Saturday, January 14, 2012

Holy ‘meh’ Batman! Has Lego made a mistake with next video game choice?

As an avid video game fan, I try to stay up-to-date on what games will be coming to my console over the next few months (still holding my breath that ‘Silent Hill: Downpour’ isn’t a colossal fail, by the way).

I like a variety of different games – but I have a soft spot for the Lego video game franchise.

What started out was a fluke when ‘Lego Star Wars: The Video Game’ was launched in 2005 has now grown into one of the most profitable game franchises in the world.

I guess that’s why I was underwhelmed (to say the least) to hear that the next title being released in the Lego game franchise would be a sequel to the ultra-boring ‘Lego Batman’ from a few years ago.
To be fair, ‘Lego Batman’ wasn’t the worst Lego video game ever developed.

That honor goes to the first ‘Lego Indiana Jones’ game. The second ‘Indiana Jones’ game was better than the first – but not by much.

Let’s face it, the Lego games aren’t ever going to be taken seriously by certain gamers (we all know who they are) – but they are still massively entertaining and ridiculously addictive. Personally, I like them as a break from some of the more serious and, honestly, gory video games I play.

To be honest, though, ‘Lego Star Wars’ and both follow-ups to the original are the best the Lego franchise has to offer – up to this point at least. The two ‘Harry Potter’ games are a close second, however.

That leaves ‘Lego Pirates of the Caribbean’ – which is worse than the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Harry Potter’ offerings but still massively better than ‘Batman’ and ‘Indiana Jones.’ Quite frankly, the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ game is better than the last three movies in that franchise combined – but I digress.

I have a feeling that Warner Bros. Interactive is trying to take advantage of the release of this summer’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ to help propel sales of the game – which I’m sure will help – but unless the game play is markedly better than the 2008 installment (which was clunky, overbearing and abundantly boring at times), I don’t think they’re going to gain any new fans.
One thing ‘Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes’ has going for it is that it’s more of a Justice League deal – featuring characters like Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern (anyone else dying to see Lego Hulk – or is that just me?). I think breaking from the earlier format can only help the second game.

I can’t be alone in wondering, though, if the Lego video game manufacturers wouldn’t be better off adding another franchise in the mix. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies, for example, are screaming for a Lego makeover. I wouldn’t be surprised if the announcement about that game comes in the next few months and the release coincides with the first ‘Hobbit’ movie this winter.

I think the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies and even ‘The Matrix’ movies would also be good additions into the Lego video game club.

I think my biggest problem with the franchise is that when a game doesn’t work – like ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Batman’ they still try to squeeze a sequel out of it. Sometimes it’s better to just move along.

Anyway you look at it, I’m sure diehard comic book geeks are happy about the news. More standard gamers, though? I think that sound you just heard was a collective ‘meh’ of indifference.


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