Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lego Indiana Jones - Review

I finally put a stake through Resident Evil's heart last Saturday, so that night I started playing Lego Indiana Jones. The next day, around noon or so, I beat Lego Indiana Jones. And no, I wasn't up playing it all night or anything. The game is just really short and really easy.

Backing up a bit, I played both of the Lego Star Wars games and I thought they were pretty fun. They weren't gaming Hall of Fame caliber or anything, but they were amusing diversions. Now I'm a big fan of Indiana Jones (both Raiders and Last Crusade would probably make my top 20 films list), so I thought I'd give this game a shot.

To end any suspense, it's not as good as the Star Wars titles. That may be a little surprising since it came after them and benefits from some additional polish. But I think the failing is more conceptual, an inherent difference between Star Wars and Indiana Jones. In the Star Wars games, some of the levels are played on foot, say blasting Stormtroopers in the halls of the Death Star while saving Leia. Others are played in Lego vehicles, like piloting an X-wing or the Millennium Falcon. There was enough variety that the game didn't get dull...about the time you thought "I'm tired of jumping around this swamp with Yoda" they'd stick you on a speeder bike on Endor to mix things up.

But Indiana Jones doesn't really have that. Oh, there's the minecart section from Temple of Doom, but for the most part it's Indiana Jones running around in tombs, solving puzzles, and avoiding snakes. It's fun for a while but if you get bored of that formula, there's just more and more of the same. On top of that, the game really plays up the 3D-platforming during the puzzle solving sections, and you don't get any control of the camera. That leads to some unnecessary plunges into instant-death pits.

The designers tried to make up for these issues by making the game easy. Really easy. You can die as much as you want with essentially no consequences (just a little lost money...er Lego studs). Now, I don't mind if a game is easy as sometimes it's fun to just experience a game without the frustration of constant failure. But combine the fact that it's easy and the fact that it's short, and you can see why I beat the game in just a few hours. You can go back into each level and comb for secrets, but unless you're trying to get all the Achievements or just desperate to justify purchasing the game, there really isn't much draw to do so.

Ultimately, Lego Indiana Jones is like the little bag of potato chips that comes with your Subway sandwich. It's tasty for a few moments, but ultimately it's disposable.

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