Saturday, January 23, 2016

Best Lego Game? Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Might Be It!

The Good: Fun, Good graphics, Challenging, Cool
The Bad: Some camera perspective issues, I'm not wild about the racing functions.
The Basics: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is fun and cool, though it is not quite perfect given that some of the challenges require outside help and the races have real perspective issues.

This has been a pretty DC intensive week. With the return of The Flash - "Potential Energy" is reviewed here! and the debut of Legends Of Tomorrow, I've been overrun with DC Comics characters. It is probably not helped by the fact that in my off hours, I have been playing LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham on my new Playstation 4. My wife had bought me LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham for the PS3, but because I was committed to finishing Lego Marvel Superheroes (reviewed here!) first, I just did not get to the Batman game before the disc drive on the PS3 died and forced me to both upgrade my system and the software. After a week and a half of pretty intensive gameplay, I - not a gamer - have managed to complete Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham game!


Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a video game that encompasses most of the essential DC Comics universe. As a sweeping DC Universe game, the players are able to play mainstream characters like Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and second-string characters like The Question, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Dr. Fate. Fans of DC Comics properties might also be psyched about how villains like Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy and The Joker are playable and at some key points those characters are essential. The entire DC Comics universe is recreated in LEGO form, with the game starting in Gotham City and moving out to the homeworld of each of the Lantern Corps's. Animated with the joint structure of Lego mini-figures, one or two players team up and run around Gotham City and then space and alien worlds that house the power batteries of the various Lantern Corps. Throughout, players are challenged to earn studs, red bricks, minikits, and exclusive characters.

Almost exclusively focused on the characters of DC Universe, players run around shooting, jumping, grappling, using sonar devices, freezing things, laser eyes and expanding to giant sizes to achieve goals and kill minions being manipulated by Brainiac. With the destruction of each minion, Lego pieces explode and change to coins. Players collect coins to purchase new characters as they are unlocked as the game progresses. By using the green triangle key, one may toggle between the characters they have available and as one becomes more adept in the game, it helps to assemble a team that allows the player to toggle between super heroes, characters with devices, super-strong characters, and diggers. The first time through each level, players are forced to use between one and three specific characters, without the ability to create a team of one's choice.

After the successful completion of a level, the player may replay levels to find minikit pieces and rescue Adam West (who is on each level needing rescue, but is often behind an obstacle for which a different character is required). In the free play mode, the player may wander more and find things at their own pace, as well as enjoy levels outside of the imminent threats which usually keep the focus of the player the first time through.


Set in the DC Comics universe, the essential plot of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham focuses on the heroes trying to stop Brainiac from invading, after Batman cleans up some street-level crime in Gotham that results in Lex Luthor, Joker and several other villains from teaming up. When Brainiac captures the leaders of the Green, Orange, Sinestro, Indigo (etc.) Corps and begins an assault on Earth, the Justice League teams up with some of the villains who have taken the Justice League Watchtower to stop him from miniaturizing various cities on Earth. Batman and Lex Luthor team up to rescue the Lanterns and stop Brainiac!

Game Progression

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a pretty straightforward video game with a view that is usually slightly back from the character the player is playing. The net effect is that the view is like being followed around by a camera, as opposed to a first-person shooter style game. The perspective issue actually becomes problematic at times when the “camera” does not follow the view of the player. Sometimes, that means that players cannot actually take advantage of the bonuses that come up on screen because the line of sight is blocked by other characters.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham also have levels where the perspective is back away from the various characters. That causes problems when characters have to move into the background, but there are objects that block the view. On several levels, there are points where one has to try the bomb or throwing object highlights just to see what is on the level! In the free play after the game is complete, the perspective issues become even more troubling on planets like Ysmault and Zamaron where the gravity is slightly different and there are races around the planet.


The Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham game was designed for high definition systems, like the Playstation 3 (reviewed here!) and Playstation 4. We played it on the Playstation 4 connected to our Sony Bravia HD TV (reviewed here!) and it looked and sounded great. Directions from the annoying Batmite are somewhat helpful and otherwise, the game does not give directions. The game has a pretty linear story to it. The figures have an unsurprisingly blockish form to them, which makes sense because they are Lego renditions of the characters. The backgrounds and buildings, however, are more impressive in the way they are represented. Especially during the battles with Brainiac, the graphics are impressive.

The sound effects are accurate to the sound effects from the DC Television Universe's, including using Adam West and Stephen Amell. When things are destroyed, though they sound like Lego blocks rattling around. Oddly, both Kevin Smith and Conan O'Brien contribute voices and likenesses to the work for information and side missions for the game, despite neither having anything to do with the DC Universe (though they have relationships with Warner Brothers).


Because Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has the linear narrative and the free play available for each level, one has to play each level at least twice and after one has Plastic Man and Brainiac as a character, everything can be unlocked within the game. Even so, there were at least three challenges - outside the races which I am terrible at - that I had to look up guides on in order to pass. On one mission, there is a tiny hole one has to find and go down as a mini-character, but there is no way to know the little black dot is actually a hole (i.e. no character icon comes up when a character is near that hole to indicate there is something to do there). Also, I'm terrible at races, but all of the Lantern planets have races and between the perspective issues and gravity, the game is somewhat frustrating to finish.


The Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is fun and cool. The game allows one to play in a fun universe and while there are some weird idiosyncrasies - Wonder Woman is a surprisingly un-useful character - the game is worth playing for those who like puzzle games and the DC Universe.

For other DC Comics products, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Blackest Night Larfleeze Action Figure
Super-Villains trading cards
2015 Lynda Carter As Wonder Woman Hallmark Ornament


For other video game reviews, please check out my Software Review Index Page!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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