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Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – 3DS

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – 3DS

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DSPlatform:  Nintendo 3DS

Release Date (NA):  November 11th, 2014

Developer:  Traveller’s Tales

Publisher:  Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Genre:  Action/Adventure

Nerd Rating:  7 out of 10

Update:  I’ve made some discoveries regarding the confusion expressed in the review below.  Please see the end for the “resolution” to the difficulties I was having!

Note:  Please excuse the lack of in-game screenshots.  I tried for quite some time to take adequate pictures of my own 3DS with the game running with my digital camera but to no avail.  The pictures were absolutely unusable, mostly because I couldn’t properly focus the camera on what was on the screen (text, characters, actual shapes, etc.).  I hope to update this article with more specific images in the future.

A few years back I played and enjoyed Lego Batman; I also had an impressive run with much of the Lego Star Wars Saga; I even dipped into Lego Batman 2 a bit; but after recently playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril I was more than a little excited for the then-upcoming release of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.  Before I really dig in though, there is something I would like to mention.

Lego Batman 3 has been released for several platforms, and it appears that the 3DS version is at least somewhat different from the console versions.  (I do not know how it stacks up against the PS Vita port.)  After hitting something like a 96% completion rate, I found myself completely perplexed by the last few characters that were not unlocked.  Once I began looking around on the web, I discovered that much of the information so far disseminated has been for the console ports, and from simply playing the game I can tell that there are some significant differences.  What I found very strange was when I started plugging in some of the codes from console versions into my 3DS version.  One code (for Batgirl) worked, yet those for the other few characters I hadn’t unlocked did not.  Yet strangely enough, the codes for Zur-En-Arrh Batman and Plastic Man worked – even though these characters supposedly do not exist in the 3DS port!  I sincerely hope that more attention will be given to the 3DS port in time; otherwise, I’m just going to have to systematically go in and try every … single … possible … code in an attempt to make sense of it!  Based on what I’ve seen though, the differences don’t seem to be as significant as those between the console and portable ports of Lego Marvel Super Heroes.  

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DS

The strange unlockable Batman with no discernible presence in the game!

Alright, so on to the gameplay.  Most Lego games play out pretty similarly.  Granted, I haven’t played every Lego game out there, but all the essential elements are there: building stuff, collecting studs, and a dizzying array of characters with different but overlapping abilities.  Most (if not all) levels will need to be revisited as new abilities are gained/purchased in order to achieve 100% completion.  It’s a simple but effective formula that provides a great deal of replay and proves highly addictive.

The story is pretty massive…if you can keep up.  The first game was fairly self-contained within the Batman universe, while the second brought in a few more of DC’s most popular characters.  This third installment is full of critters from every corner of the DC Universe; some play little more than a cameo role and are mostly included for fan service (such is the case with most every Lego game) but a fair number of them are fairly represented within the game.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DS

Carriers of all colors of power rings make a somewhat significant appearance.

Like I said, the story is extremely broad in scope and difficult to keep up with.  It takes several twists and turns amounting to what would be an epic comic book event.  In fact, I’m still pretty fuzzy on all the details after playing it through it just once.  It begins localized with Batman and Robin chasing Killer Croc through the sewers.  Before long, Brainiac, the entire Justice League, and the Watchtower are all involved, mostly because Brainiac is shrinking cities around the world.  Eventually this culminates into a visit to several of the power batteries/lanterns on different worlds with characters like Indigo-1, Larfleeze, and Atrocitus having secondary but nonetheless significant roles in the story.  Arch enemies such as Green Lantern and Solomon Grundy team up for the greater good, and there’s an insane amount of costume-swapping happening:  Batman paints his face like the Joker, the Joker dons the cape and cowl, and Lex Luthor impersonates both Hawkman and Wonder Woman, just to name a few.  One aspect that has continually improved in Lego games is the series’ sarcastic and self-referential humor.  The cutscenes in Lego Batman 3 are full of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, most predominantly Batman’s lack of emotions.  I’m sure there are countless other jokes that I missed that astute comic fans will find hilarious as well.

In general, the gameplay is what one would expect from the Lego series.  A little bit of action, a little bit of problem solving, and a little bit of platforming all thrown together.  However, there were a lot of innovations introduced to the “Lego formula” in Lego Marvelyet Lego Batman 3 tends to fall back largely on the mechanics of its direct predecessor, Lego Batman 2.  For instance, Marvel did away with jumping in favor of more specific character abilities.  It also emphasized the role of combat, and its challenges focused on myriad ways to navigate and manipulate the environment (time limits, no damage taken, etc.).  Batman 3 retains jumping (which isn’t really a big deal either way) but combat is relegated to a formality, and the challenges, while still present, are far less inspired.  The majority of them involving finding secret objects (Joker cards, red bricks; usually done so on a second pass with new abilities) and smashing certain objects (2 – 4 Batman, Luthor, or Joker-themed objects).

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DS

The “Stealth Suit” assists characters in getting past security protocols. A bouncing washing machine is way normal, right?

These aspects don’t hurt the game, but I am a tad disappointed that the gameplay isn’t as progressive as Marvel.  Naturally I’m sure that the companies involved wanted to retain a measure of continuity when it comes to mechanics, though I think peppering in a few of the ideas introduced in Marvel would’ve pushed Batman 3 even further in the right direction.  Although we’ve seen it all before, it’s presented as wonderfully as ever.  Everything “works like it should” so to speak, and all the contrivances needed to navigate or access certain areas are clever as always.  In lieu of multiple characters with 1 or 2 abilities each, several “core” characters (Batman, Robin, Cyborg, Lex Luther, among others) are equipped with a range of suits that can perform various tasks.  Switching between suits isn’t all that different than switching between players, but the inclusion is thoughtful even if only superficial.

“Stud collecting” is a big part of being able to access new characters (though the game provides the player with the essentials), and this means smashing objects, constantly, repeatedly, reflexively.  In the Lego Paris stage, there are innumerable benches, flowers, trees, and other incidentals that need to be “dealt with.”  Thankfully, once one has collected and bought a few red bricks (specifically the 4 and 6 multipliers (later the 8 and 10) and the “stud magnet” (auto-attracts nearby studs to the player)) the money starts rolling in.  The magnet is especially helpful; often times when smashing objects several studs are flung out of reach of the character, not to mention that they disappear very quickly…probably a little too quickly.  The multipliers work on top of each other, so if both 4x and 6x are active, it’s a 24-fold increase in revenue.  By the time all four multipliers are active (though the 10x brick is found relatively late in the game), those measly little silver studs worth 10 are now a whopping 19,200 each.  Even with just the first 2 active, I literally went from struggling to get to 1 million to increasing my total to 12 or 13 million within the space of 2 or 3 levels.  As I write this with about 96% of the game completed, my total is something like 1.4 billion.  It’s a “neat trick;” the problem is that studs go from being coveted and valuable to damn near meaningless in almost an instant.  For instance, a quick playthrough of “The Breach of Okaara” netted me over 100 million studs in just a few minutes.  The good news is that Lego Batman 3 never devolves into the wearisome and perfunctory task of playing just to gather studs.

Speaking of “The Breach of Okaara,” I’m reminded of the extremely fun shoot ’em up levels in the game.  There are 3 or 4 (maybe 5?) in total and they’re a hell of a lot of fun.  Sporadic interludes like this ought to be expanded upon in future releases.  Also present is a short sort of mini-game when the player’s character must hack a computer.  It involves connecting multiple pairs of same-colored points, identical to mobile-based games like Flow / Flow Free.  

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DS

I tried especially hard to get a great shot of Brainaic’s impressive ship from my 3DS without any luck.

Graphics are excellent, as to be expected from something this cartoonish, and I’m glad that the cutscenes are high quality as well (unlike in Lego Marvel).  Everything is crisp, bright, and easy to identify – a must when it comes to this sort of game where each and every object may have meaning.  There isn’t anything phenomenal to see, but then again I’m not expecting a Lego game to push these sorts of boundaries.  It is a great improvement over the sometimes murky visuals in Batman 2.  As usual, I rarely use the 3D when playing the 3DS, though  I did turn it out to see how well the effect was implemented.  It does admittedly enhance the experience, though the depth is more than adequately conveyed in 2D as well.

Controls were always something of a gripe for me when it came to Lego Batman and Lego Batman 2. Lego Batman 3 sees more fluidity with character movements, though I still ran into stiffness when trying to fly.  The boundaries of the play area aren’t clearly defined, and instead of bumping into an unseen forcefield or something similar, characters tend to get sort of stuck for a moment.  I am actually really surprised by this small but noticeable flaw due to how much freedom flight grants in Lego Marvel.  Marvel makes full use of flying to explore, though Batman 3 tends to reserve it more for specialized tasks and it really isn’t that useful when it comes to surveying the entirety of a level.

Other minor occurrences of getting “stuck” were present as well, particularly when using the “ball” suit/ability.  Elevators could sometimes be an issue, as could getting tangled up in corners with your computer controlled partner.  This glitchy behavior is infrequent, though frequent enough to mention.  Most of the time the issue would clear itself up, thankfully not resulting in the loss of any progress.  Still, I find these errors to be rather unnecessary and sloppy and it seems like these small faults would’ve been easy to spot and fix during testing.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - 3DS

This damn ball…

My final complaint regarding control (or perhaps design, to a larger degree) is the game’s definition of an “edge.”  Whether it be a bottomless pit or a river of lava, it’s never immediately clear when the edge does and doesn’t pose a threat.  Sometimes the game will prevent the character from walking off an edge and other times it won’t, without any real rhyme or reason.  The locations are always consistent, (for instance, you won’t be stopped at an area one moment and then fall off the same area a moment later) but throughout the game it’s a bit of a coin toss as to whether or not to watch one’s step.  Death itself isn’t that much of an inconvenience (you lose a few studs and come back right where you died), so the edge issue is more of an annoyance than anything, but definitely a strange shortcoming.

Overall, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is an impressive addition to the Lego world of video games and certainly an appropriate step forward for the more specific Lego Batman series.  I am slightly disappointed that the gameplay hasn’t evolved as much from its predecessors as Lego Marvel, though I suppose the companies involved want to put at least a little distance between the franchises.  I know I spent some time harping on about control issues, though these factor into the complete experience rather mildly.  They certainly aren’t enough to hinder rampant enjoyment of the simple and addictive, yet thoughtful gameplay.  It may not quite be the best Lego game so far but it is proof that the developers involved are always finding ways to keep the “Lego style” relatively fresh and exciting.  Anyone with even a passing interest in Lego Batman or its sequel should consider giving this a shot as well as Lego game fans in general.

In the near future, I hope to grab a console version of Lego Batman 3 and in addition to a review, perhaps spend a little more time detailing the differences (as I still intend to do with Lego Marvel).  For now though, here’s a complete list of characters in the game, to the best of my knowledge.  This includes the characters that are still locked that I have no idea how to access, as well as the two characters that I accessed by codes and which appear on the select screen during gameplay, but otherwise are mentioned nowhere in the game, including the shop.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get to the bottom of these mysteries soon, as more gamers become aware of the 3DS version’s differences.

