Review: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (3DS)

Jingle bells, does Batman smell?

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 12/22/2014 09:00 1 Comment     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Strong gameplay; terrific music selection.
Poison Mushroom for...
Vague goals; lack of replay value.

Last year, WB Games released LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on Wii U. The game was one of the finest titles to feature Marvel’s cast of characters, and one of the first strong sandbox games available on Nintendo’s latest console. This year, the publisher is back with LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. While the game might seem a bit familiar, it does give the 3DS a console-quality LEGO title that still manages to feel like a perfect fit for the handheld format.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham once again puts players into the world of the caped crusader. Things kick off with Batman and Robin battling Killer Croc in the sewers of Gotham, but the story quickly expands, encompassing a number of characters and locales from the entire DC Universe. You’ll quickly find the roster of the Justice League at your disposal, with their powers and abilities faithfully represented. One of my personal favorites is the Flash, who zips through each stage at an impressive clip. That isn’t to say that the caped crusader takes a backseat, however. Batman takes center stage throughout the majority of the title, and when he isn’t in a level, a member of his supporting cast is typically on hand. The focus on Batman isn’t surprising given the character’s popularity (and title role), but the game’s primary focus on Batman does invite some comparisons to last year’s Marvel title. For one, most kids would probably prefer to use Captain America and his shield to douse flames than Alfred Pennyworth and his, er, serving tray.

Those familiar with LEGO games will find that the game doesn’t deviate much from tradition. Players will explore levels, build items to progress, and battle numerous henchmen. The formula would be a bit tired if the games weren’t so much fun. Still, LEGO Batman 3 does offer a few welcome new additions to the gameplay we’ve seen in previous LEGO titles. Characters now have different costumes that can be found, giving them extra powers like launching missiles, the ability to grow in size, and more. It’s not a dramatic addition, but it does add some variety. The game also offers a number of flight missions, which help to keep the game from ever feeling too repetitive.

While previous LEGO handheld titles have served as scaled-down side games, LEGO Batman 3 gives players an experience very similar to what’s available on consoles. It never feels like you’re missing out by playing the 3DS iteration. The developer really gets a lot out of the hardware, including some impressive use of 3D. Levels have also been optimized for the portable format. Each one is short and sweet, yet still satisfying. Unfortunately, there are a few elements missing from the game. Most notably, LEGO Batman 3‘s much touted celebrity appearances have all been left on the cutting room floor. Kevin Smith, Adam West, and Conan O’Brian all appear in the console version of Beyond Gotham, but they have no role in the 3DS title. On the bright side, West’s signature Bat-Suit is available as an unlockable character, at the very least.

One of the most impressive aspects of LEGO Batman 3 is the sound. The title boasts a superb voice cast, and that really helps push the game’s comedic storyline forward. As good as the voice acting is, the music might be the real highlight in the sound department. Danny Elfman’s classic score from the 1989 Batman movie returns, which is a very nice treat. But Batman and Elfman get one-upped a few levels into the game when John Williams’ epic Superman theme appears. As a fan, you simply couldn’t ask for more. These are wonderful inclusions, and it really shows the amount of fan service that’s been packed into the game.

LEGO Batman 3 offers quite a bit of content. Players will find it takes a lot of work to capture every gold brick, beat every level, and unlock the game’s large assortment of mini figures. Whether it’s popular characters like Batgirl, or more obscure choices like Ambush Bug, there are a number of cool characters for players to unlock. Unfortunately, once the credits roll, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to keep working toward total completion. Hardcore DC fans will want to unlock every mini figure, but most players will find themselves putting it down once the main game is completed. It’s a shame there isn’t any other post-game content as an incentive to keep working towards the one hundred percent mark.

Of course, the game has a few other issues, as well. Goals and objectives can be vague at times, leading to some frustration. One time, I found that I couldn’t progress. After some backtracking, I noticed one of Brainiac’s minions had somehow gotten stuck running in place somewhere off to the side. It wasn’t until I killed him that the game allowed me to move forward. Another time, I found myself stuck because the game hadn’t made it clear that some of the new ability costumes can be used by multiple characters. These problems are minor, but they do crop up from time to time, and it makes the overall experience just a little bit more frustrating.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is another strong title for the caped crusader. While it doesn’t quite match the heights of the best LEGO titles we’ve seen thus far, it’s still a very impressive translation of its console brethren. A true passion for the source material is evident throughout the game. Whether it’s the use of iconic soundtracks, obscure characters, or references to Batman’s classic animated series, this game was clearly made with fans in mind. Batman fans and DC Comics fans of all ages would do well to take a look.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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