|Lego Batman 3:
Cover art for 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.
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, celebrity cameos, conflicting gameplay aspects, and the game's overall direction.
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 amount 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, 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.
Members of six of the seven Lantern Corps are all summoned by a mysterious force, where they are ambushed by Brainiac. The Corps lose the battle against Brainiac's machinations and are brainwashed into boarding his ship. With this complete, Brainiac charts a course for Earth in order to retrieve the final Lantern: Hal Jordan. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Batman and Robin pursue Killer Croc through the sewers. Killer Croc escapes, and hands over a map to his accomplices: Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Firefly, and the Joker. At the Hall of Justice, Cyborg completes work on a "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. The test is successful, and the portal is left open.
Back at the Batcave, the Batcomputer detects Brainiac's approaching spaceship. Observing the ship via telescope, Batman is exposed to the mind-control ray; he quickly turns berserk, laying waste to the Batcave and trying to escape via the Batmobile. However, the car's defense system electrocutes him, giving Robin enough time to talk Batman out of his trance with a heartfelt speech; however, Batman maintains it was the electricity, and not the speech, which woke him.
At the Hall of Justice, the Joker and company break into the slideways teleporter room via the sewer using the map Killer Croc stole, and are joined by Lex Luthor disguised as Hawkman, having locked up the real Hawkman in a cage. Luthor is revealed to be the mastermind of the scheme, planning to use the Watchtower's binary fusion cannon to hold the Earth at ransom and force the citizens to make him President. The group enter the teleporter.
Batman and Robin alert Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern to the presence of Brainiac's ship, but are interrupted when the arrival of Luthor's group causes a Watchtower lockdown. Green Lantern goes to investigate Brainiac's ship, leaving Martian Manhunter to send out a distress signal to the rest of the Justice League. Batman and Robin take a rocket into space and are joined by the Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Cyborg at the Watchtower. The group break in to find the ship in disarray and the Joker in control of the main computer. Batman and Superman subdue all the villains, and the Justice League prepare to return to Earth, but are halted when Brainiac sends a transmission to the Watchtower, revealing his plan: to use the combined powers of the Lantern Corps to charge a shrink ray which will miniaturize Earth, allowing Brainiac to add it to his growing collection of planets.
Begrudgingly, Luthor suggests an alliance with the League to fight their common enemy, and Batman concedes. While Superman flies out into space and attempts to stop the shrink ray reaching Earth, the others make their way to the Watchtower's control room in order to use the ship's mechanical arms to grapple onto Brainiac's spaceship and board it. Once there, they are ambushed by Green Lantern, who, it turns out, was brainwashed by Brainiac during his investigation of the spaceship. Robin tries to talk him out of his trance as he did with Batman, but he cuts him off and seals Green Lantern out of the ship. Green Lantern returns to Brainiac's spaceship and takes his place in the shrink ray, allowing Brainiac, having now acquired all the Lanterns, to finally activate it. While Superman tries to keep it at bay, the others manage to successfully latch onto the UFO and infiltrate it.
Making their way to the heart of the ship, the group confront Brainiac, who ends up using his mind-control abilities to hypnotize Wonder Woman and the rest of the group after she unsuccessfully attempts to take control of him with her lasso of truth before realizing he's an android. As he toys with the hypnotized Wonder Woman, Robin, who was unaffected due to a helmet he found and was wearing, is able to wake Wonder Woman from her trance and rescues the others from theirs as well. Brainiac then increases the strength of the shrink ray. Superman, who is still in the path of the beam, is unable to resist it any longer and falls to Earth, weakened. This overloads the shrink ray and causes it to explode, releasing all the Lanterns from hypnosis and instantly warping them all back to their home planets. Brainiac escapes to Earth in a smaller ship at the last minute as the UFO spirals out of control. Some of the group are hit by energy beams from the wayward Lanterns' rings, giving them the emotions associated with the Corps. Robin agrees to stay and watch them as their behaviour becomes erratic while Batman and Wonder Woman descend to Earth to tend to an injured Superman. They follow him to Paris, France.
Meanwhile, the out-of-control UFO crashes into the Watchtower and sends it spiralling towards the Moon, but Green Lantern, having returned from Oa, uses his ring to stop it. Cyborg corrects the course of the UFO and sets its destination to Gotham. Back in Paris, Brainiac arrives and proceeds to shrink the city down to the size of a bottle; Superman, having recovered, rescues Paris before the villain can capture it. Brainiac moves onto London, England and then Pisa, Italy, only to have both attempts foiled in the same way. Finally, he travels to Gotham City and tries to shrink it as well, but is thwarted by Robin, Cyborg and their group of emotional misfits who have touched down in Gotham in the UFO. The Flash traps Brainiac and his ship in a makeshift cage, and everyone returns to the now-fixed Watchtower.
There, Robin tells the group that he managed to retain a fragment of the crystal holding the Lanterns' power from the shrink ray after the explosion. Superman subsequently formulates a plan: to use the supply of energy crystals stored at the Fortress of Solitude in tandem with Robin's shard to create a duplicate shrink ray in order to undo the effects of Brainiac's machine and re-grow the cities. However, in order for it to work, the powers of all the Lanterns are once again required, which is complicated by the fact that the explosion returned them all to their respective planets. Ultimately, the group splits up, and each team travels to a different Lantern planet to meet with the Corps and retrieve a sample of energy from their power rings. Martian Manhunter, Flash and Cyborg travel to Zaramon, Nok and Odym in order to recruit the other heroic Lanterns (Star Sapphire, Indigo-1 and Saint Walker) while Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman (the three disguised as Joker, Luthor and Cheetah) and Grundy travel to Ysmault, Okaara and Qward to steal the Rogue Lanterns' power batteries.
With all the Lanterns' powers assembled, the group meet at the Fortress of Solitude and Superman gets to work on the duplicate shrink ray. After a brief skirmish with the Rogue Lanterns (Atrocitus, Larfleeze and Sinestro), the machine is complete and Earth is returned to its normal size, along with all its cities, though the progress also results in a side-effect which causes Superman to inflate in gigantic proportions. However, upon sending the Flash back to Gotham to check on Brainiac, he returns to report that both he and his ship have escaped the makeshift cage.
Brainiac arrives at the Fortress of Solitude and reveals he has shrunk Gotham and Metropolis before using his mind-control device to brainwash Superman and send him on a destructive rampage. Without any Kryptonite, all of the group's attacks are powerless against the hypnotised Superman, until Batman has the idea of electrocuting him to snap him out of Brainiac's control, recalling his incident in the Batmobile. The group assemble a generator and shock Superman, to no effect. Robin then realizes that it was in fact his speech to Batman that broke the trance all along, not the electrocution, and Batman proceeds to deliver a heartfelt monologue to Superman. Gradually, Superman is released from Brainiac's control, and he destroys the villain's ship, sending it flying off into the depths of space. Brainiac himself is imprisoned.
Their mission complete, the members of the League return home, and the villains part ways with them, resuming their lives of crime. Luthor achieves his initial goal of becoming President - but this is only temporary. Both Lex Luthor and Joker are thrown into jail where they are sharing a cell with Brainiac.
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 PS3, PS4, 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.
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 Smith and West as playable characters. J.B. Blanc voice directs this video game.
Some actors from various material including Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The Batman, Justice League: Doom, the Batman: Arkham series, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Justice League, Duck Dodgers, and Arrow, also reprise their roles in Lego Batman 3.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham received mostly mixed 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."
Game Informer's Andrew Reiner 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 amount 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.