Tag Archives: LEGO Batman

Everyone talks in the LEGO Batman 2 demo for the 3DS

Of all the LEGO videogames in my collection, I have to say that LEGO Batman is not my favorite. It was harder to get into due to not following a movie or comic script, as well as dealing with the fact that I’m no hardcore fan of the caped crusader and his many plights. Also, a lack of characters to play as–limited mostly to just Batman and Robin–was not made better by the inclusion of different wearable suits to solve puzzles. I played it, and I played it to completion back in August 2009, but that was the last time I touched it or thought about the black sheep in any great capacity.

Before I go any further, as a non-spoken rule when ever mentioning LEGO Batman, I feel like I must share this l’il comic I did many moons ago, which Tara was, by pure luck, talking about the other day. I think it hits the mark for all LEGO videogames, both past and those to come. Anyways, here:

Right. I mean, every LEGO videogame so far has its own brand of fun and excellent co-op moments, but if I listed them all in a High Fidelity sort of way, LEGO Batman would be at the bottom. If I remember correctly, you got to play as the villains for a bit after completing the game, but by then I was just going for 100% completion, so whatever.

Last night, while watching the Nintendo 3DS live showcase–which, mind you, neglected to give any love to Animal Crossing 3DS, a title able to sell millions and millions and millions–watchers were informed that a free demo for LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes was availabe on the Nintendo eShop. Off I went to use up my limited number of blocks.

Hey, true fact time: this is the first LEGO videogame I’ve ever played on a handheld. I know.

Right. The demo begins with a cutscene, and the first thing that jumps out is that all the characters now talk. Gone are the days when LEGO boys and girls would mumble and gesture their way through a scene. It’s a little weird at first, but the silliness is still prevalent in the tone of dialogue and antics of the characters. In short, you’ll quickly forget that they couldn’t talk soon after. There’s an award ceremony happening, and just before what’s-his-name can get some shiny trophy the Joker shows up with his motley crew to ruin the party. Bruce Wayne disappears while the Joker monologues, literally popping back into the room via the Batmobile. Then the game part starts and…it’s a LEGO videogame level. That might sound a little negative to you, quiet reader on the opposite side of this screen, but it’s mostly not. You punch stuff, you collect studs, you flip switches and construct things and switch between characters for different skills. I also had to do battle with Poison Ivy, The Riddler, and The Joker.

However, one aspect really stood out, and not in a great way. Since this is my first LEGO videogame on a handheld, I don’t know if this has been a series staple or if it’s new for LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes, but the actual earning of the esteemed SUPERHERO reward, which is given to players that collect a specific amount of studs in the level, is severely underwhelming. On the Xbox 360, it is presented with a nice-sounding boom and a flashing of the title across the screen. On the Nintendo 3DS, the words just quietly appear on the screen with zero pizzazz. All that work…slighted.

So, all in all, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes is certainly serviceable, but I think I’m going to save my blue/purple LEGO studs for LEGO Lord of the Rings, which is more than likely coming out this holiday season to ride The Hobbit‘s curtails.

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30 Days of Gaming, #29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving

I have to believe that the last time I played with LEGO blocks–actually played with them, like used them to build the most buffoonish of homes loaded with booby traps and secret rooms–was when I was still only in the single digits. Now, as a man of twenty and eight years, I play with LEGOs all the time, but digitally, with a controller in hand, using them to collect a bajillion studs, form platforms, and as a means of transportation. That’s right. From toys to videogames, the building blocks of life.

At first, when LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game came out, it was hard to think of it as anything else but a children’s game. I mean, it uses the toys of children to tell a simplified story of something much more epic, with no punishment for failing, minimalist controls, and bright, colorful characters. It plays everything safe from a visual standpoint, and at that point, no one knew what a LEGO game was. Some kind of sandbox thing where you just play around in a room with virtual LEGO blocks? A racer? Multiple choice trivia? Nowadays, everybody knows what a LEGO game is, and you’ll either love love love each one that comes out or find them uninspired and repetitious. Me, I’m addicted to their goofiness and collection-based gameplay.

