When LEGO Star Wars was released back in 2005 the game was a breath of fresh air. After a series of poor Star Wars games our hopes weren't all that high for the game, but the game well and truly exceeded our initial expectations. Two more LEGO Star Wars games were released by Lucasarts but now the series is moving onto other things, in the form of LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures . We recently had a chance to go hands on with LEGO Indiana Jones, so how is it shaping up?
Anyone who has played the previous LEGO Star Wars games should have a fair idea of what to expect from LEGO Indiana Jones. Players start the game with Indiana Jones who doesn't have a gun, but of course, has his trusty whip (characters can also pick up weapons from enemies such as spears and arrows). Players cannot just play through the game with just Indy, who will bring along a companion for missions. Much like in the LEGO Star Wars games, using Indy has its advantages and disadvantages. Indy for example can swing from ropes and pull objects out of walls with his rope, but he cannot dig for coins. This means that players will need to use a wide variety of characters to get through the game. There are more than 60 characters in the game (including Marion Ravenwood, Short Round, Rene Belloq and more) and players can also customise characters. You'll meet new characters throughout the single-player campaign and switching characters is as simple as pressing Y.
Co-op play is again, supported. This means that parents can jump into the game with their children on the fly and jump out on the fly. In this preview build we did not see an option for online co-op, this doesn't mean the final game won't support it, but it seems unlikely this late in the development process. One of our major gripes with the previous LEGO games was the fixed camera, which is unfortunately still fixed. This isn't as much of a problem as in LEGO Star Wars though, because more of the game is set aside, but it does become a bit of a nuisance when you're behind a bush or stuck in a corner. The cut scenes look to be just as comical as the ones in LEGO Star Wars, which means you'll actually want to watch them.
Enough about what is the same, what about what is different? Well, LEGO Indiana Jones contains quite a few adventure themed set pieces. In the first level alone we were running from a giant boulder and running in a horizontal fashion while trying to escape another obstacle. This doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of enemies (there are), but it shows that Traveller's Tales haven't just rebadged LEGO Star Wars characters and thrown in some Indiana Jones themed levels, but actually thought about how a Lego Indiana Jones game should be different to the LEGO Star Wars game.
Lego Indiana Jones also looks fantastic. Aside from the aforementioned in game, hilarious cut scenes show the environments that Indiana traverses are quite detailed. The characters themselves also look spot on and even though the spiders are made of LEGO, we were still quite afraid when we came across them. Sound is just as spot on, with Indiana Jones fans sure to be spurred on by the Indy theme.
LEGO Indiana Jones is shaping up to be a fantastic game. The title retains all the pick up and play gameplay from the LEGO Star Wars series while also making great use of the Indiana Jones license. Most importantly though, is the fact that the game is just incredibly fun. We cannot wait to play the final game and, based on our impressions you shouldn't be able to wait either.