Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review
I tend to get hold of a Lego Game around Xmas time because I enjoy playing two player co-op with my other half – it's one of the few games she really likes. And Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is another great reason to continue this tradition!
If you have ever played any of the previous Lego titles over the past few years then getting stuck into the gameplay is as simply as putting on a pair of your favourite slippers, as the mechanics have not changed a great deal since Lego Marvel: Super Heroes.
Thus you will once again be bashing down Lego objects to collect studs with OCD bliss, attempt to solve puzzles with a variety of default characters, before replaying the levels again in Freeplay mode to get all the mini-kits, save Adam West, grab a Red brick and get True Hero status!
Of course until you get through the main story or explore places such as the Batcave/Justice League's Watchtower, most of the 250 characters will not be open to you! Hence half the fun involves discovery.
Once again you play initially as Batman and Robin, but this time the Justice League are involved - a band of heroes put together to save the planet from domestic and off-world threats! This allows the game to move away from the confines of Gotham city - thus providing more varied/colourful landscapes.
You start off trying to stop the Joker, who has joined forces with Lex Luther, Killer Croc, Firefly, Cheetah and Solomon Grundy. However the plot twists on its head in typical Lego fashion as Brainiac (a sinister android) arrives and he has nabbed the leaders of the Lantern Corps (Green Lantern for example) and brainwashed them. The aim? Well to cut a long story short he creates a shrink ray which he can use to shrink Earth in order to add this to his collection of planets – he is quite mad you know!
Of course you (Batman/Robin) and your team of Justice League heroes, which includes Cyborg, Wonderrrr Woooomannn and Superman are there to stop Brainiac, save the world and restore world peace!
The last part about world peace was made up, but suffice to say the story is engaging enough to keep you entertained for the duration; though it wont take too long to complete the main story as it revolves around 15 levels with three sections in each level.
Once again each character has their own unique abilities which can be used to open up special Lego bricks (silver, gold, magnetic and glass). These are mainly used to begin with in order for you to progress through the level, but as with most Lego titles some of these can't be opened unless you return in Freeplay mode (unlocked after completing the level in story mode) and this is where the replay value comes in to play (more on this later).
However unlike other titles, this time in Batman and Robin’s case you can earn power-ups, which simply involve getting hold of new suits, such as a spacesuit - so Batman can fly and shoot laser beams (useful for taking out special golden Lego bricks). While Robin can earn a hazard suit so he can walk on hazardous waste and suck up debris that can then be used to power machines in order to progress (or again unlock special bricks).
All of this adds to the fun and it's exciting/entertaining earning new abilities.
Each level is also beautifully animated and colourful, especially on the Xbox One version I bought, and kids will love this no end! Voice acting is also used to a high enough standard.
However the one aspect that never fails to bring a smile to my face is the humour that is thrown into Lego titles and Lego Batman 3 has plenty of this! I especially love the use of sound effects when Superman or Wonder Women start to fly, because you get their theme music kick in!
Yet for me it’s the inclusion of Adam West that adds the most comical value. Adam West is of course the actor that played the original Batman In the 1960s TV series and he adds another element to proceedings.
If you find the hidden bonus level in the game, the one titled "Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!" this allows you to play as the latter 1960's Batman character, with a comic strip theme at the start and voice narration from Adam West. Not to mention a brilliant retro TV setting thrown in. Of course when you start to fight the sound effects and those retro captions are all there to! Its worth the price of the game on its own and I would gladly pay for an entire Batman game based around this, as it was genius!
While the game may not take to long to complete (in terms of the story mode), the whole point of Lego games is their replay value and this has it in spades!
Bearing in mind I have played the whole game in co-op mode, me and my other half managed to get 100% after 35+ hours of gaming. To get 100% we had to get 250 characters, all the mini-kits, all the vehicles, True Hero status in all levels, rescue Adam West (a whole host of times), gain all the Red and gold bricks etc.
This requires you to re-visit the main story levels in the aforementioned Freeplay mode. Freeplay mode simply allows you to use any of the characters - with their abilities - that have been unlocked previously, in order to find the special bricks.
This will involve talking to NPC's to attempt more side quests. Quests basically involve many of the elements found in the main game so they will be easy enough to attempt, but similar to Lego Marvel: Super Heroes these will range from simple fetch/return item quests, to taking out a set amount of enemies. However to break things up you can also attempt flying and ground based racing challenges (via theLantern home planets). Mind you these challenges are equally as frustrating at times as they were on the Lego Marvel game, but on the plus side they are a little more forgiving this time round.
You even get to explore the Batcave and Watchtower, which is really cool, but this also provides the ability to take on virtual mini games to collect more gold bricks, characters and vehicles. These mini games revolve around classic games such as Pacman and Snake!
So all in all great fun! But my only gripes with the game are the placement of the small Batman help symbols that litter the level. When you hit the Bat symbol they reveal useful info to start with, but after a while I kept hitting them by accident during combat and this gets annoying.
Also most of the Lantern planet quests take on the same formulae which can lead to repetition; luckily most of them are fun to attempt.
But the main bugbear is still the camera angles, especially with the dynamic camera mode used in coop. While it is a vast improvement over some previous tiles in the series I still found it fiddly to target special Lego bricks or to land/walk on a platform. As a result I tended to die (loosing my hard earned studs) a fair few times.
Mind you to help you do get a small circle on the ground to showcase your position and for the most part the angles can be combated when you work together in true coop fashion (i.e. you make sure the coop player is at the same point in the level or you can always use the fixed view).
Despite the gripes, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is still as addictive as all the other Lego titles I have played in the past and one that I absolutely love playing in coop mode (yes, even with the camera angles)
There is humour, colourful graphics, tons of replay value and more importantly loads of fun to be had! So if you have not yet jumped on the bandwagon I definitely recommend you do so now!