Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham joins an enormous library of Lego titles from the first Lego Star Wars game released in 2005, and is the third instalment involving the iconic superhero Batman.
Breaking away from the norm of recreating movie plots in earlier iterations, the first Lego Batman introduced its own storyline based on characters within the city of Gotham. The scope expanded in Lego Batman 2 when it opened its doors to 70 DC Universe characters, including an open-world setting with a rather twisty plot. Two years later, Lego Batman 3 returns with a sequel, lifting the plot to outer space! It also offers more than double of unlockable characters, and a lot more through downloadable content.
With a familiar dark tone akin to Batman: The Animated series, the introductory stage starts off with Batman and Robin, refreshing the user on the usual controls and basic mechanics of a typical Lego game, before expanding in the next scene to introduce more characters, all to get the motion going. As long as you’re a fan of the Bat and the legion of DC superheroes, it should keep you involved and interested. This worked for me during the initial few stages, but as someone who had touched on a few Lego titles such as Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, Lego Marvel Superheroes and Lego: The Hobbit, the usual gameplay mechanics starts to feel like a chore.
Break items, collect stubs, break more to unlock necessary blocks to build the next item, which then leads directly or indirectly to breaking more items to be collected. Gather special suits and revisit hidden areas to collect cool stuff. Rinse and repeat. Those who prefer such systematic gameplay will definitely appreciate this more. Lego titles have a soft spot for the young and its cooperative feature is perfect for parent-child bonding. Granted, it should stick to the formula, although I wish the developers could have improved on a fresher approach that was tested in Lego City Undercover. With Batman as a central character, Lego Batman 3 will still pull its fan base and would have been a safe version to promote something new.
Nevertheless, the developers did do something right. First off, at designated spots, the icon will switch your character to the appropriate suit to tackle the puzzle at hand. This saves figuring out which outfit to change to, and also serves as a useful hint for the player.
Whereas Lego Batman 2 offered free roaming from the linear path in the predecessor, this version tried to fuse both together. As a result, while there are many locations to play on, the boundary of exploration seems smaller, with some deviation of alternate routes within the same stage.
The story can be completed within ten hours, but expect to spend more if you’re aiming to unlock all 150 characters. Along the way, be treated to both solidly hilarious voiceovers from veteran stars, as well as some weird ones like Conan O’Brien, whose quips are great for a while until it becomes annoying.
The marvel of Lego Batman 3 lies is in its downloadable content and I’m excited to see how those based on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel and 75th anniversary Batman would play out. There’s also going to be several playable characters from television series Arrow. Although they are accessible through paying additional cash, it looks like they are worth the investment.
Lego Batman 3 is available on both last-gen and next-gen platforms and is definitely recommended if you want to launch something family-friendly and fun for guests of all ages this holiday.