Lego Indiana Jones 2 (At Last, Lego LaBeouf)

The first Lego Indy is the only Xbox title in which I have 1000 Gamerscore. Naturally, I’m interested in the sequel, but all of the reviews I’ve read do a terrible job of explaining exactly how much of the new game is a retread of the first. I know we have all new Crystal Skull levels (I pray for vine-swinging monkeys) but what about the first three movies?

Will I be running from the giant boulder again? And if so, is it the exact same level from the first game? The same level, but tweaked a bit? A complete ground-up re-imagining of the level? I can’t tell. Shia alone will not be sufficient motivation for me to purchase the game. Has anyone played it yet?

Would like to know too. My son loved the first one and is already asking for this version.

I believe that all the levels from the original trilogy are entirely new, nothing has been carried over. However, the bulk of the game focuses on Crystal Skull, so the ratio divide between the four movies is far different from past Lego games. So expect a scant few levels from Indy 1-3, while Indy 4 has a massive campaign to tread through.

I haven’t played the game yet myself, this is just from what I’ve learned from previews and video reviews(ie. Gametrailers).

I never played the first one but I have this one. Crystal Skull has three “worlds” while the first three films only have one each, so it’s as big as the other three combined. Raiders starts with you handing the idol to a guy back at the University (and then him getting chased by the boulder, heh) – the opening temple isn’t represented at all. You start at Marion’s bar, then you’re in the desert town meeting up with Sallah. It does claim that all the levels for the original movies are new.

My wife and I bought the game. We’ve played through all of the previous Lego games in co-op to 100% completion.

That said, we felt like the original Lego IJ was probably the weakest Lego game of the bunch – shoddy in a few key areas. Lego IJ 2 seems much better so far, though we’re only an hour or two in.

They’ve mixed up the top-level formula for the first time in the series, i.e. no more playing the game once in Adventure mode then again in Free Play mode. From what I can tell the levels are individually shorter, but there are many more of them. And when playing through any given ‘movie’, the levels tend to roll right into one another fairly smoothly.

They also changed the ‘hub’ formula to be a bit more interesting. Hubs are a mix between the old small hubs and the bigger bonus puzzle levels of previous games. They’re now bigger, and have a small bit of ‘open world’ feel to them, for lack of a better term. From what I can tell, you no longer look for the 10 hidden containers and 1 red brick in every level. Instead, levels seem to be more for raw completion and filling out your stud bar, while hubs are for exploration and hunting down collectables. But I haven’t completely figured out the new formula, and there’s a collectable type or two (like Treasure Chests) that I haven’t seen yet.

But the most important new feature is probably the way it automatically splits the screen when playing co-op. If the two players wonder away from each other, a seam magically appears in the middle of the screen. For the first time in the series, players can freely wonder wherever they want within a given ‘room’. It’s actually very graceful and very awesome. I assume every Lego game from now on will have this feature, as it solves what was probably the biggest problem with co-op in the franchise until now.

Ahhh! That is a great change. My kids gave up playing co-op in IJ1 because of this. Two headstrong kids wanting to go their own way and no split screen is baaaad.

Oh man, it was SO bad. All the Lego games have had this as their biggest co-op crippling issue.

This new system is actually pretty impressive to behold. One second it’s all one screen. And as you move away, the seam appears between the two players so gracefully, that if you’re only staring directly at your own character, you could not even notice it appeared.

Even cooler: Let’s say player 1 moves left and player 2 moves right, then they move clockwise 180 degrees. The seam will rotate between the players, and then if they move closer together, you will see the backgrounds will eventually just happen to line right back up and the seam will just cease to be. This really is a huge step forward for the franchise.

Between that and the new meta-game formula, I’m more stoked than I expected to play more, and I find myself quite eager for Lego Harry Potter.

The cheats are unlocked for purchase directly from the hubs by collecting the colored bricks. Each hub seems to have ten red, ten blue, and ten green, and collecting all of a color will unlock a cheat for you to buy. And the special bricks seem to be all found by destroying a certain type of object – in the first Crystal Skull hub (spoilers?) you get green bricks from cacti, red bricks from hydrants, and blue bricks from multicolored flowers.