I remember the very first time I played LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game quite well. I was beardless then, and in a Target, wandering around the aisles. Many of my weekend evenings were spent doing this, as at the time I had no girlfriend, no wife, no friends. A playable PlayStation 2–behind glass and locks and the occasional employee with shifty eyes–was making noise, and that noise sounded pretty dang familiar. Upon closer inspection, it was the theme to Star Wars. You know how it goes. I grabbed the controller and started playing. I was a little LEGO Jedi, and the first action I took was to use the Force to push a battle droid all the way across the screen until it exploded…into LEGO bits. Like magic, every ounce of me warmed and tingled, and it never got tiring, Force-pushing dudes. Some young kids stopped behind me to watch, ooh-ing at all the right times.

Getting to the know the LEGO games more intimately, I saw that they were just as much for adults as they were for children. In fact, many of the puzzles were overly complicated, involving planning and meticulous placements of key items. Kids might enjoy seeing characters falling down or opening a treasure chest to find a lone banana in cutscenes (those folk at Traveller’s Tales love their fruit jokes), but it’s the little nods and things unspoken that hit home for older gamers in the know. Such as LEGO Jack Sparrow’s swagger or the way LEGO Malfoy heckles Hermione or how LEGO R2-D2 floats perfectly across a chasm. And they are fun to play co-op, though maybe not at first, as the camera tech hadn’t come around until LEGO Indiana Jones 2, allowing players to split off in any direction and join back up whenever they were ready.

Since that infamous day in Target, I’ve played every single LEGO-based videogame save for these: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars and LEGO Rock Band. That’s not surprising as I’m not interested in much Star Wars lore other than episodes four through six, and plastic instruments are inferior to true instruments. Sorry, it’s true. And I’m picking up LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 on the same day I get Skyrim, and while I’m naturally more excited about traversing mountains, cooking salmon, and stealing spoons, I’m also giddy to get back to Hogwarts with my wife and cast some spells. Very curious to see if this LEGO game gets as dark as the final books/movies, though I’m mostly confident that TT will have handled the material a whole lot better than the film franchise.

Living the LEGO life of a pirate

The demo for LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game begins with a young Elizabeth Swan punching a parrot in its face. It’s pure zaniness, but that’s what these LEGO games have always been about–retellings with a special touch. If you’re not laughing, you’re not having fun.

I started to play this demo by myself, but when Tara saw what I was doing, she quickly grabbed another controller and joined in on the fun. We’ve always enjoyed playing the LEGO games together, especially LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4, which was very close to us in terms of interests. Here’s a comic I did many moons ago about our time with LEGO Batman (the weakest of all the LEGO titles actually):

Much of the demo for LEGO Pirates (I’m shortening the title from now on) is actually cutscenes, setting the story up and giving Tara and I many reasons to giggle. The entire game will cover all four movies. We’re playing the first level of the Curse of the Black Pearl, which has Jack Sparrow arriving in town and getting locked up, Elizabeth accidentally summoning those cursed pirates and getting herself kidnapped, and Will Turner slowly becoming allies with a wanted criminal.

The first playable part of the demo is inside Will Turner’s workshop. One player controls Will, and the other controls, um, some guy I can’t remember the name of. His partner? Together, we broke items, collected studs, fed a carrot to a donkey, and repaired a machine, which revealed where Jack Sparrow was hiding. Then it was time for a sword-fight high up in the rafters, and even though I was just mashing the attack button, the swords clinked and clanked and swung wildly, giving the impression of a real duel to the death.

The next area has us controlling Will and Jack, trying to break our way out of jail. This involves using a dog and sniffing out keys. Once we’re done this area, we’re outside in the shiny, bright sunshine, attempting to get to the docks to steal a ship. Tara takes control of Jack and the laughs hit a high when he hops on top of a barrel and begins rolling around with it. We get to do some combat with some soldiers, and then we’re over by a ship, trying to figure out how to commandeer it. Staying in the water too long gets you eaten by a shark. After solving the rather simple puzzles and zip-lining over onto the ship, the demo ends, leaving us wanting more.

