Friday, June 15, 2012

Demo Round-Up 3: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and The Amazing Spider-Man (3DS)

Update: Today's second planned post will be made public tomorrow.

I'm going to do something special today that is rare for SuperPhillip Central. I'm going to be posting two unique articles in one day. The first is this, a couple of demo impressions for two recently added demos on the North American Nintendo eShop. Perhaps I go into more detail than necessary and certain details may be off thanks to going off by my memory, but these impressions and walkthroughs of the pair of demos should give you a good idea of what to expect.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (3DS)

The demo starts off with a cutscene showing the Gotham City Man of the Year Awards. Lex Luthor (voiced by Clancy Brown) who thinks he has the award wrapped up sits at a table with Bruce Wayne who goes on to actually win the award. Before he can get to accepting it, however, The Joker crashes the party with a cavalcade of some of Gotham City's most notorious villains such as Harley Quinn, The Penguin, and The Riddler. The group's goons begin robbing the rich denizens at the ceremony blind, including Lex Luthor who sees potential in The Joker saying that the two will see other again.

Soon, I got control of Batman and partner Robin in the ceremony room, which is a two section area, the floor and the stage on top. After dealing with several henchmen, I broke a nearby device on the northeast side of the area which allowed me to use the parts of the device to build steps leading up to the stage. More tenacious twerps were put out of commission, and I was met with the presence of one Harley Quinn.

The boss fight against Harley Quinn was easy peasy as all I had to do is when she spins her giant hammer is to use the Batarang (used by holding a button and dragging the icon over my intended target, in this case, Harley Quinn). As her health dwindled past half, she leaped up to the stage and moved between two columns, swinging from the poles set in between the columns change sides and columns. Now, the goal was to use my Batarang to hit a red and white target on the side which Ms. Quinn stood. If she was stationed on the left, I'd hit the left target to shock her with some painful volts. If she stood on the right platform, I'd smack the right target to put her out of her crazy misery. Soon she was defeated, and a trapdoor opened in the center of the stage for Robin and I to fall down.

Perhaps this is a good time to discuss the controls. Switching between Batman and Robin is performed with one of the face buttons, attacking with another, one can jump and then press that same button while in the air to glide and descend slowly, and another button controls the special weapon or power such as Batman's Batarang.

After falling down the trapdoor's hole, I was greeted with the message saying Harley Quinn was defeated. Back to jail with you, my pretty. It was now The Riddler's turn for some pain and swift justice. I could tell this because I was introduced to a fairly simple puzzle. Hitting three targets, all sitting side by side in a horizontal row above a closed door of sorts, opened up the compartment below it and showed a series of four multi-colored notes shown on a musical staff. There were five instruments in the room each of a different color as well, so it seemed logical that each note shown on the staff corresponded to what order of instruments I should play. This puzzle changes each time, so I can't pass it by simply remembering the order of which instruments to press A on.

After solving this puzzle, the compartment revealed a chute that Batman, being his big, busty self, just couldn't fit through, so I switched to playing as Robin. I went through the chute and wound up in a basement area. I destroyed a box to reveal pieces to a ladder which could quickly be created by Robin. If only real life LEGOs were so easy to build with! Batman climbed down the ladder to join me in the basement area and we were met with two levers to pull. Apparently, both needed to be pulled simultaneously, so I was glad to have Batman with me. We did just that, and the path to the next area was revealed through a once-locked door.

Entering the next area, I fended off a series of Riddler grunts and then the area was mine to explore freely. A secret area that could only be opened with the help of Superman meant I wasn't getting through there in this demo. I tried going right (the way to go), but a camera each time would see me and the door would then shut tightly. I guessed I couldn't go that way... yet. A section in the northwest corner of the main room allowed Robin to make multiple wall jumps up it to reach a high catwalk. I broke an object when I was on top to reveal a series of small blocks that could be built to make a grappling hook point for Batman to use to reach my level. As Robin, I then used multiple poles to swing across a gap and made a platform move outward to allow Batman to cross. I then switched to Batman as there was a pad of sorts with his logo on it. Standing on it, Batman's suit transformed. Instead of the special attack button being a Batarang, it now allowed Batman to cloak himself. I used this ingenuous technology to slip past that aforementioned camera undetected, through the door, hitting a switch behind a panel of glass to shut the camera off, allowing Robin to freely pass through as well, and moved on to the next area, a battle with The Riddler.

The Riddler fight had three boxes to choose from. Using Batman's new suit, I could stand before a box, press a button, and see through into the inside. If the box was empty, I needed to move away or else get hurt by a falling object. If the box had The Riddler in it, the villain would jump out, take his beatings alongside his henchmen, and the process would then repeat. Defeating Edward E. Nigma would make him drop a keycard, giving me access to the next area.

This area had even more baddies to battle, who went down quite easily. What followed was me destroying a big statue that fell down into multiple parts. One part revealed blocks that could be used to built a way to reach the top balcony of the room where two pulleys rested. Both Batman and Robin pulled these and the way to the next area was open, the battle with The Penguin.

