Batman: The Brave And The Bold (Wii) Review

September 20, 2010 at 12:57 AM | Posted in (All Posts), Reviews, Video Game Reviews | Leave a comment
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Batman: The Brave And The Bold is a game where you play as Batman and you beat up bad guys. It shouldn’t take very long to figure out the appeal for the game.

The side scrolling beat-em-up developed by WayForward Studios is exclusive to the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS. The game is based off the cartoon show of the same name and features all of the same characters and voice talent featured in the ongoing series.

For review purposes — I need to mention that the version I purchased and reviewed was the Nintendo Wii version. Both games play as a 2D sidescrolling fighter and share gameplay similarities, although both games do have their own unique storylines and individual characters that can be played as (aside from Batman).

This game captures every element of the cartoon to an unexpected amount. After setting up your save file, the game jumped right in to the intro from the show. There are four “episodes” that are a collection of boss-fights and levels, along with short animated clips in between. Each “episode” focuses on one or more major villains taking on Batman and one of his superhero friends. You’ll go everywhere from the streets of Gotham to the outer space sectors of the universe, plus everywhere in between.

Right as you turn the game on, you have the option of training (learning controls) with the superhero known as Wildcat Ted Grant. The seasoned veteran of boxing and crime fighting walks you through the controls and teaches you everything from backflips to uppercuts to using your Batarang. It’s a really unique “training level” that helps you learn the controls while still being grounded in the essence of the show.

Only one control scheme is offered and that is by using the Wii remote and nunchuck. Anyone who has played a beat-em-up in the past can easily figure out the controls on their own. Walking from side to side is done by steering the analog stick. Most of the time you will just be hitting the A-button to punch and the B-button to jump. Pressing the Z-button throws a quick projectile, while holding in the Z-button lets you point the Wii remote at the screen and manually aim where you want to throw your projectile. Shaking the Wii remote and nunchuck at certain times lets your character pull of a special move. The 1-button can call upon an extra hero (like Aquaman or Green Arrow) to come and perform damage to all onscreen enemies.

A huge appealing factor to this game is the multiplayer. Almost each episode of the cartoon has Batman and a random superhero companion working together to fight a supervillain or group of supervillains. This formula plays out the same in the game. One player can control Batman, and if you have a friend with another Wii remote and nunchuck, they can play as the second character. Even when playing by yourself, you can always chose to play as Robin over Batman or Blue Beetle over Batman, but the second character will always be present — even if it’s just controlled by the computer.

Most of the “episodes” play out like so: Batman and partner fight waves of enemies as they progress forward in the levels. Various platforming sections and small puzzles show up now and then to break up the combat. Fight the boss (main supervillain) once — sometimes multiple times — and the episode ends after their defeat.

The better you do in pulling off combos, the more coins you collect. Coins appear when you defeat enemies or break objects. The higher your combos on hurting enemies, the more coins that appear. These coins can later be used in between levels to upgrade your gadgets (Batarangs, Explosives, etc.).

Every controlled character has his own life and energy bar. The energy bar depicts how much energy you have to pull off special attacks, while the lifebar shows how much remaining life you have. Should your character run out of life, you don’t really die — you just respawn — but lose 100 coins in the process. If have no coins to spare or you fall off screen, you simply restart the level from the beginning or the most recent checkpoint.

I simply could not believe how much of the humor was translated from the show into the video game. WayForward Studios managed to get every voice actor for each character from the show to duplicate their part in the video game. The jokes and the not-so-obvious details from the show somehow come across just as well in the game. It really feels like you are playing a video game without ever becoming distant from the thought of watching an episode.

Is the game fun? Yes.

The game plays like one of the best beat-em-ups on the market. The Wii control style is not taken advantage of, but the game is so simple it needed not to. Motion controls are only used to pull off special attacks and are done with one simple gesture in any direction.

The length of the game is surprisingly long for a beat-em-up. To complete the game in one sitting is near impossible. Each “episode” can last you anywhere from 45 minutes to almost 2 hours. With 4 unique episodes in all, the game can take you 4 to 5 hours to beat. That’s not bad considering that most games that are simliar don’t even go past an hour.

The only complaints I have come in the visual presentation. WayForward did a great job with character sprites and the level design, but some parts of the game look better than others. In between episodes, you have the option of navigating the Batcave with the Wii remote. The graphic here are just bad — I don’t know how else to say it. It really looks like the background for this part could have been on the DS. I’m not expecting some 3D visual masterpiece out of this “point and click” Batcave, but I am positive that they cut some corners here. It could have looked a lot better. The quality for actual clips from the cartoon is pretty low. It looks OK and it doesn’t take anything away from the experience, but it’s not nearly as good as the quality on an actual episode.

Control wise — I really had no complaints. Pressing the – (Minus) button to grapple gets a little old. It would have been nice if they would have given you the option to customize the controls yourself, or even give players an extra control scheme at all. I love the Wii remote and nunchuck, but it would have been a lot of fun to play this game with the Classic Controller Pro or the Gamecube controller.

If you are a fan of Batman: The Brave And The Bold as a cartoon, you will love this game. Even at the $40 dollar price, this is a beat-em-up you can return to again and again. The essence of the show is captured in every way possible, and the gameplay is just too much fun to pass on.

The game does not do anything groundbreaking and it does not do anything new. It takes a formula that has worked well in the past with superhero games and applies it to today’s generation of consoles. Some gamers may feel like this kind of game could have easily been downloadable had it been on the XBox 360 or Playstation 3. I’m not going to argue that the game would or would not fit as a digitially distributed game, but I’m so thankful that I have a physical copy of this game to play — and on the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo represents a collection of innovation and nostalgia for great things of the past. This game really brings me back to playing something like the Konami beat-em-ups on my Super Nintendo. I think WayForward made the right choice by puttting this game out as retail for the Nintendo Wii. It just feels like the right fit.

B:TBATB never tries to be anything more than what it is on the surface. This is based on a cartoon where the Dark Knight and his superhero buddies go to every corner of the DC Universe to take on the most colorful villains around. WayForward Studios managed to make a game that is good enough to be associated with the show and also be a fun video game on its own.

And did I mention it’s a beam-em-up game with Batman? How can you go wrong?

Batman: The Brave And The Bold for the Nintendo Wii gets an 8.0 out of 10.

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