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I tried the LEGO games and I liked them (is that bad?)

So I haven’t actually BOUGHT one of these games but I always wondered how they were.  At first I balked at them simply because at first glance they appear to be video game representations of some great pop culture franchises (Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones).  They still are just that however they also have a lot more to offer gamers of all ages if you are a fan of any of the franchises mentioned.  

I decided to go on a hardcore LEGO demo run so I downloaded demos of all three games mentioned above.  You know what?  They’re really fun.  Sure the controls are simple and so is the game play but it’s refreshing in a way.  In some of my early articles you’ll notice I talk a lot about how old games (and in this case simple games) can be a blast because they’re just not that complicated.  You only have to worry about your health, a few buttons at the most, and the task at hand.  I’ll admit the LEGO series takes this to the extreme for the sake of younger gamers but it’s still playable.  It’s just a lot more like the games you played when you were young yourself.

LEGO Indiana Jones take you through the first three movies in the series.  This is great because you know before you even pop in the disc you’re going to get your money’s worth and experience some great moments.  The familiarity with what you’re about to partake in is worth it’s weight in gold.  The demo was essentially the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark (you know, the golden idol and the rolling boulder).  

mainIn all the LEGO games you’re never more than one button press away from switching between characters.  In this case you can switch between Indy and the guy who follows him into the cave (the guy who played Dr. Octopus……work with me here).  Indy can do his usual like use his whip to swing across chasms.  The other guy is used for his shovel which can unearth buried treasures.  Along with the other LEGO games the demo exemplifies what a developer should offer when releasing such content:  It was lengthy and you left the experience knowing EXACTLY what the full version would offer.  In the case of LEGO Indiana Jones they even added a couple scenes that didn’t take place in the movie.  Overall a fun experience, but let’s see what the other two titles have to offer.

LEGO Batman is the newest of the bunch in this series.  You get to fight crime as Batman while switching to Robin when necessary.  I felt like the character switching in this game felt more natural than Indiana Jones.  Everyone knows through Batman’s legacy and especially the endless toys that he and Robin have a ton of gadgets and different suits.  The developers took this and ran with it and I must say it works well.  Batman’s suits seem a little more practical whereas Robin is left the more wacky ones (magnetic boots that let him walk up walls, etc.).  It all comes together though because you feel like your characters are working as a team moreso than in the other LEGO titles.  

Lego-Batman

You can also play a campaign as the Joker and Harley Quinn but I have to say this part of the game confused me.  You start in a fun house of some sort with no discernable objective and at one point after flipping a bunch of levers to pass through a few walls it’s really unclear what you’re supposed to do next.  Eventually I discovered a dark doorway I was supposed to go through and that led to a dilapidated roller coaster where I proceeded to get stuck again.  Oh well.  The Batman part of the game still showed a lot of promise, and I would give this game the edge over LEGO Indiana Jones for this reason and also the fluid cooperation between the characters you control.

In my opinion LEGO Star Wars is hands down the best game in the LEGO series.  Maybe it’s a little unfair because as popular as Batman and Indiana Jones are there may be no franchise in the history of pop culture that is as consistent of a juggernaut as Star Wars.  Just being able to play through A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi on the same disc is enough to make you take notice.  Fortunately LEGO Star Wars also boasts the most diverse lineup of characters.  Jedis can use the Force in various ways, droids are used to open otherwise inaccessible areas, and there are also bread and butter Han Solo-type characters that simply sport and old-fashioned blaster.  

The demo takes you through the Mos Eisley sequence towards the beginning of the movie that started it all in 1977 and ends with the escape within the confines of the Millennium Falcon.  Much like Indiana Jones there’s been some additional sections spliced in to give the game more depth.  The added sections also work well in this game.  Again they don’t happen in the movie but you feel as if they’re extrapolating on the original content instead of simply tacking on extra fluff.

ic_starwars_narrowweb__300x4000There are two things that make all three of the games more fun than you would expect.  Throughout each of them you’ll find piles of LEGOs that can be put together.  In these cases you’ll always build something that helps you move forward in the campaign or a vehicle that you remember the first time you saw it.  The latter is where it gets really fun.  There’s something that reminds you of your childhood and gets you excited when you can see your creation will soon be constructed into something as recognizable as the Batmobile.  Then you get to jump in and drive!  The Indiana Jones game is probably the weakest of the three simply because there’s not much from that franchise to construct LEGO-wise.  

The other selling point for me is all the characters you can unlock and play as.  So many memorable characters can be taken through the campaign just like the big hitters you start the game with.  I found a door in LEGO Star Wars that could only be opened by stormtroopers so I switched my character to one and discovered it was an Imperial day spa!  Bits of humor like this keep the games fresh as well and give them a life of their own apart from the franchises they use as inspiration.  In the end if you’re looking for straight-forward fun that makes you feel like a kid again pick up your favorite of these three.  I recommend Star Wars but if you go with your gut you’ll be happy regardless.

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