One of the biggest successes that came out of seemingly nowhere when it was released had to be LEGO Star Wars. Combining one of the most popular movie franchises of all time with one of the most successful toy companies of all time definitely makes sense in retrospect, but the idea of such a family-friendly concept actually being awesome to play was difficult to grasp at first. Obviously, the game was a hit, and spawned a sequel, a remake, and two entirely different franchises jumping on the LEGO bandwagon. One is Indiana Jones, and the other, is Batman.
Although still relying heavily on the core gameplay of past LEGO titles, LEGO Batman: The Video Game adds some new features into the mix as well. Yes, you'll still be building all kinds of objects with LEGO pieces that are just lying around in order to progress in the game, and the trademark puzzles and studs of the past all make their return here as well. One of the most appealing things about the LEGO games has been the drop-in and drop-out cooperative play, as well as the ability to change your current character selection at the mere touch of a button, and these features also make a welcome return.
To make up for the fact that there isn't a specific 'trilogy' of sorts that they could properly reference, LEGO Batman will play out in a story that's unique to the game. Basically, all of the baddies have escaped from Arkham Asylum, so it's up to Batman and Robin to stop them all from their evil-doings. While it's a fairly basic idea, it allows for all the characters that we know and love from the Batman universe to be running loose at the same time, meaning the switching of characters within the narrative at least makes some sense.
In LEGO Batman, as well as being able to play as the crime-fighting team, you can also experience the entire game from the villains point of view. In the newly added 'Villain' mode, you'll still be playing through the same levels that you play through as Batman, but you'll have different objectives and other goals which, within the narrative, are designed to stop Batman from getting in your way. The villains will also play in 'teams of two' and will have to work together just like usual to solve puzzles and progress through their specific scenarios.
Combat-wise, there are still your standard attacks as well as throws, but each character will also have their own special moves that they can perform with great effectiveness. Penguin can throw bombs and use his umbrella to glide to a safe landing for example, and Batman himself will have access to some trademark gadgets to help him along the way. There will also be special costumes that each have their own abilities built-in, such as a magnetic suit which can be used to climb walls with ease among other costumes with special features and attacks.
The most important thing with LEGO Batman is that it's still fun to play, and it definitely is; the game just feels like LEGO, with the same tongue-in-cheek humour that plays out during the cutscenes and the ability to play cooperatively using 'more than 20' characters throughout the 36 levels. It's obvious that when LEGO Star Wars became the success that it did, Traveller's Tales knew full well that they couldn't just leave it at that. LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Batman are both looking like a whole lot of fun at this stage, and we look forward to playing more from the wonderful world of LEGO in the near future.