And Batman said to Robin, "Stop miming licking a Popsicle. It's making us look bad."
Despite having a unique story and characters, LEGO Batman is the fifth game in its series and the third incarnation on Wii. For any veterans of Traveler's Tales LEGO series, this is fully obvious when you jump into their latest game. The similarities aren't necessarily a bad thing, as the tried-and-true gameplay still works, but it would take a major addition to the series to rejuvenate it. Unfortunately LEGO Batman isn't that major addition.
While the previous LEGO outings had classic movies to draw from, LEGO Batman draws from Batman's history in comics, movies, and LEGO sets. This eliminates the familiar scenes from Star Wars and Indiana Jones and grants Traveler's Tale a degree of freedom with the story. With a hero side and a villain side to the story, this adds some more variety to the game. It also allows for a vast assortment of villains that form a who's who of the Caped Crusader's Rogues' Gallery. The game's story features almost every significant Batman villain ranging from the Joker to the Penguin and everyone in between. The best addition is the little-known Killer Moth who is defeated by turning on a giant light bulb.
Charming Batman lore aside, there are a lot of problems with this game. First and foremost is the repetition involved. The game offers the same simple button-mashing combat with the lone addition being the ability to throw enemies. The villain levels, fifteen in total spread across three episodes, offer variety since a new villain with different abilities is added almost every level. However, the hero levels only feature Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo might have different suits, but the suits are really only used for puzzle solving and not in combat. This repetition also applies to the replay value. Completists will have a field day with all of the unlockables especially, when they have to replay levels multiple times to get all of them. But while Batman comic fans will be happy to know that they can unlock villains like Hush and Ra's al-Ghul, they won't be happy to know that they have to do a lot of monotonous crap to get them.
Hopefully you will have a friend around to ease the repetition because the sidekick A.I. is atrocious. Oftentimes both characters have to step on separate switches; this is made absurdly difficult when your partner doesn't want to stand still. Conversely, the co-op is a lot of fun as long as you don't get too far apart from each other, since the camera struggles to keep both characters on the screen.
Speaking of the camera, it is hideously limited by the isometric 3-D side-scroller view the game implements. Depth perception and camera changes are sometimes greater enemies than the Joker. Actually, when I fought the Joker it was more difficult trying to jump across to a switch that I had to get both Batman and Robin on to than it was to actually fight him.
In each episode there is a vehicle level set in ground, air, or sea environments. This is one of the worst parts of the game. The vehicles control clumsily, and each level is nothing more than an overly chaotic challenges consisting of moving around, hopefully picking up necessary items, and defending yourself against hard-to-notice enemies.
Despite its many faults, LEGO Batman can be a fun experience albeit a repetitive and frustrating one. As a big fan of Batman, I heartily recommend it to any fan of the Caped Crusader. However, non-fans will want to avoid it entirely since enjoyment is derived almost entirely from its nostalgia factor.