|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.
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. 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?”.
Six members of the seven "Emotional Spectrum" Lantern Corps are all summoned by a mysterious force, which is revealed to be Brainiac. The Corps are defeated and brainwashed into serving him, before Brainiac heads to Earth to retrieve one more Lantern: Hal Jordan. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Batman and Robin pursue Killer Croc through the sewers. Croc escapes and hands over a map to his accomplices: the Joker, Cheetah, Firefly, and Solomon Grundy. 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 it via telescope, Batman is exposed to the mind-control ray and goes 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, despite Batman stating that it was the electricity rather than the speech that woke him. At the Hall of Justice, the Joker and company break into the Slideways Teleporter room using the map stolen by Croc and are joined by Lex Luthor disguised as Hawkman, having locked up the real Hawkman. 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. Using the teleporter, the villains arrive on the Watchtower, which causes a lockdown. As Green Lantern goes to investigate Brainiac's ship, Martian Manhunter sends out a distress signal to the rest of the Justice League. Batman and Robin take a rocket into space and are soon joined by the Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Cyborg. After boarding the Watchtower, the heroes split up and subdue the villains. However, as they prepare to return to Earth, Brainiac sends a transmission to the Watchtower, revealing his plan to use the combined powers of the Lantern Corps to charge a shrink ray that will allow him to add Earth to his collection of miniaturised planets.
The heroes and villains form a reluctant alliance to stop Brainiac, with Superman flying out into space in an attempt to stop the shrink ray reaching Earth, while the others make their way to the Watchtower's control room in order to use the ship's mechanical arms to board Brainiac's spaceship. Once there, they are ambushed by Green Lantern, who was brainwashed by Brainiac during his investigation of the spaceship and gets sealed out of the Watchtower by Batman before Robin can talk him out of his trance. The group then board Brainac's ship, but he hypnotizes everyone, save for Robin, who is protected due to wearing Doctor Fate's helmet and frees the others. Meanwhile, Superman manages to punch his way through the shrinking ray's beam and strike the machine, causing the ray to explode and releasing all the Lanterns from hypnosis, who are instantly teleported back to their respective batteries' home planets. Brainiac escapes in a smaller ship to a now-partly shrunken Earth, while his main ship is left spinning out of control, and Robin stays to look after the rest of the group, who were hit by energy beams from the Lanterns' rings, giving them the emotions associated with the Corps. Batman and Wonder Woman pursue Brainiac to various cities around Europe, including Paris, London and Pisa, which he shrinks down to the size of a bottle despite their efforts to stop him. Along the way, they reunite with Superman, while Cyborg redirects Brainiac's ship to crash in Gotham. There, the heroes and villains, including the emotional misfits, set a trap for Brainiac, who gets locked up in a makeshift cage by the Flash.
Back at the Watchtower, Superman formulates a plan to restore Earth to its original size by using the crystals stored at the Fortress of Solitude in tandem with a shard of the crystal holding the Lanterns' power, which Robin retrieved from the destroyed shrink ray. However, they will also require the powers of all the Lanterns, prompting them to split into different groups to travel to each of the Lanterns' planets and retrieve a sample of energy from their power rings. Martian Manhunter, Flash, and Cyborg travel to Zamaron, Nok, and Odym in order to recruit the powers of Star Sapphire, Indigo-1, and Saint Walker, respectively, while Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman (disguised as Joker, Luthor, and Cheetah), and Grundy travel to Ysmault, Okaara, and Qward to steal the power batteries of Atrocitus, Larfleeze, and Sinestro. 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 Sinestro, Larfleeze, and Atrocitus, 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, this also allows Brainiac to escape from his cage and he arrives at the Fortress of Solitude, revealing he has shrunk Gotham and Metropolis, before brainwashing Superman and sending him on a destructive rampage. Without any Kryptonite, all of the group's attacks are powerless against Superman until Batman, recalling his incident in the Batmobile, has the idea of electrocuting him. When this doesn't work either, Robin tells Batman to give a heartfelt monologue to Superman, which works, implying that it was also Robin's speech that woke Batman from the trance back in the Batcave. Freed from Brainiac's control, Superman destroys his ship, sending it into the depths of space and shrinking himself back to normal size in the process, whilst Brainiac is shrunk to a minuscule size and subsequently imprisoned.
With their mission complete, the members of the League return the shrunken cities back to their normal sizes, 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, as the League soon arrive to apprehend them. Luthor, Joker, and their cohorts are thrown in jail, where the pair share a cell with the shrunken Brainiac, only to accidentally break the bottle he was kept in, causing him to return to his normal size.
In the mid-credits scene, Sinestro, back on Qward, swears revenge on the Justice League until he bumps into Wonder Woman's invisible jet, which flies off. At the Watchtower, a new group of heroes arrive through the Slideways Teleporter. Underneath the Hall of Justice, Hawkman is shown to still be locked up in a cage.
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.
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 will be having a spin-off called, Lego DC Super-Villains. It was released on October 16, 2018.
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