Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
|Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham|
David A. Goodman
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a Lego-themed action-adventure video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in November 2014 for multiple platforms. It is the third installment in the Lego Batman video game series and a sequel to Lego Batman: The Videogame and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. A port was released to mobile phones, excluding the numeral in the title. Similarly to its predecessor, the game features voice acting and semi-open world environments, and focuses on a large cast of heroes from the DC Universe rather than just Batman and Robin, who must join forces with a group of villains to thwart Brainiac's attack on Earth.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was met with a generally mixed reception upon release. Praise was directed at the amount of content, the game's humour, and the characters, while criticism was directed at technical issues, poor AI, underwhelming celebrity cameos, conflicting gameplay aspects, and the game's overall direction. A spin-off, Lego DC Super-Villains was released on October 16, 2018.
The core gameplay of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is very similar to that of the two previous Lego Batman games: Lego Batman: The Videogame and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. The player controls any one of a wide assortment of characters (of which there are over 150) from a third-person perspective, primarily fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and collecting Lego 'studs', the game's form of currency. Using attack combinations in combat will multiply the number of studs earned. Up to two players can play in co-operative mode.
There are many different environments in the game. All are based on DC comics' universe's locations. As in previous Lego video games, levels are unlocked for 'Free Play' mode once they are completed in Story Mode. 'Free Play' allows the player to replay any level they have completed, but with any characters they have unlocked so far. This permits access to special areas containing additional collectables, that the player was unable to get to before. This is unlike Story mode, in which the player may only switch between the preset characters involved in that scene.
There are several level hubs for the heroes in the game such as the Batcave, the 'Moon', and the Hall of Justice. Here, the player may explore and complete puzzles to find, earn or unlock 'gold bricks' or 'character tokens', access the game's main levels, and complete side quests. There are also other specific features such as enabling 'red bricks' (a form of cheat), and viewing collected 'mini kits' (which are collected in levels). Players may also create their own character using parts from characters already unlocked, as well as a limited array of weapons. The six 'Lantern Planets' are another type of explorable world in the game; they are much the same gameplay-wise as the main hub areas and levels, with the main difference being that the Lantern Planets are more open-world focused. The open world exploration on the Lantern Planets is similar to Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
Individual characters are able to use many unique abilities related to their comic book powers and talents. For example, Superman can fly, put out fires with his ice breath, and has heat vision (which is used to destroy gold Lego objects), the Flash is faster than other characters, the Atom can shrink his size to fit in tight spaces, Braniac (Unlocked after finishing the main story) can shrink or enlarge objects, and Martian Manhunter and Shazam can transform from one form to another. Many characters have the same technical abilities, such as flight, transformation, speed and the ability to shoot projectiles, although, they are all visual and aesthetically different to suit the individual characters.
Players are able to swap the costumes of some of the main characters (Batman, Robin, Cyborg, the Joker, and Lex Luthor) with many differing ones, each containing unique abilities and different colour schemes. The sonic suit can break glass, the demolition suit lets the user set down and launch bombs to destroy silver Lego objects, and the hazard suit, which lets the user walk through toxic waste and suck up special Lego pieces which are used to progress through levels. Robin and Lex Luthor can wear the Technology suit that can activate Tech panels, and the magnet suit that lets Robin, Cyborg or the Joker climb up magnetic walls and activate special switches. These suits can be changed into at any time after unlock. These are mostly different in design, as in Lex Luthor's stealth suit granting invisibility, and of such not being detected by foes, while Cyborg's stealth suit is a washing machine, but still acts like Lex's. The characters also mention the 1960s Batman (TV series) main theme song. When in the character menu, staying for 5–10 seconds on a main character will cause that character's voice to sing, for example, “Na na na na na na Flash!”, or in Superman's case “Na na na na… Na na?”.
Brainiac captures six members of the seven "Emotional Spectrum" Lantern Corps, and heads to Earth to abduct the final one: Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern. In Gotham City, Batman and Robin pursue Killer Croc, who has stolen a map of the sewer system underneath the Hall of Justice, but he escapes and reunites with his accomplices: the Joker, Cheetah, Firefly, and Solomon Grundy. Meanwhile, Cyborg completes the "Slideways Teleporter" linking the Hall of Justice to the Justice League Watchtower and sends Green Lantern through it to meet with Martian Manhunter as a trial run, leaving the portal open.
