IGN Review of LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
It seems that LEGO games will never stop coming out, despite the fact that after a good half-dozen major console releases and plenty of portable variants, the formula hasn't changed much. LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is the latest release, and though it's also available on all the major consoles, the PSP and Nintendo DS versions of the game offer a completely different, and unfortunately worse, experience than on other platforms.
The basic formula is nothing new. You enter a chapter of the story, smash everything around you into bits, solve some simple puzzles (which usually involve moving objects around), collect a ton of LEGO studs and then go out and buy new characters, cheats and all that good stuff. At its heart, the core gameplay of running around and smashing everything is still entertaining to some degree, though as I alluded to at the start, we've played this scenario plenty of times already.
What separates the portable versions of LEGO Indy 2 from their console counterparts is that the main story takes place entirely in the fourth film, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There are throwbacks to the first three movies, though these bits are delegated to one-off challenges (four for each of the four films) that sort of remind you of classic scenes. They're not straight-up homages, however. You'll find yourself collecting studs on a rocking boat, which is supposed to be a throwback to the opening of The Last Crusade, for example. These challenges reward you with golden hats, which are the game's take on the usual golden treasure chests (which eventually work to unlock more content for you).
The issue with LEGO Indy 2 on the PSP and DS is that it's simply boring and the controls are very wonky. The level design is incredibly boxy, making for uninteresting environments to travel through, and as most of the areas are rather small, there's not a lot of exploring to do. While there are spots to come back and try again when you get specific characters (certain people can dig, climb, cut ropes, for instance), it's a very linear experience that really feels like it's just inching you along to the next area.
Worse though are the controls. Jumping isn't as responsive as it should be (there's a short pause between pressing the button and actually jumping), so some platforming sections can be rather annoying. In order to grab a rope and swing from it, you need to be spot on. Just being near it isn't good enough; you have to perfectly collide with it. Pushing objects is very hit-or-miss, and so on and so forth. It's just not nearly as polished and refined as it could, and should, have been.
In terms of DS-specific controls, you're not getting much here. As the game was designed from a high level for both the PSP and DS, practically all of your actions can be done with the D-Pad and face buttons. You can optionally swipe your thumb on the bottom screen to do things like lift other players and objects, swing your whip and that sort of thing, though all of this is much more easily done and much more responsive with the actual face buttons.
Collecting secrets in LEGO Indiana Jones 2 is generally handled well, and while the unlockables list is much shorter than what you'll find in most console LEGO games (there are only nine red bricks to collect, for example), there is plenty of stuff to find. In order to unlock the challenges, which then in turn earn you golden hats (though only a portion of what's in the game), you first need to venture off and find map pieces. This tree-like system is kind of cool and handled well, though a lot of the secrets are delegated to areas outside of the main story. Still, it'll keep you coming back for a bit.
On the presentation standpoint, you're not really getting a whole lot of video here outside of the opening movie, so pretty much all of the storytelling is done through text and simple images. The pictures are well drawn and are humorous enough, but the text is about as mundane as could be. I didn't expect a ton here, mind you, but this could have been much more entertaining. At least it tells the story well enough, I suppose.
One welcome feature is that both versions feature local WiFi play for two players, though game sharing isn't supported so you'll both need copies of the game. It's nice to see it included here as that hasn't always been the case in the past.
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