LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review
Genre: Open world exploration, Multi-player Co-op,
Released for/Reviewed on: Released on PS4/X-Box One, PS3/XB360, Vita/3DS, WiiU, iOS, Mac/PC & reviewed on PS4
Publisher/Developer: Warnes Bros Interactive Entertainment (Mortal Kombat franchise, Batman: Arkham series, Scribblenauts franchise)/Traveller’s Tales (LEGO… everything)
Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (The Joker in Arkham Origins, Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Travis Willingham (Reggie Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Nolan North (Deadpool in Deadpool, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Pagan Min in Far Cry 4), tons of celebrity guest spots like: Kevin Smith (Clerks), Adam West, Conan O’Brien, Gilbert Gottfried, Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell (DLC coming soon)
Alluring Element: The winning formula of a LEGO game, this time expanded to include the scope of the entire DCU
Check it out if you liked: LEGO Batman, LEGO anything
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):Storyline – 7 Gameplay – 8 Animation – 9 Replay Value – 9 Entertainment Value – 9 Captivity – 7 Variety – 6 Originality/Creativity – 9 Soundtrack – 8 Overall awesomeness – 7
When it comes to games that the whole family can enjoy, there’s nothing quite on the level of LEGO games. From Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to the recently-released Marvel title, there isn’t any fandom that Telltate won’t touch. Where the franchise has succeeded is in its ability to bridge adults and children together. While the games and their mechanics are fairly simple – two attack buttons, a jump button and two character/costume changes, there is an undeniable level of complexity to the completion of the highly detailed levels. There are tons of characters to unlock, and with a ludicrous amount of goodies to uncover, you’ll find yourself smushing your child in the face to push them out of the way and complete the game 100%. Unlike traditional kids game, there is an added effort in trying to appease to the hardcore fan-base. If you are trying to brainwash your kid into getting into comic books, or you yourself enjoys a thorough Easter Egg hunt, this is the game for you. If you don’t git into either category, though, you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to drop cash on this game. It’s the type of game that really depends on who you play with, or the type of gamer you are altogether. LEGO games are ideal for the treasure-hunting, methodical players who take their time and enjoy unearthing all the well-thought secrets that go into the game. If replaying a game five times over doesn’t appeal to you, then the price of admission isn’t really justifiable. Luckily, as somebody who is still just levels into Diablo III with his loving wife, I am all about 100% completion on my games.
All that in mind, I still want to enjoy the game as I endogenously play through it, and LEGO Batman 3 is noticeably less entertaining than the game that came before it. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was great in the sense that the story (stopping Lex and Joker from taking over the world) was so dynamic that WB actually re-purposed the cut scenes into a full-length animated movie that was released separately on DVD. LEGO Batman 3, however, did not impress me – and my standards are pretty low as far as LEGO-inspired entertainment goes. The plot, which was some kind of convoluted version of Geoff John’s Brainiac and Green Lantern: Blackest Night, took Batman and Co. around the galaxy to… actually, I have no idea what the purpose was, I just knew that early on, I figured out that I had to travel to each Lantern planet and do stuff before defeating Brainiac with feelings. Yes, the thing that Batman hates more than Robin’s Superman pajamas. It’s a large scope to tackle, and this being a next-gen game, it was expected that we would see an expanded DCU, but I can’t help but feel like time would have been better spent coming up with a more creative way to incorporate different characters into the game. Instead of just boasting a cast of over 150 characters (it will take a WHILE to unlock them all), it would have been nice to actually give each of them a little more attention instead of just skin swaps. Really, only the core cast of Batman, Robin, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and The Joker have multiple uses.
That being said, the fine-tuned attention to detail is as impressive as it is heartwarming. The Danny Elfman-inspired Bat-tunes are still there, and the custom sound bytes add a bit of flavor to each character’s situation. For example, when entering the character selection screen, hovering over certain characters spawn their very own Batman theme song – Na na na na na na na na, CYBORG! Can you guess which hero this one belongs to: Na na na na na na na na, MEEE! Also, along with Superman’s John Williams theme during flight, Wonder Woman also has her classic Linda Carter theme play while she flies. All the way to down to the most obscure characters in the DC Universe , the sheer amount of geek packed into one game is extraordinary, and will keep dedicated fans combing through each level with increased vigor to unlock all their secrets. You can even mix and match parts and powers to create your own weird-looking LEGO superhero. On the other side of the coin, the allure of having Conan O’Brien, the friendly janitor, tour you around the Justice League Watchtower or saving a pleading Adam West is really fun the first time, but can get severely grating after they repeatedly chime in with the same monologue until you run away screaming or mute the television.
With all the high performance games out there, expectations for a LEGO game can be a little skewed. Make no mistake, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is just as much fun as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, but just like those games, need to be enjoyed by the right person. You can choose to spend hours teaching your kids about each hero’s powers (or learning them yourself), or you can go all Orange Lantern on this bad boy and reap all the buried treasure within the levels. The gameplay won’t blow you away, but it’s as complex as it needs to be, and makes the game accessible for all ages of gamers. The story isn’t all that spectacular, but at the very least, it is a love letter to DC fans; you can really tell that Traveller’s Tales put a lot of thought and research into this game, making it one of the most thoughtful Batman experiences I’ve had in a video game.
All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions