LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, PC
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham might feel like a step back for the series when you initially begin the game. It removes the open world of Gotham for a format that’s more in line with the Harry Potter series of LEGO titles, with two large hubs built around The Justice League Watchtower and the Bat-Cave, packed with secrets and hidden collectibles. It also begins with an unfortunate sewer level, meant to be a call back of sorts, but one that serves as a low-point for level design in the LEGO series.

However, poor opening level aside, there’s a lot of things I enjoyed about LEGO Batman 3. While the sprawling world of Gotham is removed, I found myself preferring the more focused hubs here. Both the Bat-Cave and the Watchtower are filled with a number of hidden goods, character tokens, and optional quests to uncover. I think a more focused approach to exploration is better than going open-world in an effort to put another bullet point on the back of the box, and if you’re not going to fill that open-world with meaningful content, then more focused, smaller areas is certainly the way to go.

LEGO_Batman_3_BatmanRobinI also really enjoyed the visuals this time around, which looked pretty fantastic on the PS4. Part of the storyline in LEGO Batman 3 focuses on Brainiac and his attempt to secure the multi-colored Lantern rings, which in turn leads to a lot of color-packed worlds to explore. The majority of the levels are pretty varied, taking you across the globe, and to the various homeworlds of significant Lanterns. And the soundtrack is packed with familiar themes, mostly culled from film and animated sources for both Batman and Superman.

The level design, outside of that opener, is pretty solid, and the puzzles you solve are fun and varied. Most characters have multiple abilities, usually designated by various costumes they can wear. Other characters, like Superman, have a number of abilities packed in without the need to bring up the ability wheel to select skills. Like most LEGO titles, there are a ridiculous number of unlockable characters and variants here, which you’ll spend dozens of hours unlocking. The main story will give you a decent number of recognizable faces, but you’ll likely need to seek out your favorites that extend past the standard Justice League roster.

LEGO_Batman_3_Cyborg 3,As always, co-op is where you’ll have the most fun with LEGO Batman 3, and no, there’s still no online co-op featured unfortunately. When playing solo, the A.I. of your companions is generally up to the task, and I thankfully ran into few bugs while playing, an issue that seems to plague most LEGO titles at launch. I did have one problem during a boss fight where a scripted sequence wouldn’t trigger, but outside of that there were virtually no technical hiccups to speak of.

I certainly enjoyed my time spent with LEGO Batman 3, and if you’ve enjoyed previous entries in the series, I see no reason why you wouldn’t find this one just as enjoyable. The core experience of smashing objects, collecting studs, and hunting down various collectibles in stages is still the primary appeal. LEGO Batman 3 doesn’t necessarily bring anything noteworthy to the series, other than another humorous romp through familiar comic book settings. The LEGO series remains one of the best family-friendly titles around, but your enjoyment of this entry is entirely dependent on whether you’ve enjoyed the series in the past. Certainly check it out if you have an affinity the source material or LEGO in general, but definitely keep your expectations in check.

Grade: B+

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – PlayStation 4 (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Warner Home Video – Games
ESRB Rating: 

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