LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham review
It’s more Lego Batman… what’s not to love?
After playing way too much LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO Batman 2, I’m ready for a change of scenery. And a change of scenery I got. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham blasts players into outer space, and with that comes new characters, suits, enemies, storylines and locations.
My review comes with a disclaimer, though. I’m playing the entire game in co-op with my five-year-old son because he loves the following things: LEGOs, Batman, LEGO Batman 2, the LEGO Batman 2 movie, all of the members of the justice league, and playing video games with me.
Right off the bat, we are whisked into outer space as we watch several of the Lantern corps converge at the same location and start battling each other, until they wonder who it is that called them. Brainiac appears and captures them by controlling their minds, as he hopes to harness the power of the Lantern Rings (one from each of the seven Lantern Corps) to shrink worlds and add to his collection. He just needs to head to Earth to capture Green Lantern. But we don’t start out playing in space; we start with the good ol’ Caped Crusader and Robin.
If you’ve played other LEGO games, and especially other LEGO Batman games, everything will feel really familiar to you. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is an action-adventure game with plenty of puzzles and things to figure out to advance. Thanks to the familiarity with the way the game operates, with certain costumes having certain abilities that get you past certain obstacles, my son was able to move through the levels with only a few hiccups where I had to take the controller and help. From movement to combat, the game is very friendly for newcomers and young ones, but I’m sure more experienced gamers can still find a challenger here or there in it. There’s obvious replayability too. Even in the beginning levels, it was obvious that we wouldn’t be able to get a lot of the collectibles and max out on bricks without beating the story and unlocking other characters with different powers first.
The game also does a good job of providing variety right away. Right off the bat (pun intended), you get about three costumes each for Batman and Robin, and we played as Alfred! Though my son thought the tray he was carrying around made him a pizza server. We’ve been to the Batcave, and have had adventures playing as Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter aboard the Watchtower. A few times I had my progress halted by my son, who just wanted to use Robin’s tech suit and remotely control a little surfing robot Robin. He thinks the voice the robot makes when it falls off a cliff is funny.
There’s plenty of homage in Beyond Gotham, too -- like Adam West able to be rescued in the levels, or old theme songs playing. Every time you take flight with Superman or Wonder Woman, their respective theme sings from the 70s plays. And much of the game ends up paying homage to everything Batman. The humor that Lego Batman is known for is very much present throughout the entire story. But we can’t help but feel bad for Robin every time Batman casts aside his ideas.
The visuals are definitely improved in the move to the PS4. It just looks cleaner and sharper. And the voice cast is top-notch, As Troy Baker, Josh Keaton and Adam West are part of a really impressive bunch. I can’t wait to see the likes of Stephen Amell (from Arrow! Yea, he’s in it!), Conan O’Brien and Kevin Smith.
But what’s this? Wonder Woman has me in her Lasso of Truth!!! You know what that means -- now we get to the bad parts of the game. My biggest complaint I have is that damn dynamic camera. It’s a pain in the butt and not easy to follow. So we turned it off almost immediately. After playing through so many LEGO games, the repetitive boss fights are also wearing a little thin. They’re great for my son, mind you, but adults like myself will grow bored. Also, we had some problems with puzzles and navigation. To progress further in levels, you complete puzzles. This often consists of you breaking apart items or getting into areas where you can build something or use an ability or a certain costume, then opening a door or something to get to the next part of the level. But there were some puzzles where it wasn’t really clear what to do in order to progress. This meant we ran around the same area for 10 to 15 minutes with no enemies, just looking for something we might be able to interact with in a different way.
We also experienced some problems getting stuck in a loop or on environment. One example is when Batman tried making a jump but kept falling in toxic waste. The result was his death, but he kept respawning right back into the toxic waste. It was a vicious cycle.
The positives far outweigh the few negatives in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. With more than 150 characters with multiple awesome costumes, great new areas to explore, a fun story and tons of replayability, this is definitely the most ambitious LEGO Batman game yet. Kids will love it, but the repetitiveness of the puzzles and boss fights might get old after a while with adults.