Lego Indy, Lego Star wars, Lego Batman, Lego Rock band, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Racing, Lego Friends… The list goes on. Since the launch of the XBOX Lucas Arts and Travellers Tales have been bringing Lego adaptations of movie franchise to the masses. Why? Because Lego is cool, and who doesn’t want to visualise the most epic wins and battles from the view of a 2inch yellow brick. With no signs of slowing down Indian Jones 2: Tac builds on the foundations of all the games before it, exactly the same but with some new features, in no particular order:
So here’s the quick scoop on Lego games in case a) you’ve never played one or b) you were deprived of your childhood and never played with Lego at all. Based on the insufferably cute yellow brick people, with yellow brick heads, there are literally thousands of combinations of characters, because Lego it would seem are the perfect templates for the building blocks of life. In this case you start out with Lego Indy, following loosely the story of the newest movie “The Kingdom of the Crystal skulls”. This is Lucas Arts doing what they do best; taking their own IP putting it through the crapper and distilling it down for the youngest common denominator, over and over again. The best thing though, about Lego, is that a) it never talks back b) Shai la Bouffe is no where to be seen. So: With trusty whip in hand you, as Lego Indy- run around solving puzzles and doing tasks and generally breaking every single thing in sight. Breaking things is good, because it rewards you with studs. Not manly studs, like Harrison Ford, but gold and silver studs, for money to buy new vehicles and unlock areas. Generally buying new vehicles or Lego characters will allow you to complete a piece of the game puzzle that was not available before. Because although during the main story you are fixed to Indy and one other character for co-op fun; generally you need to utilize the full gamut of bite-size heroes to finish off an area.
The story is rather excellent and whole lot funnier than the movie and true to form, Lucas Art has thrown in half of the first Indy Lego game, for good measure. The previous Lego adventures are here in a condensed form making this the ultimate Lego Indy game for fans. To their credit Travellers Tales have done an excellent job of taking all the classic action set pieces from the movies and a) expanding on them and b) capturing the humour.
Just like the Guitar Hero series that seems to evolve after each itineration, one day becoming self aware and taking over the world, so too are the Lego games adapting. Instead of the Linear outings of previous games, and rather than ‘just an expansion’ on the first Indy game, this time we have some very clever ‘hubs’ or little Lego towns from whence everything is available. After the first level it all becomes clear as you are returned to a hub and can literally walk or race around to different areas and unlock challenges, dig for treasure or start fights. As more levels are completed more characters become accessible. Once Indy has whipped them into submission, you can buy their identity and they leave you alone, adding to a larger population of little Lego dudes walking around; each with their own skill and identity. The same goes for vehicles. The flew is that for the most part, it does become a little boring, the vehicle mechanics are shonky and although it ties everything together and gives you a central nexus for each chapter of the story, it also loses the plot, turning the whole affair into micro mini games for the very young.
There are no saves during activities, so you either lose all your stud muffins or have to exit out and try again, collecting more but never completing the puzzle. As said, vehicle control is lucid at best, excellent for reliving child-hood memories but not so good when the camera insists on being in front of the vehicle, meaning driving toward a camera and turning is arbitrary depending where you thumb is on the stick. Poor Lego Indy will also has a tendency to jump into fire, which is a problem with all the Lego games they are neither a) excellent plaformers or b) great driving simulators. But the whit and humour within generally makes up for it.
Annoyingly after the first chapter of the story the credits will actually roll, ending your game, until you proceed with the second chapter. Now between different Indy movies I can understand but when one long story is now chopped in bits, given the Lucas Arts Credits treatment and then returned to the menu; it seems a bit unnecessary.
For indomitable little pieces of plastic, Lego sure knows how to look good. Again ,if you haven’t yet seen it, the Lego variety of games comes with some actually very detailed environments. The supporting grounds and Buildings and static holdings are much more realistic and detailed than any cardboard box I used as a kid. Although this is a game obviously aimed at a) minors or b) parents playing with their minors, Travellers Tale have done an excellent job at walking that line between too much realism and not enough Lego or vice versa. The rule of thumb: If it can be Lego it is, and everything else looks like the movie.
