Top critical review
184 people found this helpful
on November 19, 2009
My son and I enjoyed the original LEGO Indiana Jones immensely and were very excited about the sequel. We preordered it months ago and counted down the last few days until it arrived. Unfortunately, this game lacks any of the charm or fun of the original.
There are a ton of lengthy cut scenes and simplistic levels. Unlike the Star Wars, Batman, and Indiana Jones (original) games, there is not a single base where you can buy stuff, see the artifacts you have collected, and choose to replay any of the levels. Instead, you wander around composite levels for each adventure with huge green arrows showing you where to go to enter one of the levels. Except when they don't show you the big green arrow and you are instead left to wander around until you happen to trigger a new level -- the whole thing makes no sense with no clear progression.
Within a few hours of starting, my son had already run into a bug that prevented him from being able to complete a level. One of the on screen characters magically teleported himself outside of his prison cell, and once there could no longer run to the back of his cell leaving you the opportunity to grab the key from him. After much frustration, I convinced my son that he had to quit the level, abandoning his progress, and return. Sure enough, when we returned to the level the bug was resolved and we were able to grab the key and move on. The Batman game showed similar quality assurance defects -- such as random lockups -- and this game is following the same downward trajectory.
The levels we have seen this far are largely free of puzzles. They generally involve smashing everything and collecting studs. The treasure chests that were so much fun to collect in the earlier game are not present here. Apparently there are some chests that can be collected in the base levels, but those are a tiny fraction of the number of puzzles in the earlier game.
Instead of puzzles, we have seen a number of levels where it is completely unclear what you are supposed to do. Sure, we run around smashing stuff, but collecting studs won't get you out of the level. Instead, you'll see icons for some number of vehicles that you need to destroy, but apparently there is some special way you need to destroy them in order for it to count. We have already seen two such levels where we have destroyed every vehicle we saw but for some reason those didn't count -- you had to be in the right vehicle (presumably mirroring the movie?) when smashing those other vehicles for it to count. For a child who doesn't think like a programmer, this is ridiculously frustrating.
One of the features we most looked forward to was the ability to split the screen so that two players could each explore different areas of a level. Unfortunately the implementation of this is so bad that it is actually a detriment to game play. When the screen splits, the programmers wanted to make sure that it could seamlessly rejoin, so they are always adjusting the perspective of the two halves so that they line up with one another. This means if you are standing still, lining up for a tricky jump and your partner is running around in another area, your half of the screen will rotate to reflect your relation to the other player and you will jump in a direction that you hadn't expected. Worse, the screen always splits with a diagonal line, which looks nice but makes it impossible to see where you are going when you need to drive upwards in one of the vehicle levels. It really feels like they advertised this feature before fully testing it... if they tested it at all.
When we preordered this game, we gave our copy of the Original Adventure to one of my son's friends, figuring that the new game would be a superset and include all the content from the prior game. Not so. Once we unlocked Raiders of the Lost Ark and tried starting that, we were horrified to discover that they had deleted the Temple Escape scene, replacing it instead with a lame cutscene where Indy tosses the idol to Marcus and a giant boulder rolls over him -- in the college.
Finally, a warning to parents. LEGO made the _same_ mistake with this game that they did with Batman. When my son discovered the Batman game, he really wanted some of the Batman sets, but LEGO pulled them all off the store shelves at about the same time and the aftermarket prices are absurd. This new game features the Crystal Skull and a lot of sets from that movie... just when LEGO has discontinued them and is selling off the remaining stock! So if you do buy this for your child, be prepared for the disappointment both in the game, and in the fact that it is a glorified advertisement for products that you won't be able to get your kids.
The worst thing about this game is explaining to my son that the problems are with the game, not with him. When he runs into bugs, levels where the objectives are completely unclear, or insanely hard challenges, he gets extremely frustrated and angry with himself. If you want you child to grow up with positive gaming experiences, skip this one and get a Mario game instead.