However, after playing the main part of the demo, you can go back and do “free play” on the first level, which just gave us an excuse to try out some other fun characters and explore a few locked areas. Tara ran me over several times with a donkey, and then we were officially done for the night.

So, the gameplay is exactly what we’ve all come to expect. For some, that might seem like a downer. However, it’s still the sort of gameplay I like, as it is not too intense for co-op play, and just enough of a collectathon for my OCD. Granted, there are not as many memorable characters to unlock in LEGO Pirates as there were in LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Harry Potter, but I think it’ll still be a blast to control Bootstrap Bill.

The full retail version releases tomorrow, and I’m gonna get that booty faster than you can say, “Oh, barnacles!”

REVIEW: LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues

Developer/Publisher: Lucas Arts Entertainment\Traveller’s Tales
Platform(s): Xbox 360 [reviewed], Playstation 3, Nintendo Ds, Nintendo Wii
Genre(s): Action adventure
Mode(s): Single player/two player co-op
Rating: E
Time clocked: About 10 to 15 hours

Having never seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I was pleased to not find it included in LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. The previous game instead focused on the true film trilogy, giving each movie a solid set of levels to play through and explore. It followed the same formula that won many fans over in the LEGO Star Wars games, and though it had some problems and didn’t tackle every key scene possible, it was a fun game all in all, with plenty to see and do despite no one being able to Force push droids.

And here we are now a year later with LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, a sequel that is both surprising and a great step forward for the LEGO game franchise. But not all is shiny LEGO blocks.

Click below to continue on with the review!

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Videogames can be fun and frustrating, you know

frustration

Two videogames have been driving me absolutely bonkers lately. One won’t just let me complete it (three achievements to go!); the other won’t even let me move forward.

LEGO Batman. Sure, I “beat” it months ago, but every now and then I pop back into it to grab some missed items and trying and unlock everything. And I’ve gotten just about everything…that is, but three collectibles. Now, one of them is painstakingly annoying to obtain. Trust me, I tried three times in a row last night. In one of the Penguin’s villain levels, you have to guide your characters down an icy slope, going through five specific flags to unlock the hidden canister. Sounds simple enough, yes? The problem is that if you miss even one flag you are then dropped into the level’s final boss battle room and cannot return to try again. Meaning you must replay the level again and again and…again. I’ve had zero luck so far. Insert heavy sigh.

And then we come to Eternal Sonata, a bizarre RPG that isn’t really my favorite thing in the world, but I liked it enough to get to the middle of Chapter Three. It has my gang running around a pirate ship of…evil pirates. I don’t know. The storyline is a bit murky to my memory at the moment. Anyways, my dudes are about all LV 19s, and we hit the ship’s main boss: Captain Dolce. To put it simply: she slaughtered us. An online walkthrough suggested that our party be all LV 22s at least before tackling Dolce. That means, if I want to move forward, I have to now waste a good couple of hours just wandering the ship’s floors, fighting generic minion after minion after minion.

I know this blog is called Grinding Down, but grinding is not something I yearn to do. Time is precious, and this sort of roadblock only wants me to put the game back on the shelf and move on to something a little more forgiving.

Being a hero, always

legobatman3

Well, I’m one step closer to getting my second full 1,000 gamerscore, which is most definitely going to be from LEGO Batman. Last night, I punched and kicked my way through three more levels to find the remaining helpless idiots and save them from…well, save them from being eternally held by goons and clown-faced mercenaries. Upon sending a flaming batarang up one of said goon’s butts, I unlocked this:

vigilante
Vigilante
(25G): Rescue 25 civilians.

Which has me currently sitting at 37/46 achievements. Now, let’s just be clear…the LEGO games are by and far not terribly challenging or hard. Glitchy, sure. Badly designed at times, you got it. In fact, the achievements they offer up are anything but challenging–what they are, however, is time-consuming. Most of the ones I have remaining involve achieving 4,000,000,000 in studs (yes, that’s the correct number of zeros), buying everything in the game, finding all the mini-kits, and generally completing LEGO Batman to 100%. I’ll get there, block by block (LEGO, that is), but man will it take me some time…