Graphically, many more technical games could learn a thing or two from Lucas Arts here in that, every single Lego item can be interacted with destroyed, broken or rebuilt into a more useful combination. In fact breaking down some boxes, looking at the pieces then seeing them re-assembled into a new device or key is the highlight of any Lego video game adventure. To this end avid modders have finally been given a creator kit. A new section to gameplay for designing and creating your own levels is available and every brick and prop is available. It may be preferable to simply used the pre-created pieces or try to tackle your very own master piece.
The flip side is that no online or community sharing is evident with no access to an online network to showcase said works. Similar ideas with ‘creating your own skate-park’ in other games have come and gone and hopefully Lucas Arts develops this further into a full online environment where you can trade and share your creations.
Apart from seeing your little Lego men, bend and twist unlike any other Lego before it, everything in the game is well represented according to the strict limitations of said Lego and with some minor Screen tearing, looks great.
If Lego is thrown into a fire and no one is around to hear it scream; does it make a sound? Not so much actually. One concession that has had to be made with most of the Lego games is that they don’t talk. They make noises, gesture and generally flail about but the whole ordeal is told through mime. It is not that their Lego mouths could not be animated, it’s simply that Shai la Bouffe has already said enough. Truthfully though, this ‘attention to detail’ is what sets them apart. It’s almost worth investing in some Lego games just to see how well they are told without any dialogue.
lack of any talking or even sub titles can make it a bit hard at times to know what to do, or where to go, or even who is talking to whom about what, but for the young at heart it’s all the more funnier. It can also make the game a little quiet.
Unless you’ve been living in a lead-lined fridge fro the past 20 years, the Theme music will be instantly recognisable and all of it makes a return. Lucas Arts have used their power for good, mixing the scores and remixing some of the classics. Short of seeing Indiana Jones as a 2inch piece of plastic, this is one of the main reasons to keep playing. There are some tricky boss battles with suitably epic music and again, just adds a movie feel to this otherwise children’s game.
The value of this game will depend on a) if you already own a Lego game, specifically Lego Indiana Jones and b) how old you are.
Lego Indiana Jones 2: Tac is dead easy. But the achievements will take even the most skilled player a long while. Simply because you only get achievements in this game for 100% areas. It would have been too easy to give achievements for collecting a certain number of studs or killing x mini boss. The game is a bit of a grind, but even so takes time to unlock all the right vehicles and people to use for each task. The story literally counts for about 5% of each hub, the other 95% made up of completing puzzles buying everything and generally playing around.
This may force re-play, but the real value is in the ADD ‘I’ve got OCD’ collecting of studs: Harrison Ford, Sean Conn..there are so many of the little gold and silver things everywhere it goes beyond currency. But for the completest there is ample reason to get 100% on every single area.
The old levels re-hashed are a welcome addition and so too is the level creator. Allow us to share our creations with the world and Lucas Arts might have just redeemed themselves in my eyes.
It would be nice to say that this the definitive Lego Game. But with Harry Potter years 1-4 already on it’s way, there is plenty more brick building shenanigans where that came from. It is odd, to see well meaning characters like Batman and Harry Potter get done over by Lucas Arts, using Tell Tale they can literally get their fingers into anything, but hopefully the level creator and non-linear hubs heralds the start of a larger open community of Lego Developers. Indian Jones 2 is a welcome addition in a fun and unique package.
AAG SCORE: 8/10
- New level creator for brick building fun
- New hub worlds adds length and non-linear approach
- Can get a little repetitive and boring
- No voice acting or subs makes it confusing
- Shoddy driving mechanics and jumping puzzles
Reviewed & Written By Ian Crane