The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Cartoon Network series, The Brave and
the Bold’s comedic overtones will hit you over the head like a hammer.
This is especially true if your only frame of reference is Paul Dini’s
grim masterpiece Batman: The Animated Series. Both the cartoon
and game take a lighthearted approach to crime fighting more in tune
with Adam West’s live-action show from the ‘60s. Cheesy one-liners are
thrown as often as punches, but they elicited genuine laughs on my end.
Listening to Batman and Robin’s thinly veiled jabs is a treat, as is the
absurd opportunity to see Commissioner Gordon in cat form.
Brave and the Bold breaks down into four episodes. Every segment starts
with Batman and his respective partner in a bind – a new character for
each episode – only to escape moments before the opening credits roll.
All four episodes follow an arc of mystery, discovery, confrontation,
and ultimately the defeat of an iconic DC villain. Diverse and lengthy,
the episodes balance a cast of lesser-known characters with DC’s more
recognizable faces. For every Catman there is a Catwoman, for every
Gentleman Ghost a Hawkman.
The Brave and the Bold is a
side-scrolling classic brawler with tight controls and an expansive
library of moves. Light and heavy attacks are augmented with grapples
and throws, a variety of aerial moves, special attacks, and the ability
to call in support characters for powerful room-clearing combos. Wii
motion controls are used sparingly, which I appreciate. Heavy attacks
are initiated by shaking the Wii remote, and special attacks with a Wii
remote/nunchuck shake combo. A ground pound attack also uses a quick
flick of the controller, but that’s it. No incessant flailing.
best way to play Brave and the Bold is with a friend. While
single-player offers the same basic experience, the support character
isn’t particularly helpful. Expect to do the heavy lifting. The AI isn’t
fantastic outside of combat, either. At one point Hawkman attempted to
follow me through a treacherous path of platforms above molten lava,
only to fall to a fiery demise over and over again. I sat there and
watched until the amusement wore off.
Each character has unique
melee attacks, special abilities, and upgradeable tools. This
multifaceted approach allows players to tailor combat to their liking.
You could focus primarily on hand-to-hand combat, or opt to upgrade your
gadgets instead. I often used my triple Batarang to push back groups of
foes before initiating a flurry of attacks. Explosives are also
effective, particularly if you herd groups of enemies into one area
before detonating the blast. Most items also have practical applications
that can help solve the simple environmental puzzles.
fighting performance earns you money to purchase new abilities and
upgrades. You receive more cash for maintaining hit combos and
destroying environmental objects. Conversely, you can also empty your
purse by dying repeatedly. The game keeps track of individual scores
during co-op, but the pot is curiously shared at the end of each
chapter. Player one gets to decide where all the joint money is
allocated, which is a strange way to handle the finances. Making Batman
your primary focus for upgrades is a smart move since he’s involved in
every mission, but making sure your co-op pal stays engaged is
important, too. You won’t unlock Batman’s complete library of tools
until the end of the game, encouraging players to return to finished
chapters and explore previously unreachable areas.
controls and cheeky humor make Brave and the Bold an easy recommendation
for bat and brawler fans alike. Accessible and entertaining, it’s also a
perfect fit for family play.
Batman: Brave and The Bold won’t appeal to everyone. If you can’t
stomach a version of Batman who smiles at Robin’s lame jokes, chases
ghosts through London sewers, and briefly gets turned into a cat by
mystical jewels, then walk away now. Brave and the Bold has all the
humor and youthful charm of the cartoon show, and I loved every minute
of it. WayForward has crafted a side-scrolling action title in the
classic vein. It may not be very challenging, but I never grew tired of
the combat, which offers a variety of combos and super attacks despite
the simple one-button attack system. However, it would have been nice if
WayForward included the option to play with a classic controller. The
game’s four episode-like missions were over in a flash, but the game’s
hidden secrets and different playable characters give me reason to
replay this game with a friend.