Perhaps "battle" is a misnomer as I didn't even touch the "fowl" character. Instead, a plethora of small mechanical penguins popped out of boxes, slowly moving towards me. Touching them proved idiotic as they exploded on contact, killing me. Instead, I used my Batarang to daze one, picked one up, and tossed it at one of the failing supports of the balcony The Penguin was standing and taunting on. Doing this tactic on all support columns sent The Penguin crashing down in a messy heap. The path to The Joker was finally ahead of Robin and me.

The final room of the demo had the boy wonder and I met with explosives destroying our way back. We were in this to the end now. After relinquishing some thugs, I moved to the right side of the room, obliterated a vending machine, and used the pieces to build a new contraption on a wall. Robin twisted and turned the object all he wanted, but nothing was working. Then, as Batman with his ability to see through certain walls, looked through a silver door by the device I was turning as Robin. "Turns" out that I needed to line up a series of pipes of sorts by turning the two knobs on either side of the door as Robin. I did just that as Batman's faithful companion, and The Joker showed himself, though sitting on a machine that spewed out missiles.

The fight itself was very simple. Dodge the missiles that Joker shoots intermittently, and then chuck a Batarang at the machine to damage it. Do this enough and then Batman and Robin get the last laugh. Or do they? The end of the demo showed a scene having Joker escaping via a speedboat. We'll get him next time!

LEGO Batman 2's final version-- at least on the 3DS-- will not have the open world gameplay of its bigger brothers. This might sink the 3DS version for me pending the Wii version has that gameplay as both versions are the same price ($39.99 while the PS3 and 360 versions are $49.99). Regardless, I could see how cutting out the filler of driving or riding from place to place could offer better pacing. We'll see, I guess. Overall though, I really enjoyed the demo, but it's important to note that I've only played one other LEGO game of this style and that was on the 360, so I don't suffer the same amount of burnout from the franchise as others might.

The Amazing Spider-Man (3DS)

This demo, limited to only ten tries, starts off with Felicia Hardy (who would later be known as Black Cat) holding up a bank (oh, how cliche) and pointing a gun at the bank's president. Mishandling the cowardly man, Hardy pushes and kicks him before she coerces him to follow her plans. Cue Spider-Man. The demo allowed a number of strategies to be had at the start. I could go down immediately and fight the henchmen infesting the main lobby of the bank, or I could utilize a huge hanging chandelier and drop it on the thugs in the center of the floor, making a grand entrance (and causing lots of property damage). I opted the chandelier route, dispatching two goons in the process.

Combat consists of throwing punches and kicks at opponents. You can press and/or hold the A button to fire webs to hold foes until they break free. Though, dodging is relegated to touching the right side of the bottom screen, which is a questionable decision at best. When you have a goon with a gun, you must constantly tap the dodge button to continually roll out of the way. Not so easy when you must also be on the offensive, too. It's silly to me because there are plenty of buttons and inputs on the 3DS for the dodge mechanic to be put on one of them. Did Beenox, the developer, really need to have the L and R buttons as well as the d-pad control the camera when L and R could have been used for simpler dodging and evading?

Meanwhile, Web Rush is a technique that when the button is held down, surrounds the screen with a purple glow. Spider-Man can then target specific enemies or areas and quickly sling towards them. For actual web-slinging, all you need to do is press and hold the jump button. This feels nice, swinging around areas, though it IS pretty hard not to get THIS concept right. Something not right, however, is the obnoxious Call of Duty when-you-get-hit-the-screen-around-you-turns-ugly-painful-red-and-stays-that-way-until-you-heal-up.

Anyway, after removing the lowlifes from the room, my next task was to take a vent in the president's room, located on the upper level, to the next area. More thugs to take out followed by a trip through the subway tunnels to catch Ms. Hardy. Arriving in an area with multiple columns, I had to do battle with her. The encounter had Felicia firing shots from her gun at me. Simply running around and using a column to use between Spider-Man and Hardy worked to avoid getting blasted. Of course, I couldn't just stay in defensive mode. I used my webs to ensnare the rowdy woman, beat her to a pulp, and then watched her various acrobatics allow her to escape. This gameplan continued for a couple of more rounds until she changed up her tactics. She now threw down a smoke bomb and hid around the arena. If she spotted me, she would taunt and then move to a new location. Very annoying, but then I figured out that she couldn't see me on the ceiling. An effortless Web Rush attack to spot and then hit her a few times made her mince meat. Spider-Man then apprehended her and I was tasked with taking her to the entrance of the bank by backtracking through my previously explored areas.

The demo didn't allow for upgrades to Spider-Man's suit which will be in the main game. Experience points gained by combos in combat, taking out multiple foes, finding hidden magazine strewn about the given levels, and taking photos of the Oscorp logo on various items all add up to give Spider-Man new upgrades. What I played was okay, but with reports of other players falling through floors and getting glitched scenarios, I think it is safe to say that I don't think I will be taking the full retail version of The Amazing Spider-Man on 3DS out for a spin.

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