Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Lego games are my ultimate weakness. When a new one is announced I get a little over excited, because I’m always sure that the next one will be just as good as the last. They’re cute, they never look outdated, and they usually tap into a pop culture movie/book/ universe that I am crazy for *cough* Harry Potter *cough* Lord of the Rings *cough* Indiana Jones. The newest Traveller’s Tales game follows along the same path, this time taking on the huge task or recreating the Marvel universe in miniblock form. And I was not disappointed.
This Lego game begins with the Silver Surfer crashing to earth and losing the pieces to his board, which are then stolen by the Marvel villains. It is up to the Marvel superheroes to take them on and defeat them, including Dr. Doom’s Doom Ray … of Doom! As the game progresses, the heroes are trying to recover the surfer pieces from the villain in various different hideouts, team bases, and scenarios around the city. Just when all might be under control, Galactus appears, and the villains and heroes are forced to team up to face their biggest (literally) challenge yet.
Lego Marvel is an incredibly well made Lego game. First and foremost, the game looks great. The graphics, while keeping in vein with what Lego blocks look like, embraces the technology of the next generation of consoles by filling your screen with movement, a huge breakable environment, and tons of action during combat. The game is also incredibly bright, which is really shown off by the colorful superhero and villain costumes and headquarters. This coupled with the voice acting means the game feels right to what the Marvel universe is. While Iron Man leaves a little to be desired, almost all the other voices sound great: Wolverine, Nick Fury and Spiderman are excellent standouts in amazing voice acting.
Very early into the game you gain open access to New York City. Hidden all over the city are unlockables: gold and red bricks, as well as new characters to play with. Not only does this mean there is tons to explore during your game, but it also means there is lots to do once the main story is completed. New York City mirrors the same feel as the open world in Lego Batman 2 or Lego Lord of the Rings: so much to look at, break, and collect.
The levels are just as well thought out as the open world experience is. Between exploring the Fantastic 4 HQ, Stark Tower, or an asylum hiding Dr. Doom, Loki and Magneto within its halls, there is tons to explore, smash, and puzzles to solve. They are colorful and creative, forcing you to use switch between all your different characters to progress to the next stage. It is by no means difficult, and quite similar to the gameplay of any other Lego game, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing – while it might sound repetitive, it doesn’t feel that way.
There are several goals in each level: you can choose to just complete the mission, or try to complete several goals as well, including collecting minikits, a set number of studs, and of course rescuing Stan Lee. It is impossible to unlock everything your first time through, and so you can replay each level in “free play” mode, allowing you to choose which character you play as throughout the level.
Each of the characters is equipped with different abilities to help you navigate the levels. This really helps break up the repetitive button mashing of combat, as satisfying as it is, by forcing you to use different characters to continue to the next area. Wolverine can unlock specific switches and dig up dirt piles; Mr. Fantastic can slip through grates and turn into useful shapes in specific areas; Jean Grey can use her powers to mind control other minifigures to press unreachable buttons, and Hulk … well, he smashes. Especially the very heavy things.
Each level ends with a boss, and based on who the villain is will affect which of your superheroes skills are needed to defeat them. Some of these are repetitive and almost too similar to previous games (use magic/ telekinesis to float an item at the bad guy; knock him over; take down a heart; repeat 3 times) but they all feel epic the way a superhero vs. supervillian fight should. One of the best examples is the fight between Hulk and the Abomination: By mashing a button you help Hulk overpower him, and then punch him in the face several times, which stuns him, and allows Spiderman to use his web to cover his face or knock him out. It was in the middle of a jail with big spotlights everywhere and a hovering helicopter, and it was incredible.
There are adorable pop culture touches all over the place. At one point Nick Fury needs you to fight some snakes on the helicarrier; Deadpool is usually lurking to wave or tease you; Stan Lee jokes about his cameos; and there are schwarma references everywhere, including the aptly named Platinum trophy.
Lego Marvel is a great game, and a welcome addition to the PS4 release lineup. Appropriate for children and adults alike, this is a must have on your shelf for any Marvel fan, Lego fan, or avid trophy collector and completionist. The levels are well thought out and vibrant; the voice acting is spot on and engrossing, and there is tons to do through your game and afterwards. The small hiccups and repetitive elements from other Lego games does not take away from your experience, and Traveller’s Tales has once again delivered the Lego experience I expect and love.