|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Aside from the new suit system and character abilities, the overall level design suffers from the same problem as past LEGO games: every room is littered with LEGO pieces and the only way to get from one room to the next is to destroy as much stuff as possible, assemble some LEGO object, and then flip a series of switches. It's fun at first (as bashing stuff often is), but it gets old incredibly fast.
There's also the problem of partner A.I. In past LEGO games you're A.I. buddy might do silly things like jump into a bottomless pit. Thankfully, that kind of scenario no longer happens, but it's been replaced by level glitches. When playing for review, two were encountered. One involved Batman getting across a toxin pond via an air boat, but then Robin refused to get on-board. Another took place on a Riddler and Poison Ivy villain level. A lift took off with only one of the characters. The obvious solution would be to get off the lift, letting it fall back to the bottom of the screen, collect the other character, and then ride it to the next section of the level. The lift refused to lower. Both these level glitches forced a level restart - a compromise that could have been avoided by betting bug testing.
LEGO games have never been graphical showcases, and the trend continues here. Sure, the characters are cute and the environments have a look that accurately reflects their universe, but nothing really stands out. It doesn't help that there's a problem with screen tearing. It happens often and can get distracting. The options menu includes a V-Sync control that you can flip on to eliminate the problem, but then the framerate drastically drops. All is not lost in the audiovisual department - the game's score is fantastic. Don't worry, it's not the Prince-themed soundtrack that for some reason sold millions of copies. Fans of the 1989 film with recognize it as Danny Elfman's fitting score, and it does a tremendous job.
Even though LEGO Batman does a few new things to set it apart from past entries in the LEGO series, it feels like Traveller's Tales is giving us more of the same. It's an acceptable solution given the demographic of the game, but those waiting in the wings, waiting for that one LEGO game that will convert them to the whole LEGO gaming brand, are still best served sitting this series out.
CCC Freelance Writer