formula. Whether you want to fight crime as Batman or do evil as the Joker, LEGO Batman looks to impress fans of all ages.

LEGO Batman is equal parts crime fighting and crime committing. Half of the game you’ll play as the heroes, including such names as Batman and Robin. The villain side is a little more rotund, however, featuring everyone from The Riddler to the Joker.

I wasn’t able to ascertain much of the story while getting some hands-on time with the game at E3 today, but needless to say the villains are trying to do evil and the good guys are trying to stop them.

The story does progress with the same trademark humor that has existed in the previous games, featuring such situations as characters tumbling down a flight of stairs while running from the Joker.

LEGO Batman’s world is a mixture of Tim Burton and Joel Schumaker’s film visions. On one hand, the game is rather dark, but it features enough cartoony spunk and bright neon to make a player remember the days when the Batman suit once had nipples.

During Batman’s segment in the game, I found myself jumping from rooftop to rooftop, chasing after Catwoman, and doing away with any mugger that crossed my path. The Joker’s portion was a bit more playful in terms of environment, as it featured a whacked out carnival complete with switches galore and even a giant Ferris wheel.

Leaning more towards the recent Indiana Jones game, LEGO Batman seems to focus a great deal on puzzles involving cooperation. During the Joker’s level, I found myself needing to split my costumed duo up, letting Harley work the upper level of a stage and the Joker the bottom portion.

As Harley came across a variety of switches, by stepping on each one she was able to let the Joker move along down the line to catch up with her, who was then able to return the favor by using machines and platforms to let Harley move through.

It can be difficult to know when to switch back and forth when playing alone, but like previous LEGO games, LEGO Batman will have the option to allow two players to play the game together whenever they want. Sadly, much like the past games, there will be no online play options, relegating all cooperative play to local only.

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