This is the latest Lego game, following on from the two Star Wars Lego games and the Lego Indiana Jones, and in my opinion this is the best one.
There are 30 levels to play through - from the perspective of the heroes (Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon etc....) and also as the villains. The villains are pretty much all included from the Batman universe. They include the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, Two Face, Scarecrow, Bane, the Mad-Hatter, the Penguin, Mr Freeze and more unlockable ones (two very secret characters are hidden in the game).
The heroes are based in the Bat-Cave, and the villains are based in Arkham Asylum. There are three main missions for both the good guys and bad guys, and each of these is broken up into 5 sub-missions.
Each mission isn't really part of an encompassing storyline, but they all kind of fit together and have a boss battle at the end of each level.
As with the Star Wars lego game, there are driving/flying/boating missions to complete so you get to use some really weird and wacky vehicles - the Scarecrow has a biplane, the Pengiun has a submarine in the shape of a penguin, and of course, the Batmobile is in there too!
In terms of gadgets, there are loads to play with. Batman has different types of suits for different tasks - the gliding suit for jumping large gaps, the demolition suit for blowing up impassible items. The Joker has a great trick hand buzzer that he uses to zap his enemies - you get to see the skeleton of the bad guy! Hilarious. You get to play with Batarangs, Mr Freeze's freeze gun, Bane's famous back breaker move, and the Riddler has the power of mind control and there are lots more to try out and have fun with - i won't spoil the surprise for you!
The levels this time are much more well thought out. Some real planning has gone into them and unlike the Indiana Jones lego game, these levels seem to be longer, and although anyone can get through them, it will take quite a long time to complete absolutely everything in the game.
The extras this time are really awesome. For anyone who is a fan of Batman - either the comics or the films - this game has something for everyone. There are lots of things to unlock including background information on the Batman universe - how each of the bad guys changed from being good, when the Wayne tower was built, what happened to the first Robin (Dick Grayson) and loads more which you will have to unlock yourselves!
The usual things we have seen in the previous lego games are here too. You can still collect all the minikits, the red power bricks and there is an equivalent Lego City level for both good and bad guys to enjoy. The 360 version has plenty of achievements to attain and these are easy to get into, but more difficult to complete unless you want to invest a bit of time on them!
Graphically this game has captured Gotham perfectly. It is highly detailed, polished and importantly gives the right forbidding 'feel' to the city. There aren't many glitches in the game either so you don't find yourself trapped in an awkward spot that means you need to restart the level.
As with Star Wars and Indiana Jones, this is great fun to play. There is plenty to make you laugh as usual with the cut scenes (and there are lots to look at in this game). It is one of those games that you can pick up and play for a half hour or so, or sit at for hours on end trying to collect and complete everything. So it will appeal to everyone, whether they are casual or hard core gamers.
Worth a quick mention is the music. Two themes are lifted directly from the original Tim Burton Batman film, and will be instantly recognisable, and the composer of these is the great Dany Elfman. This is a really nice touch and adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.
The co-operative play is back and is still as excellent as it has ever been. You can drop in and out of the game as the second player very easily.
Everything in this game is really well done, and you can tell that there was a lot of love from the developers when they created this game. There isn't much to find fault with, and in fact the only fault i found was the the computer controlled player. From time to time the computer controlled player stands in one place and won't follow you through the level (only in free play) and sometimes you end up back-tracking to go back to encourage them to follow you!
Who will this game appeal to then? Well, everyone who loved the other Lego games; Indiana Jones and Star Wars. But quite importantly this will also appeal to anyone who loves Batman from the comics, Batman on the silver screen or even the sixties tv show with Adam West! It isn't as dark and violent as the recent Batman films (Batman Begins and Dark Knight), nor is it as camp as the sixties tv show. The game takes the best elements of each style of Batman. The game isn't violent - it is cartoon violence - so there is no blood or guts on show here, which makes the game suitable for a young audience.
The only challenge now is for the developer to reinvent the Lego Games. They have done enough of the same ideas now, and although it is an excellent series there is a real danger that the next games could become stale. That would be a real shame.
But as for the Lego Batman game - buy it now! And have some great fun with it - i did!