Batman is back for more action in the third game in the LEGO Batman series, but like previous titles, the caped crusader is going Beyond Gotham and he’s kicking butt all over the show. Will the latest installment in the series shine like the rest of the LEGO games, or is it as dull as some knock-off lego blocks?
Much of the third game is the same as all the LEGO games, it follows a similar recipe, similar controls, even the HUD is the same as always. It’s very much a copy and paste of what made these games so great in the first place, the only problem is, it’s getting a little old. Fortunately, there are a few new additions to this game to spice things up a little, but it’s not entirely enough for me to say that I’ve played a truly original LEGO game.
The story kicks off with Brainiac kidnapping certain different Lanterns, in order to use their rings to power up a massive shrink ray. Tired of shrinking cities from various planes across the universe, Brainiac wants to start shrinking and collecting planets, starting with Earth. Clearly this doesn’t bode well for heroes and villians alike, so it’s up to Batman and his posse of friends – with the help of a few villains – to take Mr Android down and save the day.
While the story isn’t particularly original, the acting and animation is very entertaining. There’s some stellar voice acting in the game, and enough jokes and cameo appearances to keep the DC comic lovers entertained. To give you an idea of what to expect cameo-wise, Conan ‘O Brian visits the HUB stages to offer some obvious handy information, while Bat-Mite is responsible for all the tutorials in the game. Various superheroes will ask for some help or challenge you to something. And you’ll also need to save Adam West in every single stage.
For the most part, the game is fairly linear, but once you’ve completed a stage, you’re able to revisit the stage in “free play” mode. Most of the stages are very similar to previous instalments in the series, for example: run around, beat enemies, collect stubs and beat the boss at the end of the stage. However, they change things up a little by including a minigame that’s very similar to Resogun and other side-scrolling flight shooters. These levels are loads of fun, albeit a little too short. I have a bit of a gripe with the bosses, instead of just fighting the enemy, most of the time you need to run around, build some object, use the object, rinse and repeat. It gets a little boring and drags a bit when you have mini-enemies that you need to deal with in the process.
Fortunately, beating them is only one-third of the stage. In most cases each stage is divided into three parts, the start, the body and the boss. The start and the body are pretty much standard platform sections with simple puzzles to complete. Playing co-op with a mate is pretty awesome in these sections, especially if you need to chop and change between characters. Some heroes (and villians) can change their outfit mid-battle, to use certain abilities. Batman, for example, can change from sneaking to demolition, to diver. Robin can change from Illumination, to magnet suit, to techno suit – and these aren’t all of them.
Now, here’s one of my biggest issues with the game. While it’s called LEGO Batman, it really just feels like LEGO DC Universe or at least “LEGO Justice League.” There is a fair amount of Batman, it just doesn’t feel like it’s his game. There is a big plus side though, there are a few Hub locations for you to enjoy, like Batman’s trophy room and the Batcave. Free Play is also great as many of the game’s unlockables can only be accessed with the right combo of characters, so there’s a lot of replay value, especially if you want to play the game with your favourite hero. And there are tons of heroes and villains to collect. The roster is massive, though you’ll need to do a little bit of hunting to unlock them all.
With plenty of extras and loads of DC Super heroes to play in Free Play, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham might not be the perfect Batman game, but for DC lovers, this game should keep you entertained. It does have a simple story and also regurgitates the same old LEGO formula, but at the same time it is a kiddies game. If you’re looking for safe fun this festive season, give it a go.