|System: Wii, PC, PS2, X360, GC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Traveller's Tale||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 24, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that Legos are one of the greatest toys ever invented. Millions of children, including myself when I was younger, become enthralled by the endless possibilities for creativity that Legos provide. In recent years, the Lego brand has infiltrated the video game industry with their hit Lego Star Wars series and more recently with Bionicle Heroes. It then comes as no surprise that Bionicle Heroes has found its way onto the popular last-generation port dumping ground known as the Wii.
Bionicle Heroes is a third-person shooter that borrows the aiming system that was pioneered by the groundbreaking Resident Evil 4. Otherwise, Heroes is a Lego game through and through. While playing Heroes, players will find the familiar tasks of collecting Lego pieces, canisters, and using Legos to build your way through the game's minor puzzle elements. Basically, Heroes is just Lego Star Wars minus the Star Wars and platform jumping with a greater focus on gunplay.
You will start each level with a few characters and will be able to find masks to unlock all six characters. Once unlocked, players can switch between characters with the simple press of a button. Each character has a different weapon and special ability. The weapons are fairly interchangeable for the most part, but with the variety available, you will likely find one or two that suit your play style. The special abilities, however, are often quite vital to proceeding through each level. One character can walk across water, another can climb walls, and another can use a force-like ability to build things out of dancing Lego pieces.
Players move their character using the analog stick, aim by pointing with the Wii-mote, and fire using the B trigger. While this usually works fairly well, on occasion the Wii-mote aiming can feel rather sluggish and unresponsive. This is painfully apparent when swarmed by groups of enemies. You will often turn too slowly to keep up with the movements of your nearby foes. Luckily, the game has a slight work around for this issue. One character's gun pops out a mine that will explode and kill enemies in a large radius around the initial blast. When the motion-based turning fails you completely in a crucial firefight, just unload a giant explosion from this gun to regain your bearings.
By destroying the enemies and the various obstacles that litter every level, you will collect Lego pieces. These work as currency used to unlock hints, bonuses, and to upgrade your characters. While the hints and bonuses can be useful, but usually not, upgrading your characters is essential to your survival. Each character can have their defense, weapons, and special abilities upgraded. There is no shortage of Lego pieces to be collected in Heroes, but players will still need to make intelligent decisions about which characters and abilities to upgrade early in the game. The hints and bonuses are fairly useless and can most likely wait to be unlocked until all of your characters have been fully upgraded. That is, unless you can't wait to see a robot jump off a diving board into a pool of water. Yeah, I don't really get it either, like the rest of this game's 100 simplistic and forced jokes about how Lego characters can fall apart.
The graphics in Heroes are fairly decent but do little to actually push the Wii's capabilities. It comes off, as with many recent Wii ports, looking like a slightly prettier PS2 game. Perhaps the best example of good graphics found in Heroes comes from the various effects involved with firing the game's many weapons. Unfortunately, even these are hampered by having to use them to kill hundreds of similar and ugly looking enemies. The sound, on the other hand, is quite good. The orchestral music played throughout is upbeat, inspirational, and really energizes the player. Great sounding gun shot effects also mix perfectly with the sound of Legos clacking against one another as your enemies are reduced to their base components.
Overall, this game can be slightly frustrating, yet ultimately, a somewhat enjoyable experience. My biggest complaint about this game comes from its sheer reliance on repetition. Each one of the game's six worlds, broken up into four levels each, play out in exactly the same fashion. Level one starts with an evil robot finding a random lifeless robot and inserting a worm into its mouth. The lifeless robot then springs to life and becomes the end of level boss. Level two has you complete a random objective that angers the evil robot. So then in Level three, the evil robot finds a meaner robot for you to battle at the end of the level. Once all of that fails, you will have a final showdown with the evil robot at the end of level four. After you defeat him, you will then have to fight another robot named Vezon, who sits atop a giant Lego Spider. This formula, while initially fun, quickly becomes painful to both watch and play through.
As a huge fan of the Lego Star Wars series, I was really disappointed with this game. Heroes basically just copied and pasted the Lego Star Wars formula, but took out the likeable characters and tacked on sluggish Wii controls. Jokes that were once humorous and endearing now fall flat because of a complete lack of character development for all of the games many indistinguishable characters. When the only differences between your game's characters are the gun they carry and the color of their armor, you know the characters are virtually interchangeable. Still, if you don't mind the sluggish controls, ambiguous characters, and mind numbing repetition, Bionicle Heroes can still provide a limited amount of enjoyment for a brief time.
CCC Freelance Writer