After Traveller’s Tales delivered two very successful titles in LEGO Batman and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, it seemed a forgone conclusion that the developer might soon tackle Marvel’s heroes and villains. But, there loomed a major conflict over whether DC owner Warner Bros. would be able to secure the rights to their biggest competitor, Marvel.
Thankfully, the licensing rights gods have smiled upon us and helped make LEGO Marvel Super Heroes a reality. And thank TT Games, because they have delivered yet another successful LEGO adaptation, one that does justice to its massive cast of Marvel characters.
The set-up in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is fairly straightforward: a group of villains, led by Doctor Doom, set out to steal Cosmic Bricks that have been inadvertently scattered around the universe after the Silver Surfer has a run in with Galactus. But, while Doom’s henchman (Loki, Doctor Octopus, Magneto, etc.) work to collect the Bricks, various members of The Avengers…the true Avengers…try their best to stop them in a sprawling adventure befit of the Marvel universe. Not to mention, the game boasts the type of team-ups and battles that, due to rights issues, we will never see on in a feature film.
At the same time, while LEGO Marvel absolutely understands these characters and what makes them appealing, the game is slightly lacking when it comes to its writing and voice acting. Aside from brief vocal appearances from Clark Gregg (a.k.a. Agent Coulson), the rest of the cast is filled out by soundalikes that are mostly hit or miss with regards to tone and delivery. Similarly, the sharp, comedic writing that usually makes these LEGO games so charming is sorely lacking here. The dialogue between the game’s various heroes, while sometimes chuckle-worthy, is especially disappointing, especially considering how well TT nailed the dynamic between Superman and Batman in LEGO DC.
As most fans know, LEGO games are only as good as their playable characters. Luckily, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has all the requisite heroes and villains that fans could want. Everyone from Loki to Black Panther to more obscure characters like Squirrel Girl and Beta Ray Bill makes an appearance. Obviously, some characters — like Iron Man, Spider-Man, and many of the X-Men – get more time in the spotlight than others, but chances are your favorite character is playable in some respect.
What’s more, the game does well to recreate the various powers and abilities of the Marvel heroes, from Spider-Man’s “Spidey Sense” to Hulk’s combination of intelligence (in human form) and pure strength. Each hero feels unique in certain aspects, but most fall into a few straightforward roles. For example, there are those heroes who are strong, those who are smart, those who can dig, and those who climb. Players will have to mix and match these various abilities to progress through the game’s dozen or so levels, and to defeat the many villains peppered throughout, but, in most cases, the necessary combination is fairly obvious. That doesn’t diminish the gameplay’s appeal, though, because there’s nothing like switching between various Avengers team members.
The game also features many of Marvel Comics’ iconic locations from the Daily Bugle to Stark Tower, all of which are well represented in LEGO form. TT Games has perfected their signature brand of level design, combining more traditional CG elements with those that look like handcrafted LEGO pieces. And if you have the opportunity to play LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on a next-gen platform, we highly recommend it.
If there is one word to describe the LEGO franchise thus far it’s consistent. The experience from one game to the next is certainly familiar, but no less appealing, especially with the right brand bolstering the end product. Some might argue that the past few LEGO games have honed in on a formula that doesn’t change much from game to game, and while those criticisms are certainly valid, it’s hard to deny these LEGO games are hugely popular.
And by partnering that solid LEGO brand with Marvel, TT Games has found what is likely their most successful formula: combining a diverse cast of characters with their tried and true gameplay tropes. Fans of anything Marvel has created in the last 75+ years will come away from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes satisfied, as will those who regularly turn up for and enjoy TT Games’ LEGO releases. The game by no means introduces any fundamental changes, but it’s charming, well designed, and endless engaging all the same.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes is out now for the 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided a PS4 copy of the game for this review.
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