Straight up brawlers just don’t cut the mustard in today’s gaming world, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold attempts to mix things up a bit in different ways; some work, others do not. The boss battles have a fair amount of variety, but aren’t particularly challenging, either. One fight, a SHMUP style tussle against a giant alien starfish in outer space, is easily the highlight. Some light exploration elements and environment interaction break things up, too. It’s the story and voice acting, though, that really makes you want to keep playing.
The voice acting in Batman: The Brave and the Bold is incredible. Many of the same actors from the show are featured in the game. Couple this with the fact that the cut scenes are of very high quality, and you’ve got what amounts to bonus episodes of the cartoon. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Batman and his partners. Robin teases his mentor mercilessly about his soft spot for Catwoman. Blue Beetle has a hilarious conversation with Batman about what makes a good archenemy. The Hawkman scenes focus on the trials of getting older (as Hawkman is an older hero in the show). Best of all, for a longtime comic book fan like myself, was the interaction between stoic Batman and arrogant Guy Gardner, with a whole slew of Green Lanterns making cameos, too. You can tell much attention was paid to these elements, and the game is very entertaining as a result.
There are a few blemishes in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, though. There’s very little in the way of challenge; death means nothing but an instant respawn. This is one of the easiest games you’ll ever play. I’d estimate our time playing the game at around seven hours total, a bit low in my eyes. A survival/challenge mode adds a bit of additional value, but not much. I was also somewhat disappointed that Batman only teams up with four others; more heroes appear, but only as special room-clearing summons that are on a recharge timer. While you can choose which “call in” hero you want for each level, you can’t pick your main co-op partner. There's not much gameplay interaction between players, at all; a team-up attack would have been ideal. I should also note that I was unable to test the interaction with Bat-mite, which requires a DS copy of Batman: The Brave and the Bold to use.
All told, the game is very enjoyable, especially for fans of the characters. There is a high level of fan service that will have the target audience giddy with delight. The production values are incredible, notably the show-accurate art and voice acting. The gameplay itself is somewhat lacking, as if the developers were clinging too tightly to the retro brawler formula. It could have been far, far worse, though. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is no Arkham Asylum, but it’s no reason to think the Batman game curse is back, either.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a friend as Batman or Robin in the game based on the cartoon network show of the same name.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.