Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – PSV
Platform: PS Vita
Release Date (NA): November 11th, 2014
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Nerd Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Note: I apologize for the lack of images here. I’ve attempted to photograph the screen with a camera, but the resulting quality was inadequate, mostly because I couldn’t get the lens to focus on the screen. Every shot I took was a blurry mess. The internet seems woefully short on images captured directly from the PS Vita version as well. I hope to be able to add images at a later date.L
Recent I played through this very same game on the Nintendo 3DS. From early on I knew that the handheld versions were different from the console ones, and after picking up the strategy guide to get through the last 3.2%, I was fairly certain that the 3DS and PS Vita versions were identical. So why did the irresistible urge to play this on the PS Vita hit me, even after completing it on the 3DS? Hard to say, but I think it has something to do with not having nearly enough good reasons to pull out the Vita. Most of the great handheld games are from Nintendo, so I tend to reflexively default to the 3DS, but if you’re looking for something worthwhile to add to your PSV library, this ought to be more than satisfactory.
In my review for Lego Batman 3 for the 3DS, I go over the basic gameplay in more detail, which essentially remains the same in this PSV port. Those familiar with Lego games will know what to expect: smashing things, building things, and collecting stuff are the main objectives. It more closely resembles the platforming model of Lego Batman 2 rather than the more combat-focused gameplay of the newer Lego Marvel. Other factors such as the storyline, characters, challenges, and unlockables are all identical to the 3DS version as well. For this reason, I’d like to focus more on the differences between the two, rather than serving up a total rehash of my last review.
First off I should say that there really isn’t any reason to own both the PSV and 3DS versions of Lego Batman 3. I did, however, find it interesting to compare the exact same game across today’s leading handhelds. The biggest difference is the graphics. With the PSV’s wide screen, roughly 43% larger than the top screen of the 3DS, everything seems brighter, clearer, and sharper. The PSV’s increased resolution factors in as well, and while the game is perfectly serviceable on the 3DS, it’s stunning on the PSV. I personally think that the higher image quality makes up for the 3-D feature, which I rarely use anyway.
The cutscenes are especially vibrant. The cartoonish nature of the game allows the colors to really shine, and a wonderful crispness brings these toyetic figures to life. Everything from reflections, to forcefields, to laser blasts, is wonderful to look at. In-game graphics are no slouch either. Objects are all well defined and it’s easy to tell what’s breakable and what’s not. Lego Batman 3 does a great job in general of clearly denoting which objects can be interacted with and how they can be interacted with as well.
Another change is how the menus are handled. There isn’t much point in going through the details of how they look, but the larger screen allows for a more elegant and slightly less cramped interface with which to interact with the multitude of information in the game. On the flip side, the PSV’s single screen doesn’t offer up the convenience of the 3DS’ dual setup. What could be done via the bottom screen of the 3DS now must be done by holding other buttons on the Vita. This is really the only downside, as sometimes holding down buttons while attempting to select a character or special suit can interfere with events in the game. I found myself getting used to it fairly quickly, though it still isn’t quite as fast as a few taps on the 3DS.
Aside from the above aspects, the controls are fundamentally the same, and the buttons of the PSV and 3DS are laid out similarly enough that there is almost no adjustment needed. I’ve never disliked the Circle Pad on the 3DS, but I guess I don’t play the Vita enough to realize exactly how awesome those little analog sticks are. They are impressively responsive, and although Lego Batman 3 may not warrant it, I feel like there’s a noticeable increase in precision on the Vita. It might also be worth mentioning that the L and R buttons are easier to press, even though the bottom screen supersedes their use much of the time (on the 3DS).
Lastly, the PS Vita has improved load times over its counterpart. It isn’t so much of a problem on the 3DS, but it is a nice surprise on the PSV, especially with all the switching between levels and hubs.
It would be great to see some small changes in the game specifically tailored to the PSV, such as an increased use of the touchscreen and even some activity on the back pad, but I’m not complaining. After having played a good deal of Lego Batman 3 on the PlayStation 4, it’s remarkable how well the game has been adapted to handhelds. As I said, there’s no real reason to own both handheld ports, and neither is the clear winner, though I slightly prefer the PS Vita version. In fact, playing through it again on the Vita after just having finished the 3DS version hasn’t been nearly as monotonous or as tiring as I had worried it might be.
Regardless of which handheld you own, Lego Batman 3 is a strong entry in the Lego franchise and worth picking up. In my previous review I expressed some regret that it didn’t integrate many of the new mechanics introduced in Lego Marvel, but it still stands on its own quite well. As with any Lego title, it’s got outstanding replay value when considering all the challenges and unlockables, and its whimsical, humorous nature makes it enjoyable for everyone.
If you’re looking for more details regarding the handheld version of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, please read over my review of the game for the 3DS.
Reviewed by The Cubist
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