LEGO Batman Unleashed

Is the chicken soup fresh?


LEGO Batman: The Video Game was on the store shelves yesterday, available for a variety of game systems including the Wii.  Since we have a Wii, that is the version that interests me.

And, as with the past LEGO titles from Traveler’s Tales, I am considering buying it.

However, I am just not as enthusiastic about it in advance as I was for LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga or LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures.

As spot on as Batman is for the LEGO video game franchise, what with the utility belt and the absolute legitimacy of the character punching people in the face repeatedly (How many times did Luke Skywalker ever punch anybody in the movies?  I think Princess Leia hit more people.), I’m not quite there yet for this title.

Part of this is probably a bit of burn-out on Traveler’s Tales’ LEGO game franchise.  Their chicken soup is not so fresh any more.

While I am sure it will be fun, as with Warhammer Online for the MMO veterans, I am sure there will also be a lot of “sameness” about it.

I haven’t played LEGO Batman, nor have I read much about it, but I can bet that in any given level you will fight all sorts of bad guys, solve some puzzles, and collect a lot of LEGO studs to unlock characters and abilities that you will then be able to use in the “free play” version of the level.

To finish the game, to get that magic 100% display, you will have to go back through each of the levels in “free play” mode, as some of the special hidden items (canisters in LEGO Star Wars, treasure chests in LEGO Indiana Jones) will only be accessible with via abilities that you won’t have in the “story mode” version of the game.

Am I close?

I could be wrong, but my guess is that they have hit their stride and won’t deviate much from past success.  Again, not that it won’t be fun, but it is no longer a “rush out and get it today” level of fun.

Then there is the price.

$50 is something I have to think about.  I just wrote a check for a new roof on the house and it isn’t like the current headlines in the paper are all about prosperity and economic growth.

Well, that and, after playing LEGO Indiana Jones, I am skeptical about there being $50 of value in the game for me, when measured by my own dubious internal, unquantifiable metrics.  Those internal metrics were set, of course, by LEGO Start Wars: The Complete Saga (which may be a bit unfair since that was a re-release of two past titles) and LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (which I feel is a fair comparison).

My internal barometer of game value says that if LEGO Batman were $30, I would already own it.  At $40 I will buy it the minute we tire of our current Wii titles and want something new to play.  But at $50, it is a special item, something for Christmas, Birthday, or other such event.

Finally, after price, we have the story itself.

The LEGO Star Wars and Indiana Jones titles had huge, well known movies behind them.  Most people have seen them. (We made my mother watch Raiders of the Lost Ark when she was out to visit, so there is one more person on the list.)  Traveler’s Tales could get away with making fun of a lot in those movies because some many people have the context to get it.

Batman though… well… which Batman?  Is he the comic books from my youth, the TV show I grew up with (Julie Newmar is the only real Catwoman… well, she’s in the top 5 at least), the Tim Burton launched movies, one of the animated series, the new movies, or maybe the Frank Miller version?

Okay, it is probably not the Frank Miller version, cool though that would be.  I haven’t read much about the game, as I said above, but I can probably guess that much.

The problem is not that Batman isn’t as universal as Star Wars or Indiana Jones, the problem is that there are so many variations of him.  And no matter which version they picked, it will be the wrong version for somebody.  Somebody out there will be looking for the chicken soup scene in the Superfriend’s version of the Batman character.  It might be the wrong Batman for me.

So there I stand.

All that said, the vague LEGO ennui, the value proposition, and the “whose Batman is it anyway” angst, I am sure we will end up owning the game at some point and that my daughter and I will have a lot of fun playing it.

The chicken soup may not be fresh, but I bet it is still very good.

We just won’t be getting the game this week… or next week, most likely.

How about you? Did you get a copy?

7 thoughts on “LEGO Batman Unleashed

  1. skeezer

    its sitting at my door step, but i am sitting at work. the reviews i have seen say its like the previous games, which is fine by me, since i like the previous games. i just need to suck it up and try to actually complete the various areas. almost every lego indiana jones level takes me about an hour to finish (if its made of legos, it must be broken), but i keep finishing the levels with 9 out of 10 chests. i refuse to buy a strategy guide or checks gamefaqs.


  2. smakendahed

    I picked it up yesterday for my oldest son. He was enjoying it last night and a little bit this morning. I played along with him last night and I have to admit, I was Robin :(

    Overall, it’s a lot of the same sort of thing. Instead of whips and rocket launchers you have boomerangs, neat combat moves (automatic) and different suits that give you some effect.

    So far I’ve seen a bomb suit, glass shattering gun, glide and heat retardant suit for Batman. For Robin I’ve seen a suit for magnetic feet, high tech (not sure what it did – it’s hard to read the subtitled-tips when your five year old is zipping all over the place) and a lego piece vacuum which sucks up certain lego pieces for later use in some devices in game.

    It seems there are three episodes which have about five levels each – I’m not sure about that though. It might be six which would put it on par with Indiana Jones.

    You can buy characters (and vehicles), suit add-ons and extras. I think you can buy videos too, but I’m not sure.

    I have the PS3 version and experienced a hang twice in about the same area on the Free Play of the level where you’re chasing after Two-Face (it’s the third level I think). That’s a first for me and the Lego games… any PS3 games for that matter.

    @skeezer – my 5 year old beat Indiana Jones 100% – yes, I did help him along the way. It’s scary. He hasn’t got that high with the Complete Star Wars Saga, but he’s got all the power bricks, true jedi, white mini-kits, bounty hunter levels, bonus levels and several of the challenge mini-kits (this is what he’s missing).


  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    100%, very nice! My daughter and I are at 80% for Indiana Jones at this point. We have to find one more of the hidden Star Wars characters, find that 9th or 10th treasure chest on all but two levels, and buy some expensive unlocks still.

    I actually bought the guide for Star Wars: The Complete Saga, as there is so much stuff in that game (we’re at about 45% there and we have played it a lot more that Indy), but with Indiana Jones we have gotten so far so quickly that I figured the guide wouldn’t be much additional help.


  4. smakendahed

    I was at a hockey game with the wife last night so my oldest son (and youngest) was home with the mother-in-law. He was up until 10pm (grrr… you’d think she was never a parent…) playing Lego Batman. He said he beat the Riddler and was into the Penguin stuff but stuck at one point.

    It seems the episodes are divided into three (as I said) with the first being the Riddler, the second being the Penguin and the last one being the Joker. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you do get to fight at least one known villain per mission, which is sort of cool.

    Yeah, the Star Wars Complete Saga is pretty sick as far as content goes. Comparing it to Indiana Jones, I sort of felt Indiana Jones was lacking, but then they didn’t have 6 movies to draw from. I was disappointed the 4th movie wasn’t in there. Ah well.

    I think the boy is up to over 85% or something like that in Star Wars. He’s missing most of the challenge rewards from the dark mini-kits and the lego city? He keeps falling just short of the necessary amount to complete that. I think that is all he’s missing. He’s got over 130 gold bricks, all the extras unlocked and all the characters. He’s capped the lego studs too. It caps out at 4 billion.

    All good fun. I heard that the next Lego video game coming out is Halo?

    I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ll see I guess.


  5. caleb

    im a kid and i played lego batman it is cool but on the villian levels you dont fight alot of bosses but the hero levels are cool and kinda hard.


  6. caleb

    ok there is five suits for batman and five suits for batman i think.the boss battles is not hard but the joker is hard he has two guns a buzzer and his fists me and my dad play it lego star wars i cant beat the bonus level ships and super story. by the way what are the minkits in droid factory in legostarwars 1?


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