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LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Score: 87%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Family/ Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a new adventure in the LEGO DC Universe, and while many heroes appear in this installment, the story is still strongly focused on Batman and Robin.

Not much has really changed between the last two LEGO Batman games, at least not where visuals are concerned, but considering the main design elements in all of these games are plastic blocks, that isn't really an issue. That being said, the game looks great on the Xbox One and if the developers at TT Games hadn't captured that iconic LEGO look before, it does show through on the new system.

While the visuals don't change much, the game's locations do, and those new areas are rendered rather well. The player is no longer confined to Gotham city as the name suggests, and actually, a major part of the story takes place out in space or on strange alien ships and planets. As a result, you can expect a much wider range of designs in the levels, and those designs all appear to be rather well executed.

As far as the game's audio is concerned, like LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, all of the cutscenes are fully voiced. Troy Baker returns as the voice of Batman (and many others) and Charlie Schlatter returns as Robin. Lex Luthor is once again voiced by Clancy Brown, while Dee Bradley Baker plays Brainiac, the game's main villain. Other prominent voice actors include Stephen Amell playing Green Arrow (just like he does in Arrow) and Adam West playing himself and the 1960's Batman. Other cameos include Kevin Smith and Conan O'Brien as themselves. Both break the fourth wall when they appear and both provide an amusing amount of comedic exposition.


LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham's gameplay does introduce a few changes since the last installment in this series. For one, the open world environment is essentially gone. Instead, players get to explore an expansive hub world that is far more focused and directed than the dark streets of Gotham from the past.

The hub world starts off as just the Batcave, but it quickly expands to The Watchtower, The Hall of Justice and even The Hall of Doom. Each location is filled with characters to help (and unlock), bricks to collect, and things to destroy. Much like the more focused hub world, Beyond Gotham doesn't offer the same style of side-quests that were seen in the Lord of the Rings or Marvel Super Heroes titles. Instead of meeting a character and being told that they need some random object, the missions you are sent on typically involve doing something specific, and can pretty much be completed as soon as you find the person asking for your help.

As for the game's story, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Solomon Grundy, Killer Croc, Cheetah and Firefly break into The Watchtower and attempt to disable the Justice League's defenses. The JLA is called into action and even though this threat is quickly resolved, this is only the jumping off point for a much bigger threat. It seems that the alien computer Brainiac has decided that he doesn't want to just shrink cities and collect them, he wants to capture whole worlds. Of course, his first target on this new venture is Earth. Now the JLA and their worst enemies will team up in order to fight this new threat. There's just one problem - it seems the extra-terrestrial android has captured a member of each of the Lantern Corps and is focusing their powers in order to achieve his goals. Brainiac isn't going to go down without a fight, and the entire Earth hangs in the balance.

While the game's story is a major aspect to any of these LEGO titles, it really is only half of the content. The staples of this series are all present, including having to replay each level in Free Play Mode in order to collect all of the pickups, unlocking different characters with different abilities, and collecting red and gold bricks to unlock extras.

One new addition this time around is a mechanic borrowed from the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game. In that older title, each level featured a minifig of Stan Lee in peril. For Beyond Gotham, it's Adam West that needs rescuing.


LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham should pose no real difficulty to most players, but I have to admit, there were several times when I was flat out confused and didn't know what I needed to do to progress. These moments ranged from times when I didn't know how to defeat a boss, to simply not knowing what the game wanted me to do in order to unlock the next level. Each time I found the way through, I felt a little ashamed for missing the solution, but there were some cases where I felt like the game was simply a bit buggy. One time in particular has the player bouncing an energy blast back at the boss. There isn't really any indication of where you need to hit the enemy, and when you think you have the right spot, it takes more time than you would expect to see results (typically making you think you aren't actually hitting the right location).

The only other aspect that adds to the game's difficulty and frustration level is that there are certain things that it seems to go a little too far with, mainly the suits. I will go into this a little more in a bit, but I wanted to note here that the new suits added to the game, plus a couple of other ancillary details concerning those suits, actually upped the difficulty of the game, and I think it was an unintentional increase.

Game Mechanics:

Like Batman himself, LEGO Batman is primarily about his gadgets. Since the original LEGO Batman title, Batman and Robin have each used a variety of suits to call upon in order to solve the various puzzles put before them. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is no different in that regard, except that it adds more suits and it even gives other characters access to those same abilities as if they were wearing similar suits. Quite frankly, it's that last change that really breaks up some of the dynamics and adds to the frustration level at times.

For instance, Cyborg has several suits that Batman has and a couple that Robin uses. Also, both Lex and The Joker also have a mixture of the different suits. The result is that you can sometimes find yourself at a loss at not only who needs to do what, but even what you need to do.

The game does try to help this by providing pop-ups saying who you need to switch to in order to do a task and it will even sometimes automatically switch that character to the suit, but even with those bits of hand-holding, I still found myself unable to determine how this particular character in this particular suit could do what was necessary to progress. While I appreciate that spreading out the abilities across several characters meant that the game could have a more dynamic story (after all, you don't always need Robin in order to use the magnetic suit), but it also added a lot of noise that was sometimes hard to get through.

Despite these complaints, I still feel like LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a good addition for any fan of TT Games, and for the most part, it is an improvement over DC Super Heroes. One of the reasons I always enjoy playing these games is because I like to see what elements of other titles have been used and tweaked and what mechanics are being added, and while I feel that this game went a little too far with some of the changes, it is still a solid title.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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