Review: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
The LEGO game series has progressively got bigger and bigger. At first they were very linear affairs but the Batman series of LEGO games have been propagators to improving the franchise in every way. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes added in an open world and voice acting for the first time, let alone expanding the cast to crazy proportions. Subsequent games like LEGO City Undercover, LEGO Marvel and LEGO The Hobbit games have developed this further, refining each area between them a little further. So how does the series which has seemingly already reached it’s maximum potential development go from here?
As hinted at the end of the previous entry, Beyond Gotham takes the Caped Crusader into space to fight Brainiac. The villain has been shrinking cities using the powers of the Lantern Rings, allowing him to add them to his dastardly collection. But now that’s not enough and wants to shrink entire worlds, starting with Earth! Of course, Bats and the rest of the Justice League aren’t going to let that happen so off they go into a fun and exciting tale that even sees other villains joining forces with the Justice League to stop Brainiac. An entertaining twist which does makes sense. After all if there’s no world to take over, what fun will Lex Luthor have?
All in all the game is as amusing and entertaining as you’d expect from TT Games, ranging from the little in-jokes only fans of the characters will get to the broader slapstick comedy that people of all ages can enjoy.
There’s very little I can say about the gameplay of this game without repeating myself. It’s like describing the differences between how Call of Duty plays. There’s a few slight differences such as the new, little mini-games thrown in here and there but otherwise it’s the same old LEGO games. You either love the games or you don’t due to the simplicity of the game and all the handholding that goes on. If you do like previous games and not fatigued of the series yet, there’s 45 missions played across 15 chapters that will keep you entertained for many hours, and that’s before you even mop up all the collectables.
There are a few new gameplay elements in the game, including a space battle that’s not unlike Resogun which keeps things a little fresh amongst all the brick smashing. It’s as deep as a paddling pool during a hose-pipe ban but still, it doesn’t bring anything negative to the game so all is well.
Even though the game features more than 100 characters from the DC Comics universe, including the obscure ones that fans of the comics, there’s nothing new and essentially reskins of the Marvel characters from last year’s instalment. Alfred the butler is essentially the same as Captain America, just a silver platter replacing the shield. But as always it’s the story and style that brings these LEGO titles to life and that continues to remain the case.
The standard series co-op fare remains where you can play as one of the at least two characters on screen at once, assisting with puzzles. Perfect for parent and child to enjoy but the game is as easy to play with two people as it is with one, it just saves you a few minutes per level as you don’t have to keep switching characters. It’s fine for kicking back, but still too shallow an experience for some people.
The presentation gets better and better with each LEGO game. Improved and more substantial voice talent, crisper graphics (helped by newer hardware) and overall game design. Troy Baker returns as Batman which others actors returning to their roles from the previous game, such as Christopher Cory Smith’s The Joker and Laura Bailer’s Wonder Woman and Catwoman. As a treat for the fans TT Games have bought in Adam West as ’60s Batman which is simply brilliant.
It’s always been obvious that TT Games love and respect the source material and that’s no different here. TT Games simply do not put a foot wrong when it comes to creating their LEGO games as every possible aspect of the comics and characters shine through in the game. It’s still not the most polished game around as there’s sometimes the odd glitch or getting stuck in (or behind) scenery. But on the whole these Batman LEGO games are as faithful to Batman as the Arkham games are.
To sum up
Another quality LEGO game that continues to amuse and entertain with its humour, love of the source material and simple yet enjoyable gameplay. There’s nothing new to pull you into trying the game if you’ve stayed away from previous LEGO titles, but will be loved by those that can’t get enough of the series/DC Comics.
Version reviewed: PlayStation 4
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox one, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita and PC.