Batman and co are back in another LEGO action-adventure. After the fantastic previous LEGO Batman title, is Batman again up to the task of stopping more evil? Or does he fall flat in his quest for greatness? Read on to find out.
Game: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
(review copy provided)
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham sees Batman and other super heroes join forces and blast off to outer space in search of stopping the evil Brainiac from destroying planet Earth. Brainiac is using the power of the Lantern Rings to shrink worlds to add to his bizarre collection of miniature cities from across the universe. Its up to the likes of Batman, Robin, Superman and some rather unexpected allies to join forces and stop Brainiac before it’s too late.
From a graphical standpoint, those that have played any of the previous LEGO titles, will see a familiar looking title with LEGO Batman 3. While it’s never going to push the hardware it’s running on to its limits, it’s still a pretty game in its own right with its own quirky take on the world that’s been created. Characters and locales are extremely detailed with recognisable characteristics.
The iteration that I played of LEGO batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the PS4 version, and while it has a slight edge on the newer consoles compared to previous titles on the PS3 and Xbox 360, it’s not as big a leap graphically as some would expect. Nice looking, but nothing that makes it really stand out as such when comparing it to the last generation of hardware. It has a cleaner and sharper look to it, but besides from that, its familiar stuff here. Thats no bad thing though, as its still a nice looking title, but just don’t expect to be blown away by how it looks as the LEGO titles have never been about the art and how they look overall.
If there were ever a video game with bucket-loads of nostalgia chucked in, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has it in droves. Not only is the likes of Troy Baker (Batman), Christopher Cory Smith (The Joker) and Laura Bailey (Wonder Woman) amongst others, brilliant in the game with their voice acting, but for you comic book and movie fans out there, the game features some of the most iconic audio ever heard with the likes of the Superman theme from the Richard Donner movie, the score from the original Batman films and also the theme music from Wonder Women as well and its all brilliantly crafted and executed in LEGO Batman 3. One example of this is when you take control of Superman and make him fly. Do just that and the original and one of the most recognisable themes in film, kicks in and its just fantastic to hear such a brilliant score in all its glory. Remember 1960’s Batman, Adam West? Yep, he’s in it and even voices the classic Batman himself. Nostalgia over load. Besides the nostalgia, the game as you’d expect, has some fantastic music that all ties into the LEGO Batman 3 universe brilliantly.
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a familiar feeling to those that have played any previous LEGO titles from TT Games and at first glance, it may feel a bit stagnant and ultimately, stale but the magic of the LEGO titles is their ability to grab you and pull you in to the magnificent worlds that are created and LEGO Batman 3’s world and its characters are far better than anything else that we seen in previous titles. Yes, its more of the same, smashing, building, collecting etc in an action-adventure format, but thats always going to be a staple of the LEGO games as its one of the main mechanics in the game and one of the things that make the LEGO titles very popular. One of the biggest improvement itself though, are the characters and the variety between each. One of the biggest gripes I personally had with LEGO Batman 2 is the fact that it took an age before you had the opportunity of experiencing the full roster of the DC characters and that alone put a lot of people (including myself), off a little. This thankfully doesn’t happen with LEGO Batman 3 though and thats a great thing. Without going into spoiler territory, you start off with Batman and Robin, but before you know it, you are in control of the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and even Batman’s favourite, Alfred the butler! This really helps the story and your enjoyment as it keeps the experience moving at a steady rate, while also keeping it fresh and exciting.
For those that have been wondering if the control mechanics have changed at all, they haven’t but in all honesty, they don’t need to be. Each character is responsive and all have their own skill-set that includes anything from smashing through walls, to using sonar and just like previous iterations in the series, puzzles need certain characters abilities before they can be completed. Its familiar stuff from a gameplay mechanics point-of-view.
If you were wondering if LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham features the humorous tone of its predecessors, then thankfully you will be very happy as it does and it does on a frequent basis. One thing about LEGO Batman 3 and its humour was although it seems more subtle in its approach, the timing was nailed on every time and this is down to not only the voice acting, but the team that dedicated their time writing and developing the script for the game. One moment that caught me off guard and was brilliantly done was when I was in control of Wonder Woman with The Flash in tow. All of a sudden, Flash then starts doing push-ups at a ridiculous speed and without any indication. The comedic timing was fantastic and these little flashes of brilliance pop up through the game. LEGO Batman 3 has humour in an abundance and with its usual charm, it all ties into a package that will suit gamers of all ages. The children will love the fact that Batman and Superman are in a game, while the adults will enjoy it for what it is and thats a very entertaining game.
There are some fantastic chapters within LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and some of the best that have ever featured within any LEGO title and thats down to not only a brilliant design by the development team at TT Games, but like I mentioned above, the variety in the characters. One section of a chapter that I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing when it popped up, was when Batman took on a spoof level from Resogun. Yep, RESOGUN of all games!
While for the most-part, I’m very positive about the game, it’s not all great unfortunately. One of my biggest gripes with the game is the dynamic camera which at times can be extremely frustrating. Sometimes it can be a bit of a loose cannon and seem to have a mind of its own. This is something that maybe can be fixed through a patch, but at present it can be a bit of a mess. Thankfully, it can be turned off, for those that wish to do so.
Besides the main story-mode campaign (that will run around the 8-10 hour mark), LEGO Batman 3 has an array of extras to give the game, replay value. These consist of a co-op mode, unlocking new characters, collectables that are dotted throughout the environments and also a Freeplay mode. Freeplay mode gives you the option of completing sections (for more collectables) that weren’t possible previously because you didn’t have the right character unlocked first time round to complete the task. For those that wish to complete the game with 100% (around the 15 hour mark), there is more than enough here to get stuck into thats for sure.
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a fantastic and brilliantly crafted game that not only improves upon the previous title, but betters it in every single way. This game has charm, nostalgia and humour galore, but most importantly it’s fun. Everything comes together superbly, with the gameplay hitting all the right notes. It’s the best LEGO title released so far. Superb.