10th Dec2014

‘LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

Lego-Batman-3-cover

LEGO games have always been popular. Whether it’s been Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel and Batman – just to name a few of their releases – LEGO seem to have access to many licenses, and make full use of them in the games they create.  This makes for a good experience for the fans, especially for the ones who like to see hidden cameos and little secrets added just for them.  With LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham they do for DC what they did for Marvel with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and give the fans access to a huge roster of super heroes, and a few more people you wouldn’t expect to see.

Batman is one of the most popular of the DC characters and one of the most recognisable (next to Superman of course).  LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham focuses on the caped crusader, but takes on a much broader story that includes not only heroes on Earth but also the Lantern Corps.  Fighting against Brainiac who wants to use the power of the Lanterns to shrink planets and keep them as his own the fight is for the universe, not just Gotham and Metropolis this time.  Though a lot of the action does feel focused around Gotham.

If you’ve played any LEGO games you will tend to know just how they work.  The challenge level isn’t set too high as the fan base is mainly children, and the idea is to wreck everything you see on the screen until you find the answer to the puzzle that is stopping you progressing.  This may be a door or a main enemy that needs defeating.  Problems are solved by building some kind of mechanism then using the correct super hero and their correct suit to perform an action.

Although the answer as to which character and suit to use can be quite abstract at times the answer is signposted so as to keep the action going.  Sometimes this can feel a little repetitive, but with an interesting story there is a feeling that it is worth going through the same motions over and over again to see what happens next.  Though the actions rarely change there is enough change in setting to make it feel that the story is progressing, though in the final stages you can’t help but hope for it to end.

Although LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is aimed at the younger audience the humour for adults is firmly in place.  There is also a nostalgia at work, especially after completing the game with a few hidden surprises for Batman fans.  There are many nice added touches such as Wonder Woman having her own theme playing anytime she chooses to take to the air.  The use of movie and TV theme music in the game also give it a fairly epic feel for super hero fans.

For people who also purchase the Season Pass (which I did) you also have access to added characters and levels, and it is worth it for fans of Superman and Batman, especially for the humour at work in the story lines for the added content.  This is where the fun comes in for the older fans, while most of it will go over the heads of the younger audience.  The Michael Caine and Russell Crowe humour in the DLC levels are a perfect example of this.

In terms of gameplay the combat hasn’t changed much from previous games, but there are added space fights which take the player into spaceship fights.  I found the style of these fights to be reminiscent of Resogun on the Playstation 4 and Vita.  These levels make for a refreshing change to the usual combat/puzzle style and it’s a shame they don’t last that long, maybe in some downloadable content we could see these level styles further explored.

With plenty to do after completion of the game and plenty of Easter eggs and cameos hidden in the game there is plenty of value in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.  LEGO fans and fans of DC Comics in general will find that the game is well worth a look.  The fact that there are over 150 characters in the game waiting to be unlocked shows how big the DC Universe is, but for the non-hardcore fans we may not know them. One thing that LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham does is to open up this world, and to make this one of the more interesting LEGO games made for the fans.

****½  4.5/5

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