LEGO appears to be taking over the world, it’s everywhere at the moment, including my own home, most of it belongs to my 6-year old who is obsessed by it, we also have practically every LEGO game spanning across the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. With around 100 hours of LEGO Batman 2 played it was always going to be this house that got to review the latest game in the series LEGO Batman 3 – Beyond Gotham. Another Batman game set purely in Gotham would have been pretty boring, thankfully Travellers’ Tales knew this hence the Beyond Gotham title. LEGO Batman 3 is a much more linear experience, but still boasts a whole load of content that will please comic book fans as well as those who may not have experienced the vast world of characters, such as the different coloured lanterns.
There have been some really useful improvements to the game, for example characters can now swap into a different outfit whenever they want (providing they have unlocked it) which is much better than waiting around to find a station to change outfits in. Some of the new outfits are quite cool too, Robin for example has a new illumination outfit that lights up part s of the level to reveal way to progress a level. Characters such a Cyborg start with all of his outfits unlocked straight away. If your current character is in the wrong outfit when approaching a prompt the game will automatically change to the right outfit for you, it’s only a small thing but makes life a lot easier for you.
You can now also start at specific checkpoints during free play, most helpful when you mopping up achievements by looking for collectables. As ever there is a huge amount to collect including 160 mini kits, 250 gold bricks, 16 red bricks and 30 Adam Wests to save. All of that clearly doesn’t include over 150 characters to unlock from the DC universe, die-hard DC fans will recognise members of the Justice League as well as some less well known characters. If gives newer fans to the series the chance to check them out so that can only be a good thing. I found the inclusion of ‘celebrity’ characters an odd decision too, even more so as it turns out that Conan O’Brian is an absolute annoyance, adding nothing to the game, I’d go as far to say it detracted from it to be honest.
The game unfortunately gets off to a slow start as Batman and Robin chase Killer Croc through the sewers of Gotham, it’s all a bit smart and frankly a bit boring, but it’s not long before things become much more interesting, the dynamic duo end up in space and the Justice League characters arrive to not only save the world, but the game too. First off there are a couple of great levels, the first being a side-scrolling space shooter before making your way around the outside of the Watchtower. Batman and Robin end up being swept aside as the member is the Justice League take over the gameplay but fear not Batman fans, there is plenty of great Batman content as well as the awesome looking Batman anniversary content available as DLC.
You’ll visit a variety of locations as you play through the game including the Batcave, the Fortress of Solitude, the Hall of Justice, and a handful of different alien worlds. It gets better though, with Brianiac’s plans to shrink various locations you’ll end up in some of the cities that have already been shrunk. These are especially fun as you are a bit like Hulk on these levels, and in turn you’ll have the ability to smash your way around with relative ease. There is a good balance between the smaller open world areas and the more linear ones, I felt slightly less overwhelmed finding things thanks to the smaller levels.
As ever the puzzles are fairly simplistic, you always have the right equipment around you to solve the puzzle, as normal I spent more time looking for the one thing that needed smashing to complete a build, for the most part you’ll have no problems though. You’ll be able to complete the story missions in about 10 hours and you’ll have great fun doing it. Other gameplay improvements in lid the ability for certain characters to be master builders, straight from the LEGO movie videogame. Graphically the game is no better or worse than any of the other LEGO games I’ve played on the Xbox One. The camera was hugely frustrating at times though. During one of the early levels, while preparing to head into space as Batman the camera would fix into a position where I couldn’t see either of the characters and had to use guesswork to get them into a place where I could see them again. It was annoying at first but then it kept happening, for an adult it’s a pain but I could see it ruining the experience for a child, here’s hoping it can be patched out.
LEGO Batman 3 is a fun game but it’s my least favourite LEGO game for a while, it’s packed full of content and fans of DC Comics will no doubt be pleased with the efforts, despite it being called LEGO Batman 3 it’s definitely more LEGO Justice League as they literally save the game from being a pretty average LEGO title.
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