LEGO Batman Review

lego title

Title: LEGO Batman: The Videogame
Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive
Game Type: PlayStation Portable
Download: 555 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Direct Download

EU Availability: Digital Download | Direct Download

There are a great many LEGO games that are out there to be played on every game console around.  The PlayStation Vita has a bit of an increased library, as it can play games that not only have come to its own library, as well as playing games from the PlayStation Portable’s library.  In actuality, the PS Vita has access to more than 12 different games across both libraries, from the older games like LEGO Batman to newer games like The LEGO Movie Videogame.

We have reviewed many of these games on our site, and we have shown that there is a big difference between handheld LEGO games and their console counterparts.  The PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS games play quite differently from the home console versions, though this wasn’t always the case.  Back in the PSP era, these games started very much like their console versions, though this soon changed as more games came out on it.

One such game is available to the PS Vita in the PSP section of the PlayStation Network Store.  Taking us way back to when the series was new and growing, the PSP was able to explore the streets of Gotham City in style.  Here is our official review of the PSP title, LEGO Batman: The Videogame.

Story

lego story

The story of LEGO Batman takes place in Gotham City.  After an explosion occurs at Arkham Asylum, all of the city’s super-villains escape and run rampant around Gotham City.  From The Riddler and Mr. Freeze to Two-Face and The Joker, himself, Gotham is under attack and it is up to none other than the Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin, to save the day and lock them all back up.

The story of the game isn’t in-depth like the sequel the game got.  This game was made before they started to add voice-overs to the cutscenes.  Each time you do see a scene, you will see the characters making small muttering noises and getting themselves into goofy situations.  It’s not a bad way to be, as they will still explain what’s going on in those actions, but don’t expect voiced scenes, you would see in more recent LEGO games.

Gameplay

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This game is, like all LEGO games before and after it, a 3D platformer with combat elements.  Whether you’re roaming the streets of Gotham or traveling through the darkness of the Batcave, you will be jump across buildings, climbing ropes and wires, and navigating crates, vehicles, boxes, and more to get where you need to go to find the villains you’re after and lock them back up in Arkham using everything you’ve got in your arsenal at least once.

During each level or stage, you will be controlling two characters, mostly being Batman and Robin.  You will both be on the stage together, but you will only be able to control one of them at a time.  To be able to pass all of your obstacles, you will need to use both of them together, combining their skills to be able to take down each villain.  This is mostly done with suits you will be able to find as you progress through levels, and assemble LEGO objects.

The suits have various features.    One of Batman’s suits, for example, gives you access to deploying Bat Bombs, which can attack enemies as well as destroy objects that are waiting in your path.  Another example is that Robin’s Technology Suit allows him to take control of small robots that can be used to navigate areas that you cannot to open doors that you can access.  Each stage will have puzzles that will require the use of different suits to be able to pass through to the next area.

As you progress through each stage, you will also have things you can collect and destroy.  In many areas of the game, there will be mini-kits that you can find, donning the Bat Emblem.  Collecting all of these in a level will give you access to unlockable content, like playable characters.  You can also collect Studs, which work as the game’s form of currency, allowing you to buy unlockable content that you unlock as you play through the game.  You can unlock a character without issue, but being able to use them requires you to buy them.

Extra characters can be used in Free Play.  Free Play happens when you first beat a level in Story Mode.  You can then replay the level with any characters that you’ve unlocked and bought, whether that be Batman and Robin, or The Riddler and his Henchman.  This is a key part of getting access to every area of every level and unlocking everything the game has to offer.

When you’re not in a Level, you can either go to the next one, or go to the Batcave.  The Batcave is like a level of its own, but is an area with many different things you can do.  You can go into various Episodes of the story to play through those stages, go to the Bat Computer to purchase content or put in cheat codes, or you can enter the Trophy Room, where you can see the trophies you’ve collected by getting the collectibles from each level of the game.

With about 14 different story stages to progress through, and a large amount of unlockable content, LEGO Batman is not a game that is short on content.  From start to finish, the game should take you roughly 8-10 hours to finish, more if you want to unlock everything.  This is a bit longer than most of the more recent LEGO games and is sure to keep a fan of DC Comics busy for a good while.

Controls

LEGO Batman has a good amount of controls, but the scheme, like other LEGO games, is relatively simple.  You will not be using all of the buttons on the system for this game, and neither did the PSP.  While there are fairly extensive controls in the newer LEGO games one will be fairly light, as you play through it.

Moving your character around will be done with the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick.  Most of the other controls for the game is done with the Face Buttons.  The X Button is used for jumping, as well as Double-Jumping.  The Square Button is used for attacks as well as holding it down to use your Batarang to attack airborne enemies as well as target-friendly objects.  The Circle Button is used to use interaction-based objects, like switches as well as assembling LEGO objects.  Lastly, the Triangle Button is used for switching between the currently-selected character.

Despite being a full 3D LEGO game, the controls are pretty light for this one.  There will be on-screen button prompts for certain objects, and once you get it down, it won’t be hard to remember.

Presentation

lego pres

Presentation is where this game falls the most.  As far as how the game looks, it is decent.  The 3D visuals of the PSP did blur out a bit when stretched onto the PS Vita’s screen and there are many more jagged edges than there were in the original game on the PSP.  While it is definitely the most “grainy” LEGO game available on the Vita, it still looks decent.

The game’s biggest flaw is how it plays.  Despite the fact that it is the graphical level many PSP games are, the game does not run very well.  From the beginning of the first level of the game, you will be seeing a lot of slowdown and lag.  Whenever there are enemies on-screen or you just make a turn to a new area, the frames will drop, drastically.  It is nowhere near unplayable, but it is definitely not very good at all.

Another negative aspect of the presentation is the fact that there is noticeable lag between gameplay transitioning into story scenes.  The scene will appear for a couple seconds before it actually starts to play.  The game can be played, but not without much frustration, even for the patient.

Overall

LEGO Batman is one of the few games available to the PS Vita in this series that has all of the content of the console release.  Despite having the full content that the PS3 version of the game has, LEGO Batman is riddled with technical problems that will frustrate even the most patient of gamers.  If you want LEGO Batman in its fullest, it is here, but be wary that the game doesn’t run very well and you cannot expect it to have smooth gameplay.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates LEGO Batman a 6/10

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