Lego Indians Jones: The Original Adventures (X360) Review
There's something about Lego that never really grows old. You could have been given your first Lego set at 5 years old, and 20 years later still feel inclined to play with it. I remember going home about 5 years after I had moved out and finding my box of Legos that I had last played with when I was about 11. There was a knife in there that I spent about 4 hours on trying to make it look as realistic as possible. At the bottom of the box, another unfinished masterpiece that I believe was going to be a handgun. Then I sat back and tried to recall why I was such a messed up kid.
A couple of years ago I got to relive my love for Legos. Lego: Star Wars hit the major systems and while it wasn't the same, it was just as cool as the first time you built the Millennium Falcon out of Lego. There was little lego versions of Darth Maul, Chewbacca, and all my favorite locals from the new trilogy were present. It was a great day, that was only triumphed by the release of the Original Trilogy. With those releases I had a conversation with a group of friends about what modern day classics should be recreated in the Lego Universe. The game I played this past week was one of those suggestions.
Lego: Indiana Jones is just as it sounds. A Lego game that allows gamers to relive the events from the three Indiana Jones films, but this time, in full HD. I know that last line sounds a little out of place, I mean, could the graphics in a game about Lego really be improved that much from the last generation? The answer? Yes they can. From the minute I entered into the first level, I was immediately impressed with how much they improved the graphics engine. The environments are filled with stuff to smash like the Star Wars games, but this time it just looks more crisp and enjoyable. Each character is modeled to look like super-deformed version of who they're representing, and it kind of makes you wish the Star Wars titles were built from the ground up to be played on the Current-Gen systems.
The general gameplay in Lego Indiana Jones, is still pretty much the same. You run around a level, build Lego objects, smash Lego objects, attack enemies, and get rich or die trying. Well, not exactly die because in the Lego universe, you can never truly die. You have hearts representing your health but after playing it for a couple of hours, you'll ask yourself "Why bother?" When you die you just lose a couple of the collectible Lego pieces used as currency and respawn on the spot. It kind of takes away a good chunk of the challenge, but when you take the major demographic into consideration, I could see what they were going for. A nice easy game to pick up and play without getting frustrated. It works.
Each movie in the trilogy is broken up into several levels with different environments for Indy and his entourage to explore. The scene with the big boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Heart ripping scene from Temple of Doom, and the chase scene from Last Crusade. It's all in there, and it is instant nostalgia for anyone who has ever been a fan of the series. One of the big setbacks in terms of going from Star Wars to Indiana Jones, has to be the fact that I didn't really want to play as anyone else but Indiana Jones. As you go through the game you can unlock a ton of new characters, but when it really came down to it, I kept switching back to Jones. Not a huge deal, but when you have about 10 different versions of Indy to choose from, you quickly come to the realization that the developer had a hard time filling out the roster.
For fans of the John Williams score from Indiana Jones, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find it pretty much intact. Everything is recreated perfectly, and with each and every stage you're treated to one of the better treatments of a licensed property. Too many movie to videogame translations have been finding their way to store shelves with straight to game music, but with any of the Traveller's Tales titles, they've taken the time to get it right. It adds that extra level of polish in a game that doesn't necessarily need to be immersive at all. It's pretty sad when a game focused around little Lego men running around gives you a better sense of "being there," than games that really need it.
While the initial game will only take you about 6-9 hours to play through, like the other Lego games, there is plenty to do after that. There are a ton of characters to unlock, and thankfully each of them has a use to help you on your way to achieving a 100% completion. For those of us that have OCD, we are once again given some extra levels if we so choose to take on the task of wanting to do everything in the game. There's some Young Indy levels, some special Lego themed ones, and a ton of extras to unlock that will change how the game plays. Add on Achievements if you're playing the Xbox 360 version, and you have yourself a game that you could spend nearly 30-40 hours on. That's alot of Lego.
Is Indiana Jones worth it? At the time I am writing this, I have already saw the game on the shelf for $40 on sale, and it is most definitely worth $40. After playing through Lego Indy, I can safely say that I am getting a little burnt out on the formula. It works, but not enough is really changing with the gameplay to keep me coming back for more. I was cool up until I was near the end of Lego Indiana Jones, and while it is no fault of the game, it's just a fault of the standard set by the Lego Star wars games. If this is your first Lego themed game and you're a fan of Indiana Jones, then I say that you should check it out. If you're not really familiar with the movie, I would suggest checking out "Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga," in stores now, or "Lego Batman" later on this year. If you are one of the thousands of people who played the Lego Star Wars titles to death, then I don't know if I can recommend Lego Indiana Jones too highly. It's a relevant title, but I don't see it really being worth a purchase. Pick it up if you get a good deal, or just wait for a series that you really love. I have a feeling that there is going to be many, many more movies and games that get the Lego treatment.
*cough* Matrix trilogy please *cough*