Review – Batman: The Brave & The Bold
Publisher: Warner Home Video Games
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii
Genre: Action/Adventure, Brawler/Beat Em Up
ESRB Content Descriptors: Comic Violence, Cartoon Mischief
Purchase from: Amazon
The Scoop: Following the lighter adventures of the Dark Knight, this old school style 2D brawler will let you get some cartoon Batman camp while presenting some retro-vibe. Bring a friend cause this game is co-op to its core.
The Setup: The cartoon Batman: The Brave and the Bold is known for mixing the corniness and camp of the classic Adam West TV series with the gloomy look of the early 90’s Batman: The Animated Series (still easily one of the best cartoon of all time). And one of the major angles of the cartoon is that Batman teams up with a different hero or set of heroes every episode. It’s not my favorite Batman cartoon outing, or my second, but the show is still very enjoyable, especially if you watch the Adam West movie beforehand.
The team-up aspects of the show are brought to life by way of 2 player co-op, and make no mistake; the game is based entirely around 2 player co-op. Go in alone and you will find yourself bored within minutes.
What’s Hot: The 2D hand-drawn animation is quite good, though that should be expected from a full-fledged retail release. The sprites are crisp and clean and the animation moves without a hitch. The 3D Backgrounds are mostly good, though some of them completely stand out by looking about as good as the ones in Klonoa: Door to Phantomville over 10 years ago.
The soundtrack is right at home with the show, the jazzy tunes wouldn’t normally be at home while punching people in the face, but in this case it just fits. The dialogue is campy and fun, just like the show; expect lots of cheesy one liner’s and unnecessary puns. The banter between the two characters is most likely going to be the highlight of the game for most people, as it was for me. It would at times become so funny I would take numerous hits just trying to hear every word of it. Many of the summon special attacks also carry the same humorous tones, my personal favorite is Booster Gold, who shows up with a horde of paparazzi that take so many picture that the flashes knock the enemies unconscious.
Co-Op is the key and the co-op is actually pretty fun, while not requiring the most brilliant of minds there are many items in the game that require teamwork to obtain. Like the Lego series of games there isn’t any major tactical advantage, it’s just more fun with a partner.
What’s Not: Like the Lego series this game doesn’t exactly take a brain surgeon to play, but unlike the Lego series there isn’t a plethora of characters and options. Not to say there isn’t multiple attack and unlockable weapons, they just amount to next to nothing. Ready your thumb, you’re gonna be pushing that A button a lot. Controls are another problem I have; you have to use the nunchuck and wiimote setup instead of a classic controller. If you are making a game that plays retro you shouldn’t muck it up with non-retro controls. They aren’t even well laid out with the buttons, attack is A which makes jumping awkward (not that the other way around would matter) and your specials are done using the ‘1’ button… that button should never be used for ANYTHING in a Wii/nun setup. No other buttons to use? MAKE MORE BUTTONS. Or make use of the classic controller; there is nothing wrong with not using motion controls.
The game is short, only 4 levels, but the levels just don’t end. You’ll spend near an hour on the first level alone, and that is the shortest I’ve seen (I’ll admit, we didn’t finish the game). You’ll get to the end and be so grateful for the coming change of pace, only to find that the next level is yet another hour in length. This is the main reason you need to play with a friend, because I can vouch that the level lengths make the game nearly unplayable by yourself. On the first go I was with two others switching back and forth, upon leaving I realized I needed to start the game again. I played again with another, made it around the same distance, and then had to start again by myself. Sorry but I just couldn’t do it alone.
Final Verdict: This game is cheaply made, looking and playing last gen; WayForward has basically given us a great Live Arcade/PSN title and decided to charge a full 40 bucks for it. If they would have thrown forth some production value or lowered the initial price I would be all for it, but as it is this game is not worth it at all, buy something of higher quality for your 40 dollars and wait for this one to drop to around 15 dollars or end up as a download like seems the logical choice.
Or just rent it like I did, that works too.
*FINAL NOTE* The game features a Wii / DS connectivity that I was not able to cover in the review as I didn’t own the DS game and it was not available for me to rent at the time.
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