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November 3, 2008
Lego Batman: The Videogame - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
15/10/2008WB GamesWB GamesTraveller's Tales1-2None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Batman and Robin in Lego Batman.
Two of the best games on the Playstation 3 to day are Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones. After successful outings on the PS2 bringing the titles to the increasingly popular PS3 was a no brainer. In recent months Traveller's Tales has been purchased by Warner Brothers, but this game, Lego Batman was well into development before that took place. With the massive success of The Dark Knight in cinemas this year, and the cancellation of the tie-in video game from Electronic Arts a lot of Batman fans have been keenly anticipating this title.

Lego Batman brings the one-and-only Caped Crusader to life in a completely original storyline. Players will take control of the Dynamic Duo, Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Robin, as well as bonus hero Nightwing to fight Gotham City’s most notorious criminals including The Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Two Face, Bane, Clayface, Poison Ivy and many more. The criminals have broken out of Arkham Asylum and are set to wreak havoc on the city.

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Watch out for the Joker's laughing gas!
Lego Batman plays very much like previous games in the Lego series. That being, a third person action adventure game with elements of action and puzzle solving. This title includes 15 missions in total, but these seem to be a bit longer then those in previous games, and most impressively when you've played the game as the heroes you can then replay them from the villain's perspective. The game is played with two characters at once, and it's possible to switch between them at any time during the level. In fact, it is critical to do this in order to solve many of the puzzles. Admittedly many of these puzzles are mere finding and hitting the switch, or having one character progress further to open up new pathways for the other, but they are entertaining.

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Taking on numerous thugs!
As with the Batman universe there are plenty of weapons on offer, as well as plenty of gadgets. Batman and Robin (and all the other characters) can use their fists to take out enemies but also use guns, Batarangs, and numerous other devices. Never has a game in the Lego universe had so much variety in this area.

There are numerous suits for Batman and Robin to be unlocked during gameplay. These include the normal suit but also Batman's Demolition, Sonic and Glide suits and Robin's Gravity, Magnetic and Dive suits. It's possible to change suits at select points in the levels, and this will be crucial to solving some of the puzzles, and progressing through the levels.

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Remember to collect the Lego studs.
The game includes plenty of vehicles to tear around including the rocket-powered Batmobile, sleek Batboat and stealthy Batwing. Each of the vehicles has weapons attached to attack enemies in dedicated levels designed to emphasise vehicle use. As with the character movement though everything feels a little floaty and as if you're always driving around on an ice rink. Traveller's Tales really should have tightened up this gameplay a little more.

The game has a pretty high replay value too. As well as playing each mission from the enemies perspective after completing it as the good guys, there is plenty of incentive to go back with new powers and suits unlocked in later levels to find and reach new hidden areas. It's also possible to enter each level in the Free Play mode which allows you to use any characters you've unlocked - also assisting in reaching new areas and unlocking new rewards and content.

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The Riddler makes an appearance.
Certainly the biggest disappointment with this game - as it was with Lego Indiana Jones is the lack of an online 2-player co-op mode. The game is perfectly suited to it and the decision to omit this is made even harder to understand with the knowledge that it was included in Lego Star Wars when that hit shelves around a year ago now!

Another major disappointment is to do with the actual storyline. While previous games in the Lego franchise have been based upon well established and loved movie based storylines the story here is unique and new. Without voiceovers, and only murmurs, from characters with the briefest of text based introductions many of the storyline points may be missed. Perhaps, for the very first time, Traveller's Tales could have used voiceovers for the cut scenes. This would have also helped to freshen up the series with a new experience. Other disappointments - the characters still feel like they are running on ice with unrealistic momentum, and stopping, abilities. It was also disappointing to see that the PS3 version does not include any Trophy support despite the 360 game including Achievements.

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Catwoman looks sexy, even in Lego form!
Graphically Lego Batman is probably the most polished in the entire game series from Traveller's Tales. Characters all look wonderful, and the backgrounds are filled with objects, good texturing and interesting locations. Animations are second to none, and as with all games in the series, it's the smaller nuances that really sell the humour in the game. A small wink, a hand gesture or great timing with a friend or foe entering the scene. This is particularly true of the superb cut scenes which, while not telling the story as well as we hoped, are always entertaining.

One of the major criticisms we have of previous games in the series is the amount of screen tearing. While it is still present in Lego Batman the amount of screen tearing certainly seems reduced on previous titles to the point of not being a distraction any more - at least certainly less frequently. If it still bugs you Traveller's Tales have included an option to turn V-Lock on or off and while it drops the frame rate it does eliminate the screen tearing.

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Lego Batman is bright and colourful.
By far the most exciting aspect of this movie is that the developers secured the rights to use Danny Elfman's music score from the 1989 Batman movie. The music is littered throughout the game and it really draws you into the Batman universe in much the same way that John Williams' Star Wars theme draws you into that one. Effects are primarily provided through the smashing of Lego blocks, and the odd gunshot or groan from punches.

As with the other Lego games, and as we've mentioned earlier, there is no speech in Lego Batman. The characters provide their emotions through their actions and unintelligible murmurs and noises.

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Lego Batman goes for the big kick!
While Lego Batman: The Videogame is the best in the series it is disappointing that Traveller's Tales haven't really pushed this game into any new territory. Sure different weapons, characters, locations, costumes and stories, but nothing radically different gameplay wise. Still, if you like Batman then you'll likely enjoy this game... Worth a purchase especially with the lower launch price of only $AU89.95 or, if you're still a little unsure, a rental at the very least.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSProbably the best looking Lego title on the market.
SOUNDLucasArts know how to hit the right notes, nice music and effects.
GAMEPLAYThis really could have done with better story telling, and less 'floaty' character movement.
VALUEThe longest Lego game with two sides to the missions, no online co-op hurts logevity, but it is releasing for $AU89.95 - bargain.
OVERALLLego Batman: The Video Game is another great title in the Lego series. It looks and sounds great, but adds little new to the formula.

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