'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' review: Rebuilding year

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 11:00 AM Written by 

LegoMarvelcoverThe Lego video game franchise developed by Traveller’s Tales ran out of pieces. It took big name franchises like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” and “Lord of the Rings” and put the same cheeky spin on each one. These games recreated famous scenes with Lego characters, a spin that became all too familiar with its last parody, “Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes.” I expected a similar outing for “Lego Marvel Super Heroes,” but this entry revitalized the series by creating what is arguably the best Lego game yet. This greatness was achieved by making new building blocks in the series, rather than building a new world with the familiar ones.

“Lego Marvel” borrows themes and characters from both the film adaptations and the source material of the Marvel universe to make one of the most expansive Marvel casts since “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.” The larger story is original, while some of the individual chapters are borrowed from the movies. Galactus is on a path to his next meal: Earth. The Silver Surfer heads to earth to warn the heroes, but they are preoccupied with guarding the Tesseract from Loki. Each sect of the Marvel universe is in its own internal struggle, but they must join forces to stop the greater evil that threatens their planet.

If you’re familiar with the Marvel movies, you’ll recognize characters and storylines from each one. But there’s always a small twist to keep it from being a carbon copy. Rather than the “Lego speak” gibberish that is usually spouted by the characters in Lego games, “Lego Marvel” is fully voice acted. The cast is up to the task of delivering lines with impeccable similarity to the actors who play their counterparts in the movies. And the script is laugh-out-loud hilarious. I’d say it’s one of the funniest games of the year. The witty dialogue mixed with the ironic behavior of the characters makes for big laughs. The Hulk is seen obsessively sweeping up after smashing buildings to rubble. Nick Fury struggles to put a straw in his cup while briefing the Avengers on a mission of the utmost importance, only to toss it to an underling to fix it. Explaining these scenarios doesn’t do them justice. They walk the fine line of being funny for younger and older audiences alike.  

The gameplay is familiar, yet seriously improved. It’s a combination of open world game and level-based story progression. Different characters have different abilities that aid in solving puzzles. For example, Iron Man has missiles that can destroy silver objects. Spider-Man can pull far away objects with his web ropes. Hulk can move large objects. The list of variables goes on with the expansive cast of over 100 Marvel favorites.

This may be the first game that actually makes controlling Iron Man fun. He has projectile beams, close-quarter melee attacks, and of course the gift of flight. Zipping around the open New York City is as fast and enjoyable as I imagine it should be. Tt Games nailed the character’s control.

This is the first Lego game to feature different sized character models. Larger characters like Hulk, Venom, or Thing have bulkier bodies that handle differently from the typical smaller figures. Different character models allow for more variety in the gameplay. The previous Lego games also had large casts of characters, but they often ran into redundancies with different characters that controlled the same way. It appears that the developers made a conscious effort to make almost every character unique, which is a huge positive for a cast of this size.

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“Lego Marvel” can be played solo, or with a friend. I played the majority of the game by myself and had a great time with it, but it truly shines when playing with a close friend. Cooperatively advancing through a level while using teamwork to build Lego structures and bring a villain to justice is a joy. Unfortunately, the dizzying revolving split-screen is back, and will take getting used to if you’ve never seen it before.

The open world section is packed with characters and special Lego blocks to unlock. It’s best to save the open-world exploration for after the game’s completion since you’ll need many of the more obscure characters to solve some of the puzzles. This aspect of the game is a completionist’s dream, but it does adopt the “quantity over quality” mentality. Many of the open world quests are repetitive, and there are a lot of them.  

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While many games can be stressful because of the constant fear of death or failure, this game is a stress reliever. You can’t fail. Dying will explode your character into a bunch of tiny Lego pieces, but a replacement is always ready to fill its spot. Progression is always the task at hand, which is being achieved as long as you’re playing.

“Lego Marvel Heroes” is the rare breed of game that is a delight for all ages, which is perfect due to its slant towards co-op play. At the below-average price of $50, it is well worth the money. It’s one of the best family friendly games to come out this year, and will be a sure hit for fans of the Marvel series.


9 out of 10

 

Pros:

Enormous cast of Marvel heroes and villains (but no Ultron :-(

Hilarious writing

Fluid and enjoyable character control

Excellent co-op

 

Cons:

Repetitive open-world missions

 

 Release Date   10/22/2013 
 Price  $50 
 Rated  E10+ 
 Platform  Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC, Vita, 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4
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