(+) Complete (to the Best of My Knowledge) Roster of Characters

Key

  • Gray Names – Characters that I’ve purchased/found/unlocked via normal gameplay.
  • Yellow Names – Locked characters accessed by codes (codes lifted from console versions, many of which do not work) that were not found/purchased over the course of the game.
  • Red Names – Locked characters that can’t be accessed by available codes or found within the game (as of 11-28-14).
  • Purple Names – Characters “revealed” via the  use of codes (codes lifted from console versions, many of which do not work) that do not otherwise appear in-game (i.e. not in the shop).
  • Blue Names – Characters on which unlock codes (from console versions) worked but that were unlocked over the course of gameplay.
  • Ambush Bug
  • Alfred
  • Aquaman
  • Arkillo
  • Atrocitus
  • Goon (Red Lantern)
  • Bane
  • Bane (Big LEGO Figure)
  • Batgirl accessed via code 4LS32K
  • Batman (Black)
  • Batman (’66)
  • Batman (Arctic Suit)
  • Batman (As The Joker)
  • Batman (Demolition Suit)
  • Batman (Electricity Suit)
  • Batman (Dive Suit)
  • Batman (Sensor Suit)
  • Batman (Sonar Suit)
  • Batman (Space Suit)
  • Black Adam
  • Black Canary
  • Black Manta
  • Goon (Reach)
  • Blue Beetle
  • Booster Gold
  • Brainiac
  • Bronze Tiger
  • Bruce Wayne
  • Captain Cold
  • Catwoman
  • Cheetah
  • Cheetah As Robin
  • Cheshire
  • Clark Kent
  • Composite Superman
  • Cyborg
  • Cyborg (Big LEGO Figure)
  • Cyborg (Demolition)
  • Cyborg (Electricity)
  • Cyborg (Magno)
  • Cyborg (Sonar)
  • Cyborg (Space)
  • Cyborg (Stealth)
  • Cyborg (Superman)
  • Darkest Knight Batman
  • Deadshot
  • Deathstroke
  • Doctor Fate
  • Doomsday
  • Etrigan
  • Firefly
  • Firestorm
  • The Flash
  • Frankenstein
  • Geoff Johns
  • Goon (Croc)
  • Goon (Joker Mime)
  • Goon (Joker Spice)
  • Goon (Zamaron)
  • Gorilla Grodd
  • The Gray Ghost
  • Green Arrow
  • Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
  • Green Lantern (Guy Gardner)
  • Goon (Brainiac)
  • Harley Quinn
  • Hawkgirl
  • Hawkman
  • Heatwave
  • Indigo-1
  • Green Lantern (John Stewart)
  • The Jokeraccessed via code 9WYGLP
  • The Joker (As Batman)
  • The Joker (Decoy Suit)
  • The Joker (Demolition Suit)
  • The Joker (Electric Suit)
  • The Joker (Flower Suit)
  • The Joker (Illumination Suit)
  • The Joker (Magno Suit)
  • The Joker (Sphere Suit)
  • Kid Flash
  • Killer Croc
  • Killowog
  • Larfleeze
  • Lex Luthor
  • Lex Luthor (As Hawkman)
  • Lex Luthor (Wonder Woman)
  • Lex Luthor (Hazard Suit)
  • Lex Luthor (Big LEGO Figure)
  • Lex Luthor (Decoy)
  • Lex Luthor (Shield)
  • Lex Luthor (Space)
  • Lex Luthor (Stealth)
  • Lex Luthor (Techno Access)
  • Lobo
  • Mad Matter
  • Manchester Black
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Martian Manhunter (Big LEGO Figure)
  • Metallo
  • Miss Martian
  • Mr. Freeze
  • Music Meister
  • Nightwing
  • Goon (Orange Lantern)
  • Parasite
  • Poison Ivy
  • The Question
  • Red Hood
  • Reverse Flash
  • The Riddler
  • Robin
  • Robin ’66
  • Robin (As Lex)
  • Robin (Dive Suit)
  • Robin (Hazard Suit)
  • Robin (Mind Control)
  • Robin (Illumination)
  • Robin (Magno Suit)
  • Robin (Techno Access)
  • Robin (Sphere Suit)
  • Saint Walker
  • Shazam
  • Sinestro
  • Solar Suit Superman
  • Solomon Grundy
  • Stargirl
  • Star Sapphire
  • Superboy
  • Supergirl
  • Superman
  • Swamp Thing
  • Tim Drake
  • Trickster
  • Vibe
  • Wonder Girl
  • Wonder Woman
  • Wonder Woman (Cheetah)
  • Batman (Zur-En-Arrh)accessed via code ZWQPJD
  • Plastic Manaccessed via code H2VB8Z

I encourage anyone with any additional information to please contact me immediately! – The Cubist @ Nerd Bacon . com

Also check out my review of the same game for the PS Vita, acting much as a comparison between the game on the two different devices.


Update:  For the sake of posterity, I’m leaving the article as-is, but I would like to finally elaborate on the weird “problems” I was having.  As for the strangeness of some of the codes working and some not, I can’t offer any insight.  But I can explain that last little 3.2% of the game I was unable to complete.  Besides the codes that unlocked Plastic Man and Zur-En-Arrh Batman (who don’t appear in the game at all), I was having trouble locating the coins for a few remaining characters.  I picked up a strategy guide (which I’m very glad to have now that I’m digging into the PS4 version) and it quickly revealed what I had begun to suspect all along: that these missing characters were located in the Batcave hub.  The problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to get back to the Batcave once the Watchtower became my default hub.  And there was no way to pick up all the coins before making it to the Watchtower because the player hadn’t yet gained enough abilities.

As it turns out, there’s a little teleporter located in the Watchtower’s Control Room that leads back to the Batcave.  I had to go to a forum based site to find this answer since apparently no one else was having any trouble with the issue and it wasn’t anything that was explicitly pointed out, anywhere, by anyone.  To be fair, the Control Room is a big place, and no attention whatsoever is drawn to either the teleporter to the Watchtower in the Batcave (which I found by accident) or the one from the Watchtower to the Batcave.  So anyway, once I got back to the Batcave with all my newfound abilities, tracking down those remaining tokens was a breeze.

So how do Plastic Man and Zur-En-Arrh Batman fit into the mix?  Well, they’re the reward for a job well done!  I unlocked them with codes on this version (3DS), but I was able to confirm that they are automatically awarded when reaching 100% when playing through on the PS Vita.

In short, the entire problem stemmed from one tiny oversight on my part – ironic considering I managed to uncover every other little twist and secret that Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham had to offer!  But that’s it; one little teleporter pad was the source of all that damn confusion…


Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist


Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything: thecubist@nerdbacon.com

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