So last Tuesday I wandered down to London, city of black snot, horrible musicals and formerly of Kieron’s recently deceased beard, to see Lego Batman. Well, also to watch an early screening of The Dark Knight, but I can’t really jaff off about that here. Short answer – very much agree with Big-Face Kermode, which isn’t always the case.
I didn’t get much time at all with Lego Batman, nor did I get to interview Travellers’ Tales as hoped, but I did get to play as Mister Freeze (I feel oddly ashamed that I had to Google to check whether he was a Mister or a Doctor – or, as it happens, both. I used to know such things, damnit) and The Riddler.
As far as I could ascertain, I was playing what had already been shown at E3 – Squire Kumar has a brief report on it here. I was a little disappointed to hear he deemed it so similar to previous Lego games, so I endeavoured to find proof that he was mad, bitter or madly bitter. Sadly, I only made it about 12 seconds into a not hitherto seen level before being caught by the PR, so vague whispers that we might get to see vehicles remained only whispers. All I saw was what he’d seen, and while I possibly enjoyed it more than he, he most certainly seems bang on the money.
Still, what was immediately obvious from a short while pratting about with two of Batman’s less menacing (but high-comic-potential) baddies was that this Lego Game is a little more unbound than Star Wars and Indy. In what I saw, it was doing precisely diddly squat different to its predecessors’ formula, but Batman’s rogue’s gallery is a little less straight-laced than Lucas & Speilberg’s. There’s also that whole not being based directly on the events of the film thing. So you’ve got Freeze laying down massive ice blocks and the Riddler telepathically controlling NPCs (OMG retcon), and while the jump’n’punch’n’puzzle style felt absolutely familiar, it also seemed a little wilder. Travellers’ Tales reps at the event talked of LBM taking their Lego games “to the next level”, which may be newspeak or may be hints as to this other stuff we were steered away from seeing.
We’ll see. I’m thinking it may not restore the Lego [Insert Franchise Here] series’ critical standing to quite the love and awe it once engendered, but it seems as though it’ll return the spark that was a little absent from Indy. Also, it has Man-Bat. God bless comicbook writers.