Batman rocks, but can the same be said of the rest of the DC universe? Scratch the surface and you start delving into some pretty obscure characters, pretty quickly. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, takes everyone’s favourite caped crusader and makes him share his universe even more than before with the rest of DC, but is this a good thing?
With the LEGO range of games starting to get to the age where it can ask for its own driving licence, there is a sense that it is running a little out of steam. LEGO Batman 3 is a case in point, it is an incredibly solid co-operative game, but there are also some major issues. In recent years Travellers’ Tales have been forced to move away from using known film references within their properties as they have already been covered. Therefore, like with LEGO Batman 2 and Marvel Heroes, this outing has its own unique LEGO adventure and you can tell.
Batman may be the base of the game, but it soon leads into the Justice League and the various Lantern planets that need to be investigated. This is done in true LEGO style; a series of story missions, free play and then a hub world to explore. In all, the game has well over 15 hours of gameplay to contend with should you wish to 100% it. However, whilst the likes of LEGO Indiana Jones and Pirates allowed you to relive the best aspects of the films, Batman 3 has a rather dull and confused story.
Putting the tale to one side, the rest of the game is of the same solid standard that you would come to expect from the developers. Built from the ground up to be played in 2 player local co-op, the game is best when played with a pal. Like with any of the LEGO games that require flight, the camera can be an issue in two player mode as you flip back and forth around the screen – nauseating at times. A nice feature is the ability to create a static vertical split if you prefer this method. For those with a large television, it almost plays like an old style LAN party, but on the same screen.
This being the third outing for our plastic Dark Knight, the game opens as if you have played earlier outings. It does not take long for you to unlock additional powers for Batman, Robin, Cyborg and many others. Some characters have seven different powers they can control. This makes puzzles a little taxing, especially for the very young as they have to figure out which of Batman’s many powers to engage. A small blessing comes in Free Play mode where you are given a case sensitive prompt to change powers. This saved a lot of time and fiddling.
At this point in proceedings most seasoned gamers will either be on the LEGO bandwagon, or well off. For these people, Batman 3 is certainly more of the same; quality local co-op entertainment. However, for gamers new to the franchise, the puzzles may be a little complex at times, but the world is magical. There is so much to see, unlock and do in the extended Batman universe that a particularly tenacious youngster could spend 10s of hours exploring it all. The only real let down in the game is the disappointing storyline. Seeing as the LEGO games are more about playing with a pal in a world that interests you, this is not as big an issue as it could have been.