While observing Brainiac's approaching spaceship from the Batcave, Batman is exposed to its mind-control rays and goes bersek, until Robin talks him out of the trance with a heartfelt speech, though Batman is convinced that it was the Batmobile's defense system, which had electrocuted him, that did the work. Meanwhile, the villains use the stolen map to infiltrate the Hall of Justice undetected, where they meet with their benefactor, Lex Luthor, who posed as Hawkman to gain access. The group then travels to the Watchtower through the Slideways Teleporter, intending to use its fusion cannon to hold the Earth at ransom until Luthor is elected president, but unwittingly trigger the Watchtower's alarm. Martian Manhunter informs the Justice League, sans Green Lantern, who was captured while investigating Brainiac's ship, and they defeat the villains. Brainiac then contacts them to reveal his intentions: to shrink the Earth with his ray, powered by the combined energies of the Lantern Corps' power rings, and add it to his collection of miniature planets.
While Superman flies into space to stop the shrink ray from reaching Earth, the heroes and villains, forming an uneasy alliance, infiltrate Brainiac's ship, only to get captured or fall under his mind-control. Robin, who is protected from the mind-control rays by Doctor Fate's helmet, frees the others, just as Superman punches his way through the shrink ray and into the ship, damaging the main computer, which causes the Lanterns to be teleported back to their home planets and the Earth to be only partially shrunk. Brainiac escapes in a smaller ship before his crashes on Earth, causing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to pursue him, while Robin stays to look after the others, who were hit by energy beams from the Lanterns' rings and temporarily given emotions associated with the respective Corps, which they find difficult to control. After shrinking Paris, London, and Pisa, Brainiac attempts to do the same to Gotham, but is defeated and captured by the alliance of heroes and villains.
To restore Earth to its original size, Superman suggests recreating the shrink ray using the crystals at the Fortress of Solitude, shards of the destroyed ray which Robin retrieved, and the energy of each Lantern's power ring. While Superman goes after the crystals and most of the villains are locked up, the other heroes and Solomon Grundy split into two groups to recruit Star Sapphire, Indigo-1, and Saint Walker to help, and confront Atrocitus, Larfleeze, and Sinestro to provoke them into following them to Earth. During a battle between the positive and negative emotions Lanterns at the Fortress, the heroes manage to harvest the combined energies of their rings and use them to power their replica of the shrink ray, using it to restore Earth to its original size, and inadvertently sending the Lanterns back to their homeworlds once again. Earth's restoration allows Brainiac to escape and reclaim his ship, which he uses to mind-control Superman, who had grown to gigantic proportions as a result of holding the shrink ray during its activation. After all attempts to free Superman from Brainiac's control fail, Batman realizes that it was Robin's speech that helped him recover from his trance when he was exposed to the same mind-control rays, and holds a similar monologue. Awaking from the trance, Superman destroys Brainiac's ship, shrinking himself back to normal proportions and the latter to a minuscule size in the process.
Later, the Justice League restore all the shrunken cities collected by Brainiac to their original locations, and capture Luthor and his band of villains, who briefly succeeded in their goal of having the former become president. While imprisoned in the same cell with the shrunken Brainiac, Luthor and the Joker accidentally break the jar he was held in, causing him to return to normal proportions.
In the mid- and post-credits scenes, Sinestro vows revenge against the Justice League, only to bump into Wonder Woman's invisible jet; a new group of heroes arrive at the Watchtower through the Slideways Teleporter; and Hawkman, who has been locked up in a cage underneath the Hall of Justice by Luthor, is unsuccessfully trying to escape while waiting for someone to find him.
On 9 September 2014, WB Games announced a season pass that will consist of downloadable content (DLC) of levels and characters. The Season Pass is available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC versions of the game, and consists of six releases. Several other packs, not included in the season pass, have also been released.
- "Man of Steel"[a] (was released at launch, and is based on the 2013 film of the same name).
- "The Dark Knight"[a] (was released at launch, and is based on Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy).
- "Batman 75th Anniversary"[a] (was released at launch, and follows The Joker and Harley Quinn in crashing Batman's 75th Anniversary celebration).
- "Batman of the Future" (was released on 17 December 2014, and is based on Batman Beyond).
- "Arrow"[a] (was released on 14 January 2015, and is based on the television series of the same name).
- "Rainbow Batman" (was released for free on 20 January 2015, and includes the rainbow costume Batman character as well as the Rainbow Raider enemy).
