LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – WB Games – Travellers Tales – 1-2 Players – Out now on 3DS/PC/PS3, 4, Vita/Xbox 360, One/Wii U (version tested)
LEGO Batman 3 has a lot to live up to. Following the decent Marvel and Hobbit LEGO games, it has to up the ante on the vast expanses that were the big apple and Middle Earth. Having already seen Gotham, in the arguably best game in the series so far, LEGO Batman 2, the game certainly delivers on its subtitle. Although the game kicks off with the dynamic duo chasing down Killer Croc beneath Gotham’s streets, it soon opens up into yet another massive adventure involving the super line up of the Justice League. Lex Luthor has yet another dastardly scheme to become president, which involves several of DC’s meanest villains, including the clown prince of crime, The Joker. The scheme is to take over the Justice League’s Earth orbiting hide out, the Watchtower. Coincidentally, at the same time, intergalactic super villain Brainiac, has targeted Earth to become part of his museum of miniature trophies using his mind control powers and shrink ray. Having already harnessed the power of the galactic defenders, the Lanterns, he is now powerful enough to capture our planet. Having no choice but to work together, Lex, Joker, Solomon Grundy et al have to team up with the Justice League to save the Earth from this celestial menace.
The gameplay is standard LEGO gameplay. Each level is filled with bricks to kick, punch or shoot, and you collect as many of the LEGO studs as possible, while solving puzzles, beating up bad guys and finding canisters, as well as further progressing the story. In addition to the standard levels, you have the hubs, which in this case are the Watchtower and Batcave, as well as several bonus hubs accessible throughout the game. There’s some excellent bonus levels, too. A particular favourite being the one based on the 60’s TV show, and it’s voiced by Adam West himself. The level is full of the camp fun that made the TV show so enjoyable, from the terrible dialogue (that Adam West seems to relish delivering once more), to the groovy music, and not forgetting the wonderful sound effects when the caped crusader is getting into fisticuffs with henchmen, even with the violence masking ‘POW!’, ‘THWACK!’, ‘BAM!’ etc that fly out with each hit. There’s also the usual vehicular levels as you come to expect, but these are different to how they normally come, instead adopting the Resogun style 2.D side to side shoot-em up look. This does make a nice change to the usual driving/flying levels, as yet again another LEGO game comes up with something different from the last. There are also VR training style vehicle levels as well, which help you to unlock more gold bricks.
There’s loads to be getting on with in this game, as with all the other LEGO games, you’ve got Free Play as well as the Story levels, meaning you can revisit the levels you’ve already played through to collect anything you may have missed, in particular the minikit canisters and studs. Free Play mode allows you to do this with all of the characters you have unlocked or purchased with the studs you collect throughout the game. The amount of characters featuring in LEGO Batman 3 is ridiculous. There are more DC characters included than you’d know what to do with. There’s your well knowns such as Superman and Wonder Woman, right through to the obscure characters that probably feature as bit parters in the comics themselves. Personally I’ve never heard of Condiment King or Cheshire prior to playing this. There are some other characters that feature in the game, including film director Kevin Smith and American TV host Conan O’Brien. The former I get, as he has had his hand in comics before, including a run of Green Arrow stories, but I’m not quite sure why a chat show host is playing part in this game.
The game looks great, as the LEGO games usually tend to, and the visual style is very colourful and vivid. Each of the Lantern levels that are in the game are visualy striking and rather reminiscent of the excellent Green Lantern movie (I was one of the 5 who liked it, alright?)! Once again Danny Elfman’s score is used throughout the game, with the addition of John Williams’ excellent Superman theme whenever the man of steel takes to the skies. In addition to that, we’re treated to the Wonder Woman TV show theme whenever the Amazonian princess takes flight, too. There are lots and lots of nods like that scattered throughout the game, which are a nice little bonus when discovered, and as usual, the game is full of the wit and charm you come to expect from the series. Another great thing about this game is how much there is to it. LEGO Marvel was vast and crammed with content but it did get dull when it came to unlocking everything, whereas you can sink a good 20+ hours into this game and still want to come back for more, making it more than value for money. On top of that there’s also going to be some movie based DLC available, including the Dark Knight movies and Man of Steel which will have more levels based on the film as well as the character models from the movies, and that’s not to mention the Arrow pack that is incoming, too. You will get to play as dreamboat vigilante Oliver Queen!
It’s been nearly 10 years since the first of these LEGO games was released in the form of LEGO Star Wars, and it’s fantastic to see that the series is still going strong, with LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham being up there as one of the best releases to date. As it’s a family game it’s not the most challenging of titles, but what it lacks in difficulty, it more than makes up for in fun.