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LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: Nov. 11, 2014 (US), Nov. 14, 2014 (EU)

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Xbox One Review - 'LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham'

by Adam Pavlacka on Nov. 20, 2014 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

In LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the Caped Crusader joins forces with the super heroes of the DC Comics Universe and blasts off to outer space to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth.

Buy LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

One of the early LEGO game franchises that came after LEGO Star Wars and the first LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Batman has seen a number of changes over the years. The first game was a straightforward adventure that focused on the Dark Knight. LEGO Batman 2 introduced voices and gave us an open world. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham scales back the open world but increases the scope of its story to include the entire Justice League and then some.

From a story point of view, this game really could have been called LEGO DC, as Batman is only nominally a starring character. Rather than revolve around him, Beyond Gotham focuses on a much wider cast. A quick theft of the Lantern power rings and some techno gadget cooked up by Brainiac scrambles the emotions of the heroes and villains, providing a cute excuse to see them all team up in an attempt to save the Earth and get back their original personalities.


Perhaps the most impressive thing about Beyond Gotham was the simple fact that I only had to restart a single level due to a bug. Collision issues and crash bugs have always been a minor issue with the LEGO games, albeit one that had minimal impact due to the way the games handle saving. Still, it's nice to see Traveller's Tales addressing the quality issue.

Gameplay-wise, Beyond Gotham is solid, if a bit unsurprising. All of the LEGO staples are here, with plenty of bricks to break, puzzles to solve and characters to collect. There is no possible way to collect everything on your first run through the game's 15 story levels; you need to come back once you've unlocked more characters.

Getting through it all is actually a bit easier this time around due to the way the game streamlines character suit selection. This is something that LEGO: The Hobbit toyed with by having the appropriate dwarf move around, but then again, that game had you playing with much larger groups. In Beyond Gotham, the number of active players is much smaller. As a result, the automatic switching removes much of the challenge in the puzzle-solving.

This is a good thing for the younger set, but for older fans of the LEGO games, it can be disappointing. Perhaps a difficulty option could be the solution, maintaining some of the challenge for those who cut their teeth on LEGO Star Wars. The biggest danger the series faces is becoming repetitive, so any options to appeal to both groups will be welcome. Too much streamlining of gameplay risks alienating older fans.


Because of the smaller groups, the "hold Y to switch to a specific character" has also changed. When playing someone with a set of suit options (like Batman), this brings up the suit selection. When playing someone else, it just switches you to another character, the same as a quick tap. Having one action perform differently can be a little weird.

Level design is a strength here, with a variety of styles presented in Beyond Gotham. Two of my favorites were the time spent on a miniaturized earth and the 1966 Batman bonus level. The miniature earth was designed using LEGO micro build styles, so everything here was done with LEGO bricks. Unlike the standard LEGO levels, there was no "realistic" styling to be had. It looked good, was fun to play, and allowed the level designers to show off some impressive creativity in designing well-known landmarks.

As far as the 1966 Batman bonus level, it is hands down the highlight of the game. From the way you access it (just like in the TV show) to the way it is presented, complete with oversized sound effect words, it was obviously the work of longtime fans. Yes, it's still fun purely as a LEGO level, but for older players who are familiar with the show, the nostalgia effect is in full force here.

The standard levels also introduce some new play styles, with levels that go left to right as well as some that move in and out of the screen (along the Z axis). Some stages offer up the LEGO version of a bullet hell shooter after dropping you into a spaceship. These sequences are simple, but the new experiences keep things fresh.


After you finish the single-player story, Beyond Gotham opens up into a series of environments for you to explore. Each of the lantern worlds is here, presenting small versions of open-world play. Moving between the different worlds is easy enough, and all in all, the post-game content is roughly equivalent to prior titles. Exploring the worlds didn't quite feel as impressive as running around Gotham City in LEGO Batman 2. The cumulative size may have been similar (or larger), but because they were separate environments, it felt more like exploring extra levels.

Locations such as the Batcave and the Watchtower are also available, with side missions of their own and gold bricks to find. There are even VR Missions (some offer up a kind of LEGO Geometry Wars) to add variety. Of all the post-game content, I spent the most time with the VR Missions due to their replayability. It's a shame there aren't global leaderboards for the VR Missions.

With all of its improvements, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is easily the best LEGO Batman game, but it doesn't quite take the crown for best overall LEGO game. LEGO: The Hobbit is still more impressive as an overall experience, as the sprawling open world seamlessly integrated the story and side-quests in a way that Beyond Gotham can't match. However, Beyond Gotham is most like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in terms of overall experience, and that's not bad company.

Score: 8.5/10



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