I am still not sure why TT Games insists on branding their DC-focused LEGO titles with the Batman moniker. These games have become more about exploring the entire universe of the comics, as opposed to just focusing on the caped crusader. LEGO Batman 3 is no exception. The latest entry titled Beyond Gotham is probably the largest collection of characters to date. There is so much fan service I am shocked the game isn’t dubbed LEGO DC Universe. Everything from New 52 storylines back to classic 60s Batman and everything in between is featured here.
LEGO Batman 3 changes things up by removing the giant open world found in the previous game. Levels are now linear by design, but open up to expansive areas as the game progresses. Levels are long, and sometimes confusing in their objectives. It almost gets too big for its own good at one point, and really detracts from the simplicity that makes these games so special.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, PS3, 360, Wii, Wii U, 3DS
MSRP: $59.99 (XB1, PS4) $49.99 (PS3, 360, PC, Wii U) $29.99 (3DS)
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Multiplayer: Local only
Things also switch gears fast. This story mostly focuses on Robin as opposed to Batman. The Green Lantern corps plays a large role, and Batman’s voice changes part way through the game. It seems TT Games tried so hard to squeeze in every ounce of DC fan service, they lost sight of keeping this a cohesive experience. Sure, the core game play remains the same; tear through levels, collect studs and solve obscure puzzles, but at times I found myself simply going through the motions as I progressed through each increasingly large level.
Still, it is hard not to marvel at the sheer amount of content squeezed into this game. Over 150 characters, references to all manner of DC lore and even Bat-Mite mans the tutorials. It is a DC fan’s dream.
The LEGO formula remains true here. I am still amazed at people who can 100% these games. There are tons of things to discover, and returning to levels with new characters is a must. The suit system returns and becomes much more manageable now with a selector wheel. Batman and Robin can switch suits on-the-fly, along with a host of other characters. There are also scavenger missions for Bat-Mite, characters to be found, golden blocks and the usual ilk of collectibles scattered throughout the game. It will take months to uncover it all, and that is only if I find the time among the busy release season.
Playing with friends returns, again only in local form. I really wish they would craft an online component for these games. Playing with my son is great, but there are boring sessions of repeating levels I would love to play with friends online; if for nothing more than someone to chat with while I dig through the monotony.
One of the downsides with this entry is the inclusion of celebrities. Now, I love Conan O’Brien and Kevin Smith as much as the next person, but their dialogue and repetition in this game is annoying. Hearing the same lines spouted time and time again gets old, and quick. The humor wears thin, and I wish they had been omitted entirely.
LEGO Batman 3 also plays host to a season pass of DLC content, of which half is available at launch. That stings. While I am one of the suckers that has to buy it, it feels dirty knowing there are three substantial pieces of content available on day one. At least spread them out over time so I don’t feel like it was content stripped from the main game to siphon more money from kids and their parents.
LEGO Batman 3 is a solid entry in the series. The fan service alone is worth it for DC fans like myself, but I still feel the series needs to really take a step back and work on improving the formula. The love poured into these games is obvious, but I can’t shake the nagging feeling of the copy/paste mentality each iteration delivers. It also doesn’t help that they shove out three of them a year. Still, DC fans and LEGO enthusiasts will find plenty to love with Bruce Wayne’s latest blocky adventure.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.