Treasure chests are unlocked by replaying levels or finding hidden ones within the hub. After you beat a story level it unlocks “treasure mode” which is a different level in the same area where the final goal is a treasure chest. These are like the free play levels of old but you can only take two characters in with you – it will warn you if you don’t have the right mix to complete the level, e.g. one requires a female character and a character with a wrench. There are also hidden levels that end with treasure chests but don’t require specific character skills. Collect all ten treasures in a hub to build a special object and unlock one of the million-stud-collecting bonus levels.

Sweet, thanks.

So am I right in assuming there’s 90 levels (+hubs and bonus levels) in IJ2? It seems like there’s 15 levels/movie, and 6 movies. But I’m not really far enough in to know if I’m grokking things correctly.

If so, damn, that’s a lot of content. Even with the shorter levels.

There are only three movies. Or four, if you’re lenient. But not six.

Yeah, that count should be right. And there is an actual free play mode according to the manual, which I guess gets unlocked later. Any character, any level. And don’t forget the level editor.

Wow, this sounds great – thanks for the information everyone.

Aren’t there three movies (the original trilogy) plus the fourth movie split into 3 chunks? For a total of 6 movies/chunks with 15 levels each?

Or do you know something I don’t?

Missus and I are very much enjoying co-oping Indy 1, now that I’ve just found out that Indy 2 has a fair bit of stuff from the first three movies I might have to sneak this into the Xmas stocking this year…

Sidenote: I got a very excited txt from the missus last night saying she just saw an ad on TV for Indy 2 and saw something about building your own levels…? Can someone elaborate on that? Something a kin to to Little Big Planet’s level sharing system would be nice. I don’t have the patience or time for it, but amazing what people out there come up with.

The level-building feature is something they’ve advertised pretty heavily, and there are a few of the game’s achievements dedicated to it.

That said, I really have no interest in that feature, unless it somehow leads to me being able to download high-quality levels from someone else. I do enough work on games during the day – at night I’d prefer to play them.

Nah, sorry, misread.

I’ll be the naysayer: It’s the weakest of the TT Lego games, by far. (tl;dr coming up – sorry about that.)

The levels are almost all a single big room, often just a brawl or boss fight. You no longer get to explore each level to find hidden secrets and items; all that is done on the movie hubs, and since the view is pulled back so much, exploration becomes trivial. (Instead, revisiting a microlevel presents a second ‘treasure chest’ challenge specifically designed for two different characters.)

The movie hubs themselves feel big and empty, even after you unlock several characters. Since each movie has its own hub level (Crystal Skull gets three), the game is disconnected as a whole. And since everything in a movie is now accessed on one big level, you no longer feel like you’re globetrotting – Shanghai is apparently across the street from India. It looks like someone set up a bunch of Lego playsets in your backyard. This may be deliberate, but levels should not look like Lego playsets. They should look like what we imagine when we play with Lego playsets.

They changed controls for vehicles, and it’s atrocious. Cars and trucks rarely go where you want them. The camera has an annoying tendency to position itself such that trees and leaves in the foreground block your view of whatever the hell you’re character is doing (probably getting your truck stuck between two rocks).

The little things are disappointing too. The cut scenes feel rushed and confusing, and no longer evoke the pacing and drama of the films. (Yes, drama. Compare them with the cut scene at the beginning here, which combines parody with the beats in the original movies.)

There are bright spots. As others said, the split-screen multiplayer works very well. And the memorable TT Lego whimsy returns a few times, such as <SPOILER>the refrigerator house at the nuclear test site, or the fight for the Cross of Coronado with Mr. White Suit on a stormy ship</SPOILER>. But overall, it feels like the team that did the previous games all retired, and they passed it on to their children who just didn’t get it. If you have a hankering for a Lego Indy game, get Lego Indy 1 first.

I’d happily accept all those problem just for the split screen alone.

The way you could drag the other player around in previous games was maddening, at least when playing with kids. It was great that my kids could play together, but not-so-great that I constantly had to intervene and sort out arguments when they did anything other than cooperate perfectly.

Same here. I refuse to buy another one of these games for my kids until they figure something out.

… they finally did figure it out this time Rob. As noted by myself and others above, the split-screen in this game is extremely well done.