- "Bizarro"[a] (was released on 18 February 2015, and is based on Bizarro World and the film Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League).
- "The Squad"[a] (was released on 3 March 2015, and is based on the Suicide Squad).
- "Heroines and Villainesses" (was released for free on 1 April 2015; it features additional female characters of the DC Universe).
- Included as part of the Season Pass.
The game features both notable celebrity cameos, as well as various actors reprising roles from various DC properties. Conan O'Brien, Kevin Smith and Adam West appear as themselves, with O'Brien appearing as the game's 'guide', and the others as playable characters.
|GameRankings||(Wii U) 71.33%|
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham received mostly mixed to positive reviews from critics upon release. Aggregating review website Metacritic gave both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions a 74/100. GameRankings (also an aggregating review website) gave the Xbox One version a 75.10% and the PS4 version a 74.04%.
IGN's Steve Butts gave the game a 7.4 out of 10 saying "I like Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, but I don't love it as much as I've loved previous games in the series. It definitely delivers on the promise of letting me play with charmingly realized versions of many of my favorite DC heroes and villains, and it even presents a setting with lots of great surprises, challenges, and systems that promote variety. As a longtime DC fan, I do wish it had given me the chance to dig into more locations and plot elements from the comics, but the biggest hurdle for me to clear is the bizarre cameos."
Even though she called the controls "clunky", opined that the gameplay was "repetitive", and felt that the game sometimes provides needless frustration, GamesRadar's Kate Gray awarded the game a 3 out of 5. She praised the series' formula for "still working", called the world design and technical rendering "excellent", and complimented the "zany, creative" humour. Gray stated: "Lego Batman 3 has all the ingredients of the other, enjoyable, Lego superhero games, but is let down by clunky controls, poor signposting and questionable translations of well-known comic book personalities."
Andrew Reiner from Game Informer scored the game a 7.5 out of 10, enjoying the Lego adaptation of the DC Comics Universe, but disliking the excessive exploration and out-of-place celebrity cameos. He praised the overall sound, particularly liking the blend of powerful orchestral scores and TV show theme songs, but called the voice acting a "mixed bag". Reiner also liked the gameplay tweaks, calling the item collecting process "more rewarding" and enjoying the suit transformation mechanic, even though it is sometimes tedious. "The act of smashing Lego constructs and gathering studs hasn't changed since the first Lego game", Reiner said, "and I gotta say, it's still just as much fun now as it was back in the day."
Tom Orry of VideoGamer.com scored the game an 8/10, praising the characters, amount of content, and visuals, but criticizing the game's familiarity. Orry wrote: "LEGO Batman 3 starts slow and then gets a lot better, and then overwhelms with so much content it's hard to be disappointed. It's hard to get really excited about a game that feels largely similar to how the series started with LEGO Star Wars almost 10 years ago on the PlayStation 2, but DC and LEGO fans won't care as much about the sameness. For everyone else there's no doubt this is a classy package packed to the brim with content, but new ideas are definitely needed. LEGO Batman 3 eventually becomes very good but it's time the studio attempted to build a new mould."
Anthony LaBella from Game Revolution gave the game a 3.0 out of 5. She praised the number of characters, the "charming" visuals, the game's humour, and the suit mechanic for providing variety, but criticized technical inconsistencies, the game's narrative, and the lack of innovation. LaBella wrote: "Audiences already invested in the series or Lego video games in general will likely enjoy their time with Beyond Gotham, but nothing in the game elevates it beyond that status."
Cameron Woolsey of GameSpot gave the game a 7 out of 10 saying "In short, [Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham] is a delightful, family-friendly hop around the galaxy starring some your favorite superheroes. A wealth of hidden secrets in every level keeps the game high on replayability, while the deluge of extra content promises many hours of adventuring."
In her review for Destructoid, Caitlin Cooke gave the game a 7/10. She criticized the frustrating controls and camera, opining that they got worse later in the game, as well as the lack of an open world, feeling as though the decision to switch to multiple hubs was a downside. However, she praised the "top notch" voice acting, the faithful adaptation of the DC Universe, the TV show theme song music, which she felt creates a sense of joy, and the "delightful" humour.
On May 30, 2018, it was announced that the Lego Batman trilogy would receive a spin-off named Lego DC Super-Villains. It was released on October 16, 2018.
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