Back to the video game world of feet-killing blocks and beloved DC characters we go! We begin not in the Dark Knight’s own city of Gotham, but in outer space, where a familiar bad guy is gunning down the Lantern Corps! After Brainiac captures several key members of the Corps, off he trots to make mischief elsewhere and we troop off to Gotham and Batman in WB Games’ LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
Here in the gritty city, Batman and Robin have their hands full, as a whole bunch of iconic bad guys – Joker, Cheetah, Lex Luthor … basically any singular bad guy/girl who’s an opposite to the good guy characters available – have decided to band together and take over the Watchtower of the Justice League! While the heroes and villains are clashing, Brainiac just has to show up and announce his intentions to “collect” everyone and everything, which leads to an unheard-of collaboration between the good guys and the bad guys against him! After learning that Brainiac has already managed to capture key Lantern Corps leaders, Green Lantern insists on going to bust them all out, unlocking several other planet locations to go break LEGOs at as well.
I have issues with some of the cutesy character elements the game designers dropped into this LEGO world. It seems as though the game designers are trying to bridge a major age and fan gap by associating these iconic characters’ current iterations with ancient (for us) references to original shows and films. In other LEGO games, such as Marvel Superheroes, every level has a hidden Stan Lee (generally acknowledged as the Father of Marvel) character to go rescue. This LEGO Batman game has the players attempting to rescue Adam West, and even has his own iconic voice shouting cute catch-phrases from the original Batman show. When Wonder Woman flies, the game features the Wonder Woman theme song from the original 1970’s show, and when Superman flies, it has the epic theme from the Christopher Reeve films.
The inclusion of the entire Lantern Corps – Star Sapphire, Larfleeze and the Orange Lantern Corps, the Blue Lantern Corps and all the rest – does give us entire other planets to visit and LEGO-break, but it might be a bit of a misstep, as the film adaptation of Green Lantern just bombed. For me, rather than reminding the players of where these famous heroes and villains got their start, these added touches are just reminders of just how big an age gap there really is between fans of Adam West’s Batman and Christian Bale’s Dark Knight. Oddly, there is also a Conan O’Brien character and a Kevin Smith LEGO character lurking inside the game too. LEGO Batman 3 is the first game to officially feature a character version of Geoff Jones, who is a writer for DC comics. And I can’t fault them for having Stephen Amell voice Green Arrow; he is, after all, playing Oliver Queen on the TV show Arrow.
Gameplay itself is the same standard as any other LEGO game – break bricks, collect coins and other collectibles, choose from just about any DC character under the moon (or other planets), defeat LEGO-spewing villains and do fancy combinations when playing with your friends! LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is available for play on the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3 and 4, XBOX 360 and XBOX One, and Windows PC.