Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (MCM London October 2014 Coverage)

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I really like Lego game. At least most of them. I’ve been playing them for most of my life all the way from the Lego Media days all the way to TT Games. Lego Batman was a game of simple pleasures. You are Lego Batman in Lego Gotham fighting Lego villains. There where many puzzles and platforming but by “Lego Batman 2” is was a polished shine. Now that “The Lego Movie” has blasted Lego Batman so deep into the public consciousness that he is getting his own spin-off movie off the back of it. So yes there will be Batman Ben Affleck almost at the same time as Lego Batman Will Arnett. That’s also in addition to Troy Baker in the game. I may jest but there is a lot of Batman stuff in the next few years. Having almost a new Batman thing a year is not getting silly. DC and merchandising the tits of poor old Mr. Wayne. Oh yeah, then there’s “Batman Arkham Knight” as well as the last from Rocksteady but as it stands now I can’t see WB letting that cash cow lay down for long.

Anyway, back to the demo. I got to play a big chunk. Three whole stages. The first was the set up to the main story. The villains invade the Watchtower (the Justice League’s space station) and an emergency call is made to all the heroes. Batman and Robin need to construct their rocket to get to the station. One thing the duo need to get is their suits while they are assembling the rocket. Suits are the special ability’s. Before it was different, changeable costumes but now you can change on the fly via a ‘suit wheel’. I just saw it as the “Ratchet & Clank” weapon wheel because it serves the same purpose. There was already a lot of suits unlocked. When I asked, the WB person said that there were a few missions before were they are unlocked. That only made me think that the game might be a slow starter. Or at least have quite a few tutorial chapters that have little to do anything.

Anyway, you puzzle and platform your way to assembling the rocket and go on your way. The puzzles and platforms where pretty straight forward. Some were a little filler-y but not at all complicated.

When your rocket is built, you blast your way to the Watchtower. But just as you get there, the Joker takes control of the defences and tries to shoot you down. This just means that the game movies into a circular, side-scrolling shooter. It was by far the easiest thing in the demo. There are power-ups a plenty and easily killed enemies. You have a boss battle in the wait for an opening and use pick up variety that is easily finished. Then you joined by some of the League, specifically Cyborg and Flash as well as Batman, to go up the side of the station to break in. This is where my thoughts on the game changed.

You see, there was a panel of them showing off the game. They showed off a few unreleased levels, Paris and London if your interested, but they spent the vast majority of the time talking about who was going to be in the game. A section of some was said about the different Batman’s that will be in the game. The obvious favourite will the the Adam West (1966) Batman as they took the trademark West Batman hammy, over-the-top style and built his character around it. They even managed to get West in to voice the character. It’s not that surprising considering he has played spoofs of himself in “Family Guy” and “Fairly Odd Parents” regularly which shows he has a sense of humour. That’s just the shows I’ve watched because he’s done it countless other times.

What really got me was that they spent a little amount of time talking about the 75th anniversary stuff about Batman which is this year, and more time talking about other DC characters and the Justice League. With DC having a and in the games development, to the point where a super powered DC executive, the game is dripping with DC lore from the ages. This isn’t a problem. I like seeing the old and silly characters from the 50’s. I like the 50’s. But the game stops being about Batman, as in the title of the game, and ends up being about The Justice League or even just DC as an entity.

The game is good and it is great fun. But the best example of the problem is saying that from playing the 3 levels, my favourite character to play was the Flash. It’s not about Batman. It’s about DC.

So TT, I have a new title for you. How about calling the game “Lego DC: Brainiac’s Conquest”, or “Lego Justice League: Brick by Brick”. Or how about “Lego Batman is the Only Sell-able Character We Have So We’re Selling The Tits off the Character: We Want to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe”. We all know you want to.

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