Game Review – Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Golden Axe, Double Dragon,Final Fight, Streets of Rage and more I’ve always been a fan of scrolling beat-em ups so that was always  going to be a big tick in the plus box for Batman Brave and the Bold: The Videogame when it was announced. The downside was that unlike those other games Brave and the Bold also fell into that dubious category of game tie-in, in this case the tie-in being the popular cartoon series of the same name. I was worried as the majority of game tie-ins especially ones based on a comic book character (Superman Returns I’m looking at you) generally don’t have a great reputation but after seeing some of the trailers and footage I hoped that Brave and the Bold was going to buck the trend. In terms of presentation Brave and the Bold scores high in my book but there are some flaws that may lessen it’s appeal to gamers not familiar with the show on which the game is based.

I almost need to review this game on two levels; one for those who are fans of the cartoon series and those who have never watched an episode and just view this simply as a game.

The first thing that stuck me about Brave and the Bold is how much attention to detail there is taken from the TV show. The developers have a clear love for the source material and have tried hard to recreate that experience for the gamer. Some of the comments I’d heard before getting my hands on the game were that it almost felt like playing out an episode of the show on your Wii and for the most part it’s a pretty accurate assessment. The game retains the fun, campy and stylish elements of the show with some nice, if basic, gameplay elements which make it easy for anyone to pick up and play which fits in nicely with the Wii ethos.

Like the cartoon you get to team The Dark Knight up with some of the best the DC Universe has to offer. You start out with the traditional Batman and Robin team up (and if you’re playing  the single player mode you can choose to play as either) but that line up changes as you progress through the game. You can either go the solo route with an AI sidekick or get a friend to drop in/out of the game at will which is a nice touch. So far I’ve only played with an AI sidekick which is ok but I’m looking forward to giving this a go with a human player.

The Wiimote offers you the usual arsenal of beat-em moves. By shaking it you can unleash more devastating attacks and moves. You also have the option of calling in a third hero (you can choose the third hero before the start of a mission) to  deliver  a power up move to your enemies before disappearing while you wait for their power up meter to recharge so you can reuse them.

In between missions you can visit the Batcave and buy/upgrade new gadgets before tackling another level.

The graphics, animation and voice work are all top notch for the wii and don’t look too far removed from the cartoon itself. There are great cut scenes throughout, although once you’ve used the special/power moves on often once and you get the obligatory cut scene you could get fed up of seeing it time after time (for the record I didn’t). The voice banter between characters is constant throughout the levels which is to be expected seeing that the whole premise is a superhero team-up game. However I was so focused on kicking ass that I could not always hear what was being said so I probably missed out on some good one liners.

To put my critical hat on for a moment the game can become repetitive pretty quickly but that’s an argument you can level at most scrolling beat-em ups old and new alike. I mean I loved and still love Golden Axe but essentially you just beat the crap out of the same guys (or skeletons) in front you and used magic every so often.  I  know the deal I’m getting with this type of game so if the idea of kicking the living batlights out of wave after wave of villains doesn’t appeal then this game may not be for you.

For more hardcore gamers I would definitely give this game a rental first to see how you deal with the repetitive and basic nature of the game. I think there’s still a lot of fun to be had with this game if you’re  a fan of the show, especially if you see it going cheap.

Any gaming parent who has young kids that love the show or perhaps just want to introduce the world of Batman and the DC Universe to them (before hitting them with Arkham Asylum once they’re older) then this would be a good buy.

I’ve been playing the game every chance I’ve got and after I’ve finished my session  I’ve had a big grin on my face so it must be doing something right.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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