LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Review
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Considering the LEGO series’ history with the DC comics’ licence, in the form of LEGO Batman and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, it came as a bit of a surprise when Traveller’s Tales announced that they would be releasing a game based on the other half of the mainstream comic divide in the form of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Whilst LEGO Marvel certainly aims to cater to those familiar with recent Marvel film releases (such as The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, and the X-Men movies), there’s also plenty here that will appeal to fans of Marvel’s graphic novels, with a deep character roster and a story that guides players through a number of famous comic book locales.
The story in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes isn’t exactly mind-blowing, but it does give fans the chance to play as some of their favourite superheroes and visit places such as the X-Mansion, Stark Tower, and even Asgard. In an attempt to draw the world-devouring Galactus towards Earth, Loki teams up with Doctor Doom, Magneto and a number of other villains to collect Cosmic Bricks: LEGO bricks with magical powers that essentially serve as a plot device to bring a wide range of heroes and villains together on opposing sides. As can be expected, most levels feature our Marvel heroes fighting their way through nameless goons, with the ultimate objective of each level being to defeat a particular villain, be it Sandman, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, or some other powerful and angry foe. Each level generally ties in with the heroes the player can choose to use. For example, if you’re playing in the Baxter Building, you’ll be controlling members of the Fantastic Four, whilst the Ryker’s Island level sees players using Wolverine.
The levels within this game are some of the longest I’ve experienced in a LEGO title, so it was a pleasing sight to see that the game allows you to save mid-level at certain checkpoints, and either continue your game, or exit to the main menu and return to this particular point at a later date. In terms of gameplay, much of what is on offer here will prove familiar to anyone who has played a LEGO game previously. Most levels feature a mixture of simple two-button combat (which actually feels easier in Marvel Super Heroes than previous LEGO games) and reasonably easy puzzles to solve, usually requiring the breaking of certain objects in order to reveal bricks to build another, more useful item. These levels are initially played through as part of the story, which limits the characters you can use within them, but once the narrative is completed, players are able to go back with their personal selection and unlock bonuses or gain extra LEGO studs, which serve as currency.
Outside of the narrative, there is a Marvelised version of New York to explore with plenty of optional objectives, and also a series of post-game Deadpool missions, which are often more light-hearted than the main plot, with one particular level seeing Tony Stark attempting to set up a party for his superhero friends. As is typical with the LEGO series, there’s a great deal of optional content to see within the game, and while the main story can be finished in 8-10 hours, gaining 100% completion could easily push more toward the 25-30 hour mark. Side quests include obtaining gold bricks, unlocking extra characters (or character costumes), rescuing Stan Lee from various precarious situations, and finding red Deadpool bricks, which are used to unlock cheats such as stud multipliers or guides towards extra bricks.
Aesthetically, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a typical mixed bag for the series in that, whilst it does a good job of faithfully recreating well-known Marvel environments (based more on the movie recreations than the comic versions), there are a number of visual issues that have a habit of breaking any immersion players may have in the game world. This mainly includes clipping issues, such as the Green Goblin’s glider disappearing into the floor during cutscenes, but much of the game suffers from a low level of resolution. In terms of the audio experience, much of the voice-acting is well-done, although it can be a little jarring to hear voices other than Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Hemsworth come out of the mouths of Tony Stark and Thor, respectively. Clark Gregg does reprise his role as Agent Phil Coulson, though, which is a neat touch, as he serves as a form of tutorial for those unfamiliar with LEGO mechanics.
Unfortunately, there are a couple more examples of issues within the game that can prove frustrating when experienced. One such instance occurred during a boss battle against Loki, at which point a block that was required to progress refused to spawn, requiring a restart of the entire level to overcome. The next issue occurred during the Latverian level, where Mr. Fantastic, having fallen from a ledge, disappeared underneath the map, instead of respawning in a playable area. Again, Mr. Fantastic was required to progress, and so, a level restart was required to resolve this road block. Admittedly, these issues may not be experienced by every player, but they’re elementary mistakes, and shouldn’t really be happening in a game that is part of such a long-running series.
Despite these issues, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes feels almost like a natural successor to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series of games, and features more of an ensemble cast than LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, which felt more like LEGO Batman 1.5, in which a bunch of other heroes turn up as cameos for the final level. Though LEGO Marvel Super Heroes doesn’t feature much of a challenge, per se, there’s a ton of content here for fans of the Marvel brand, and though the game does have issues that prevent it from being perfect, it’s a strong entry in the LEGO series of games, and comic book fans will surely have a smile on their faces as they play.
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