With Lego’s fourth video game release within the last 12 months, is Lego Batman 3 worth the purchase if you’ve played the other games? Does the game’s DC comics paint bring more to the table? How does it compare to the second Lego Batman game?
If you’ve played any of the other Lego games, you should be familiar to the gameplay. Up to two players traverse fifteen levels all the while using several different characters’ abilities to progress. Players can change between characters available to them in with a quick press of a button. In keeping with the Lego Batman tradition, certain characters, such as Batman, Robin, Lex Luthor and Cyborg, have a suit wheel when holding down the character switch button This allows those characters to have more flexibility when tackling the puzzles presented. The only major downside to this is you’ll find yourself switching between different suits very often just to solve a problem that only one specific suit can solve. The good part is that you can just press O on the Playstation versions and switch to that suit instantly. It made things a little less frustrating when I had to use Robin’s Magnetic Suit to pull a level and then had to instantly use his Scuba Suit to heat a gold brick. The combat is pretty simplistic, pressing Square to attack with hand-to-hand combat or using O to attack with a special attack; for example Superman’s heat vision. This game is no Bayonetta, but it’s made to be accessible to as many people as possible. The levels themselves have a decent length on your first playthrough, but you do have the option to save after certain checkpoints if you need. Every few levels you are given a boss fight with certain requirements. For the most part, each boss fight plays differently. Although, they drag on too long while you are waiting to find a specific weak point or you’re waiting for Lego bricks to build something.
In order to break up the combat, there are a few stages in the game which feature somewhat of a horizontal shooter section where you control a ship and have to take down missles and other enemy ships. It plays similarly to Resogun where you can go up, down, left and right on a circular path. As you go through shooting down enemies, you have power ups which make you go faster, get a shield, get a missile or fire a laser for a few seconds. I actually really enjoyed these sections and would like to see them fleshed out a bit more in future games.
The game opens up when you beat the game and can wander around the HUB world. Unfortunately, the open world that were present in other Lego games isn’t here. Instead it’s several different rooms connected together. While it is pretty awesome that you can visit the Watchtower, the Hall of Justice and the Hall of Doom, the rooms are fairly small and pretty complicated to navigate if you need to go to a certain room to unlock something. In addition to the most widely known Justice League locations, you can also travel to the Lantern Corps planet which can only be done once the story mode is finished. Each world has a different look to it, but outside of gold bricks, character tokens and the occasional quest, there isn’t much to do there. Some planets do have some ruins that can be explored, but the camera absolutely fights you while you’re trying to make it through. The planets could have been slightly bigger to allow for better camera control and more enjoyable traversing.
Visually, the game is exactly what you would expect from the Lego series. The game is bright and quite shiny. The game ran at a smooth framerate and had no screen tearing, both of which were big issues I had with the previous Lego games on the PS3 and the 360. There are qute a varied set of environments you’ll find those cute mini figs in. Everything from Gotham’s dark, murky sewers, to Brainiac’s techno-organic ship, to a miniaturized Lego Europe.
The score is pretty good on it’s own taking a lot of cues from previous DC movies and shows, such as the Batman Animated series theme, to John Williams’ Superman theme, to even the theme song to Wonder Woman. The Batman music is prevalent through out the game, and seeing as it does have Batman’s name on the cover, it goes without saying. The Superman and Wonder Woman themes will play when that mini fig, or an associated mini fig, starts to fly. Admittedly, I got a hearty chuckle when flying with Wonder Woman for the first time, but after flying for the umpteenth time her music got really old, really quickly. Other than that, the game’s was very well acted. Great performance from Troy Baker, Dee Bradley Baker, Adam West and even Conan O’brien. There are tons of really great movements from the cast as either random dialogue or story related quips, which work very well within the context of the game.
The game starts off with Batman and Robin chasing Killer Croc through the sewers in Gotham. He escapes and it’s revealed that he’s teamed up with Lex Luthor, The Joker, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, and Firefly. Lex gets the Legion of Doom onto the Justice League’s Watchtower and they start to run amok when Martian Manhunter finds an extraterrestrial ship on it’s way to Earth. Soon, the Justice League find out that Brainiac is about to try and take Earth for his personal collection, and of course the Justice League are there to take him down. But Lex Luthor not wanting to take over a miniaturized Earth, Lex and his team of super foes joins up with the League to take down Braniac. However, Brainiac reveals that he is using the powers of the Guardians of the Latern Corps to shrink Earth down and as soon as the unlikely team take him down, the Lantern Corps scatter to the cosmos leaving a small Lego Earth in Braniac’s wake. It’s up to the group to head to the Lantern Worlds to recruit the Guardians and bring Earth back to it’s proper size.
The story itself is pretty solid and a lot larger in scope than in the last game. Even though it is technically a Batman game, it’s great to see the other League members get a spotlight in the game and not shoehorned in at the last battle like Lego Batman 2. The game is also one giant love letter to the Adam West Batman series with several characters humming the show’s theme song and there even being a bonus level narrated by the Caped Crusader himself, Adam West.
Overall, the game is a fantastically fun co-op game with plenty to do once you finish the story. Certainly, there are issues present in the game, but they don’t detract from how accessible the game is for younger kids, or even diehard Lego or DC fans. There really is something for everyone here. While I greatly prefer the Lego Marvel game to this one, Lego Batman 3 is no slouch when it comes to a great experience.
The game also has a season pass with three DLC packs currently out and two more on the way. Traveller’s TalesÂ promises 40 more characters and each pack has it’s own set of trophies and achievements.