LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review – Bat’s Crazy (PS4)
The LEGO video game series has really taken on a life of its own. I’m sure there are adults and children the world over who look forward to the next entry, no matter the franchise it carries. While the series continues to release on more than a yearly basis, the quality seems to be pretty consistently high. Can LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham keep the momentum going?
Controls are deceptively simple. Much like any other LEGO game, you move around with the left analog stick, and can pan the camera temporarily with the right stick. X jumps/glides/flies, depending on your character, and square attacks. New to the Batman entries is the Gadget Wheel. Once you acquire suits by playing through the campaign, your character can be used in certain different situation, and gain new abilities. Batman and Robin are the first to see this, and some suits enable Batman to become invisible, or enter a green detective mode to discover hidden interactive objects. Robin gains abilities such as a suit that lights up the darkness after being charged, and another that allows you to control an even tinier remote-controlled version of him to travel to those hard-to-reach locations and continue on.
A Puzzling Adventure
Like any good LEGO game, each mission has several puzzles for you to solve. While most of these are pretty simple, and the game constantly bombards you with obvious hints, occasionally some of these puzzles are not so clear at first. Usually, the solution is to break everything in sight, which uncovers hopping LEGO pieces that must be assembled into some contraption to help you move forward. Some of these puzzles are in the form of minigames, such as switching circuits on a giant board to bypass a lock, or playing what is essentially a quick version of the plumber game, where you have to make a complete path for fluid to take from one end of the area to the other. Boss battles occasionally take place in minigames as well, which could be decent standalone games all their own. It’s impressive the way Traveller’s Tales integrated so many different genres at times, without breaking the game.
While there are dozens of missions available, the game is fairly linear. You are able to free-roam in certain rooms, but beyond that, you progress from mission to mission in a straight line. With a large story to get through, it’s no surprise that the game proceeds in a linear fashion, so it cannot really be faulted for this. Once you beat a mission, you can go back and replay it in an attempt to nab all the LEGO pieces and collect every hidden secret, as well as save Adam West in whatever perilous situation he currently finds himself in. Of course, co-op play is here as well, so LEGO Batman 3 remains a great game to play with a friend or, ideally, your children.
Technically speaking, LEGO Batman 3 looks good and runs smoothly. But it’s certainly not pushing the PS4 very hard. Our unit’s fans hardly whirred while the game was playing, indicating that it wasn’t stressed. With the art style of LEGO games, I suppose there is a certain threshold for realistic graphics before the game loses some of its charm. But still, I would have liked to see how many LEGO entities could be kept on the screen at a time before the frame rate started to dip. Console parity was also likely a priority by the developer, given that the game is out on the PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, Windows and even iOS!
Great Details, Batitude to Match
In another example of the great amount of detail Traveller’s Tales went to produce the whole package, LEGO Batman 3 is fully voiced. Most of the acting is very well done, and includes recurring voice actors such as Troy Baker (Batman), Travis Willingham (Superman), and, in a great cameo, Adam West (as in the 1960s Batman). Each mission has at least a basic cinematic, though several have genuinely entertaining cutscenes. There is a lot of humor in this game, and it’s surprisingly, and refreshingly, clean humor that is fine to play with young ears around. There’s a lot of little touches in the audio, as well, including theme songs from older shows playing when certain characters fly such as Superman or Wonder Woman.
If you’re a Batman fan of any age, you’ll want to pick up this game. With couch co-op for two, LEGO Batman 3 is a picture-perfect game to play alongside children. It can be a bit slow going at the start, but power through the introductory missions, acquire some suits, and things really start rolling. With a mission count that numbers near 50, and over 150 characters to play as (gotta catch ’em all?), there is a ton of content to bask in. While a lot of the combat and puzzles might feel a bit repetitive, you’ll hardly notice as you mete out justice as a tiny version of your favorite hero. LEGO Batman 3 comes highly recommended to kids young and old alike.
Review copy was provided by the publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.