Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stop talking, you're freaking me out!

My stamina for grinding studs has decreased with each subsequent Lego title, to the point that going through the story missions and nothing else in Lego Batman 2 will be more than enough to satisfy me. There was a great deal of work put into the hub world time. In many ways it tries to be like all the other free roaming games out there. There are two important things that they got wrong which prevents the actual wandering form being any fun, and this is discounting the problem with Superman's flight being a throwback to his 64 bits days because who wants to play as Superman anyway.

First and foremost, the world isn't very big. Yes, it is bigger than the story levels but if you hold it up against Far Cry 2 or Infamous or Just Cause 2 there just isn't a whole lot there. This forces all the bits of junk that Lego games love to hide right next to each other. This exacerbates the second problem: the map is impossible to use. Pausing the game will being up a perfectly serviceable map that allows you to place navigation points, just like every other free roaming game. Back in the actual game there is no mini-map, just a compass that gives you the general direction of your navigation point along with all sorts of other incomprehensible icons. It's a mess.

But Chamberlain, you say, this is a kids game, what were expecting?

Tsk, tsk, the old man chides. This is not a kids game, Lego games are good games that are safe to play with your kids. This does not excuse a shitty map and a superhero who flies like a brick. Normally I would waste days finding a the little bits of junk hidden in the environment. I have done so with open world games of disparate quality, everything from Mercenaries 2 to Red Dead Redemption. Lego Batman 2 makes the process of exploration and discovery so cumbersome that I am just going to skip the whole thing.

At least the story missions themselves are still very good, though I cannot say I approve of voice acting being added to the mix. We have a bad Mark Hamill impersonation, a bad Kevin Conroy impersonation, and Superman sounds like a douche bag (so no problems there). Only Lex Luthor's voice is done by an actor who has actually performed the character before and his performance shows it. Lex has some great straight lines, none of which involve the Joker.

It does feel odd to complain about the voice acting in a Lego game, but they put it there when it didn't need to be there, so it is subject to the same expectations as everything else.

None of this is going to stop me from playing Lego Lord of the Rings. Lego Gollum is just so precious.

What has it got in its pocketses?

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