Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is part of the long-running wacky Lego action-adventures. It has all the color, energy, and vast gameplay of the previous Lego games, as well as the humor, tongue-in-cheek wit, and generous quantity of unlockable characters. Unfortunately, where it differs from other Lego games is presentation. Beyond Gotham assumes players have previous experience with Lego games, and that's a mistake. You're supposed to know you'll need to swap characters to clear out certain obstacles, or swap special suits for characters like Batman and Robin to gain new abilities, but the game does a poor job of explaining this, and new players could be confused. Hints are available in the form of occasional signs that pop up when you hit them, but these often appear after you need them. And if it's tough to figure out when to use whom, and how to make use of multiple suits, it's worse once you have a whole group of Super Friends.
Still, these problems can be ignored if you're a fan of exploration and can't get enough superhero references. Beyond Gotham looks good and sounds great -- it even features the voice of TV's original Batman, Adam West. Better still, it offers more than 150 unlockable characters, so your favorites are bound to be among them. The dialogue is funny, and in-jokes add to the hilarity -- for instance, when Wonder Woman flies, the theme to the old '70s Wonder Woman TV series plays. There are even special appearances by celebrities such as Conan O'Brien and Kevin Smith (although you have to wonder if most kids will know who they are). It's tough to beat a Lego game for sheer entertainment value. Plus, with the long levels and option to replay missions for additional rewards or to download additional content, the game will keep you busy. Overall, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is worth playing, but it's one of the franchise's least successful games, and only die-hard DC fans will play all the way through.