It's been six years since Traveller's Tales first brought LEGO Batman
to our gaming consoles. After making a reappearance in LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
, LEGO Batman is now back for the third time in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
, and he is bringing more than a few of his friends along with him. With over fifteen LEGO
games now available across Xbox One and Xbox 360, TT have to make sure each release is better than the last. This time round, we've got more characters than ever to play with, and there's a whole universe to explore as we adventure into space. So the question is does Batman and friend's next instalment improve upon past LEGO
experiences, or do the ever present glitches and grinding nature stop this from being a must play game?Beyond Gotham
hasLEGO Batman and Robin journeying into space, and joining forces with various friends and foes to help stop the evil Brainiac from shrinking all of their worlds. With nearly 150 characters included in the game, there's plenty for both avid fans and gamers largely unfamiliar to DC Comics. It's hard to avoid Batman and Superman, but there are characters who will be lesser know to the wider audience such as Plastic Man, Booster Gold and Killer Moth amongst others. The massive amount of characters reveals a little something for virtually every gamer, with plenty of new and old characters combing a variety of skills and suits. The various character suits can now be changed with a simple press of a button, and any unlocked suit can be scrolled through and chosen, such as Batman's Sonar Suit, Space Suit or Arctic Suit. This gets rid of the need for searching levels for appropriate suits docks and helps this game move along quicker than the previous ones. These suits are used throughout the levels for mini games and puzzles. Furthermore, in the main levels you are even prompted to change to the appropriate suit or character which you need to progress. This may be helpful to gamers new to the LEGO
franchise, but veterans may get annoyed with the constant nudges.
Whilst the game has Bat-Mite hints which can be hit for a bit of guidance, you are largely left to figure the levels and puzzles out for yourself. This works well for the most part, although some of the help is often one extreme or the other. For example, at a level where you want to collect all the studs for True Hero
you might be constantly badgered to change into a suit to progress, where as in a level where you are genuinely stuck, the help is often hard to come by. The balance doesn't seem quite right, but for the most part when there are a limited amount of characters to choose from, the right suit or skill makes itself known eventually. The puzzles and mini games are not too difficult, and are interesting and exciting. From jumping across blocks in a Tron
-like world to unlocking coded doors to digging up shark repellent from a small garden as Solomon Grundy, there's plenty to keep you entertained in between breaking blocks and collecting studs. Boss battles have also been largely improved upon and have you wondering what the next encounter will be. Without spoiling the fun, it's easy to say that the game definitely doesn't scrimp on the detail and intensity of boss battles.
Gamers familiar with the previous LEGO
games will be reminded of the past games everywhere they look. You'll be finding the red bricks in the levels to unlock stud multipliers and similar things, whilst gold bricks and mini kits can also be found and earned this time around. The characters themselves look sleeker and shinier, with a high amount of detail being put into their faces, bodies and emotions. You have to admire the ability it takes to make a LEGO person show a wide range of emotions, and LEGO Batman 3
leverages those emotions during the story, making it an important part for the characters to show. What you can also see is how well the characters have been made to look and act like their comic book counterparts. Whether it is Robin misunderstanding a joke or Joker singing "I've got the whole world in my pants!", it's evident that TT have put in a lot of effort to each and every character included in the game.
The levels themselves are also bigger, and the choice of hubs has increased. With three main hubs, and no less than eight Lantern hub planets to explore, there's plenty to keep you busy. Whether it's the Superman statue in the Hall of Justice, or Batman's computer in the Batcave, there's plenty to look at wherever you go. If you get bored of simply walking, jumping and breaking items, there are also vehicle and flying parts to a number of the levels, which helps to break up the less action filled parts. You are forced through the story for a while, but eventually can jump into free play and explore the levels and hubs fully. You can also then use the select button to head back into a level you have already played, change to a different hub, or simply start the next level, which is much more convenient than running round looking for where the levels begin. The wide variety of levels and hubs also means that the achievement hunters looking to collect everything and unlock all of the characters will be able to stay more entertained as the game features more hidden areas to explore whilst looking for those all important blue and purple studs.
You'll be unlocking characters through natural level progression, and most of them will be usable straight away. There are central story characters, such as Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Joker and Cyborg, while other characters will have to be unlocked by exploring and finding side missions from said character. There are more than enough missions to keep you busy, whether it is searching with Bat Girl to find blueprints, helping Super Boy and Super Girl gather up tourists, setting up Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing or becoming Bat Cow's new sidekick. You'll need to purchase these new characters with the masses of studs that you have collected, and once owned you can switch between them easily in any of the hubs with the press of a button. You'll be able to explore and get to grips with each of these new characters quickly enough, and while their abilities may vary, they each essentially have very similar abilities. For example, Martian Manhunter and Plastic Man can both sneak through certain places, with Robin and Lex Luthor can both wade through nuclear gunk in their hazard suits.
There are lots of little touches that help make this game great. It might be the impressive voice acting (Adam West, Conan O'Brien and Kevin Smith to name a few), the recognisable music from old Batman and Superman, the theme tune for Superman and Wonder Woman playing as they fly around, or simply seeing your favourite obscure DC hero or villain being brought to life. Unfortunately, as with past LEGO
games, we are met with a few glitches. The game features many of the same problems of its predecessors: having levels a little too easy to fall off of, big, unbreakable objects that you can get trapped behind, and second characters simply getting in the way. In addition to legacy bugs, LEGO Batman 3
does pose a couple of new problems. Whilst fairly minimal (I encountered only the two during the playthrough) these are still irritating especially as one meant restarting a level again completely from the start when being right near the end. Hopefully this is something that will be fixed with patches and updates in the future, possibly as future DLC is launched, but this shouldn't put off and purchasers as the problems were very few and far between.
The game's achievement list looks very familiar if you have played any of the previous LEGO
games in the series. You will have your easy to obtain achievements, for completing levels and finishing the game's bonus level
. The grinding factor returns, and for achievements hunters wanting to complete the game you'll be spending a lot of time buying characters and collecting studs for 100% in the game
. Along the way you'll be pairing up certain characters
and exploring the world
. A fairly short list with only 40 achievements, but each of the DLCs have been adding an extra five achievements, and with another three DLCs on the way, it will end up fairly lengthy.
Whilst the LEGO
games may not be to everyone's taste, it is hard not to enjoy the exploration, comedy and adventure of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
. With simple controls and easy-to-run-through levels, this is the perfect game to get into the LEGO
franchise if you haven't played any of the previous titles. Veterans of the franchise will find the small but important improvements a welcome incentive to jump back in. Whilst the game isn't perfect, it definitely isn't far off. Every element of the game is of high quality, and if TT had just managed to iron out the glitches and sort out the camera angles, then this game would be beyond amazing rather than just great. It is definitely recommended that you see past the little problems the game experiences, and take the time to join Batman, Superman and the other DC heroes and villains in exploring their LEGO world once more.The review spent approximately twenty hours kicking arse, exploring space, collecting studs and saving the world, earning 31 of the main game's 40 achievement (excluding DLC). An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review