LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo Wii U, 3DS  and PC

The Dark Knight rises…

Developer Traveller’s Tales took its first Lego Star Wars game (released in 2005) and built a virtual empire, taking the biggest movie and comic book properties and churning out popular titles for players of all ages, from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to Marvel and Pirates of the Caribbean. What’s especially impressive is the company’s ability to build sequels to existing franchises, dreaming up new ways to extend the brand. That brings us to the third instalment in the Lego Batman series, appropriately called LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.  Fans will discover a brand-new story and levels centred around the DC Comics Caped Crusader and other popular superheroes and villains, with controls that’ll feel instantly familiar. Ultimately it’s more of the same, but considering how feature packed and polished this game is, that’s definitely a good thing.

To infinity and the Batcave

This time around, Batman and Robin blast off into space to stop the diabolical mastermind Brainiac from vaporising the Earth. Space levels are a first for the Lego Batman series, and the developers take full advantage with a cool space station-style board, as well as familiar locations to comic book fans, most notably different Lantern worlds like Odym and Zamaron. You’ll also explore more famous DC Comics locations, such as the Batcave, Hall of Justice and Justice League Watchtower.

Similar to previous Lego games, Beyond Gotham is all about the various heroes and villains you can unlock. Before long, you’ll say goodbye to Batman and Robin in exchange for the Flash, Scarecrow, The Joker, Deathstroke, Superman, Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing. You’ll even unlock 1960s Batman, voiced by the iconic Adam West, and the Hollywood cameos don’t stop there.  Not only does Troy Baker reprise his role of Batman, but director Kevin Smith and late night host Conan O’Brien voice their video game personas. Neither of these guys are part of the DC Comics mythos, but we’re glad to see them all the same.

In the Lego tradition, you’ll need to unlock the 150 plus characters and then replay levels to access previously unreachable areas and grab new items. Control Swamp Thing to burrow into and locate items buried underground, or switch to Lex Luthor and summon a minion to help him in battle. Some characters share abilities, yes, but there’s so much content you’ll constantly find something new. Factor in the many vehicles (Bat-Rocket, Bane’s Tumblr, Green Lantern Jet) and this only adds to the value.

On top of that, the game includes a plethora of fun suits to try on that imbue selected do-gooders or evildoers with different abilities, beyond what they already possess.  The Arctic Suit, for example, comes with a cool freeze cannon, while the Giant Suit provides fire resistance and super strength. Keep in mind only specific characters can wear these outfits. The Demolition Suit is exclusive to Batman, Cyborg and Joker, and the Helmet Suit can only be worn by Robin.

Save the world with a friend

You’re free to enjoy LEGO Batman 3 solo, which gives you the opportunity to hoard all the bricks and secret items. However, the game shines in couch co-op, where you and a friend team up to solve the many challenges and pummel enemies. While not a new feature, the screen automatically splits when you wander too far apart, untethering you from your mate.

For the most part though, and predictably, LEGO Batman 3 falls back on concepts we’ve experienced in countless efforts from Traveller’s Tales.  Collecting Lego studs and keeping an eye open for bouncing blocks (a clear indicator you can build something) are but two features that remain constant nearly 10 years since the aforementioned Lego Star Wars game appeared on store shelves.

Bat-tastic adventure for the whole family

Whether or not this sounds appealing is a matter of personal taste. Even with the addition of space missions and costumes, LEGO Batman 3 still has a been there/done that vibe that’s become common with all Lego games these days. Traveller’s Tales doesn’t mess with a proven formula, and while some players may have grown tired of it years ago, it’s as close to a sure thing in the video game industry, an experience ideal for people of all ages, especially with parents interested in joining forces with their kids. Of course, DC Comics fans benefit the most, with one of the more comprehensive comic book games to come along in recent memory.

GAME's Verdict: 8/10

The Good

  • The best looking environments in the Lego Batman games.
  • Over 150 heroes and villains from DC lore to unlock
  • Local co-op is still addictive

The Bad

  • Still feels like past Lego games, which is both good and bad.

Published: 14/11/2014

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