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4.5 out of 5

by Gary

Back in 2005 LEGO took a big gamble by teaming up with Traveller’s Tales and releasing the first of many licensed properties. They began with “LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game” and since then have released 17 games based off of several different franchises. LEGO Star Wars was great but nothing could prepare me for the excitement of learning that they would be releasing a video game based off of my favorite comic book hero of all time, Batman! In 2008 the first LEGO Batman game hit stores and it was hand’s down my favorite LEGO game to date. Four years later, much to my surprise they brought us a sequel called “LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes” which further expanded the DC Universe in LEGO form but kept the battle largely on the ground. LEGO Batman 2 was fun but it honestly felt like it was just more of the same. In 2013, LEGO released LEGO Marvel Superheroes which surpassed LEGO Batman 2 (and almost every other previous LEGO game) in nearly every way and when I heard that they were releasing a third LEGO Batman game, I knew that it would have to be be stiff competition for Marvel and I’m very happy to report that I was correct!

The story of “LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham” revolves around Braniac kidnapping Green Lantern, Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Atrocitus, Saint Walker, and Larfleeze and using their power rings to fuel a new weapon which he intends to use to shrink all of the planets starting with Earth! Meanwhile, Batman and Robin seeing Braniac’s ship and wanting to check it out head into space and upon their arrival run into Lex Luthor and the Joker as well as several of their minions including Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, Firefly and Killer Croc who have snuck on board and intend to take over the Justice League Watchtower. Upon learning of Braniac’s plans the heroes and villains feel like it’s high time that they team up to stop the impending threat to planet Earth.

Lego Batman 3 takes what was good about the second game, which was the first LEGO game to include dialogue and also one of the first to include an open world gameplay style and makes it better! The hub worlds (Batcave, Justice League Watchtower, Hall of Heroes, etc) are massive and there are a lot of great hidden items within each one! The game covers 16 stages in the regular campaign which include Gotham City, Europe, the Lantern’s planets and much more! Additionally, there are bonus levels (one being based on Batman ‘66) and a slew of mini-games! With over 150 characters to unlock (including characters based on Batman ‘66, Batman Beyond, The Justice League, etc.) you always have something fun to look forward to finding! This game is also not shy on DLC, including character, vehicle and level packs from The Dark Knight, Man of Steel and more! Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any news of DLC for the Wii U yet, but maybe it will happen eventually. Also, there is a certain creature and score in the credits of the main game that certainly allude to future game possibilities and LEGO’s new set of bricks coming out next year!

The game has a few problems, but that’s nothing new to the LEGO games. I had a few situations where the background dropped out completely and all you could see where the sprites and breakable items in a room but it quickly fixed itself. In addition to that, the game at one point didn’t even load a character that I needed to complete the level. As I said, this is nothing new. I have been having these problems since the first Traveller's Tales/LEGO game. This is by and far my favorite LEGO game to date! LEGO Marvel is a close follow up though so I hope that they keep pushing to push these series into a new and interesting territory! While LEGO Batman 3 isn’t a perfect game, it is the most fun that I’ve had with a video game this year!