After TT Games dipped their toes into the DC Comics pool with a few LEGO Batman releases, Marvel fans can finally rejoice as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes released on last-gen consoles in October and the newly current-gen consoles the following month. Was it everything we hoped it would be?
TT Games has been at this whole LEGO video game thing since 2005’s LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, and has made some pretty fantastic renditions of other popular franchises such as Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings over the years. If there is one thing I’ve noticed over the years, it’s that this developer rarely strays from the familiar with each LEGO installment. We’ve been introduced to a few innovations here and there, like the open world environment and somewhat unwanted addition of voice acting in LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, but the core break-and-build concept has remained largely unchanged.
If you think that’s a good thing, you should feel right at home with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, but I grew rather tired of the same concept after 5 or 6 chapters. I’ve played a majority of the LEGO games and even got all 1000G in LEGO Batman for the 360, but while playing through LEGO Marvel there were actually moments where I just wanted to get the campaign over with so I could free-roam in the open world.
That’s not to discredit the story though, which is actually quite good. In a nutshell, Silver Surfer’s board explodes in to powerful black LEGO blocks and the world’s most notorious villains all want them for their own reasons. With Silver Surfer unable to lure Galactus out of Earth’s path and the trio of Magneto, Doctor Doom and Loki teaming up to find the black blocks, it’s up to Marvel’s finest to band together for the fate of the world.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features an insane roster of over 150 different heroes and villains to choose from (yet they somehow forgot Omega Red existed. That hurt, Marvel.. that hurt.). A small percentage of playable characters are unlocked throughout the campaign, but if you’re a completionist who wants the full roster, prepare to put upwards of 10-20 hours in to the various side-missions available in LEGO Manhattan and aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, plus another 10-12 hours replaying the same campaign missions with different characters.
During the 12 hours it took me to finish the campaign, I had my fair share of fun but ran across a few issues that made things rather frustrating. For starters, I hate the addition of voice acting. One of my favorite aspects of the earlier LEGO titles was watching how TT Games would recreate iconic moments using nothing more then slapstick comedy, and I think a lot of that has been ruined with the implementation of voices. Every other sentence during the cut-scenes were bad puns or dated pop-culture jokes that made me roll my eyes far more often than they made me laugh.
Another major annoyance for me was the overabundance of playable characters on-screen during game-play. A level may start with Human Torch and The Thing, but by the end you could also have Spider-Man and Storm flying around, which made it pretty difficult to swap to the right person.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes also comes with its fair share of glitches. I ran in to instances where characters would get stuck in a wall (usually while flying or falling off the side) or an object that was supposed to spawn never actually spawned (specifically during the Loki fight, numerous times). The only way to correct the glitch was to exit the game completely and load my last save-point, which occurred on four different occasions.
I was rather annoyed at the fact that the interact button (Y on the Xbox controller) is also the same button used to swap characters on-screen, change characters from the roster menu and transform certain characters like Stan Lee or The Hulk. Since you spend such a large portion of the game breaking things apart and building them up, I didn’t run across the need for interaction until jumping in to free roam mode where you can jump in and out of different vehicles.
Graphically, the Xbox One version of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is pretty easy on the eyes. The increased particle effects work rather nicely as destroying large objects as The Thing would cause them to explode in to hundreds of tiny pieces. The Wii U version of LEGO Marvel doesn’t use the gamepad for anything other than off-screen play, but I also didn’t notice any sort of Kinect or SmartGlass support for the Xbox One version, so if you’re looking for any next-gen features, you won’t find any here.
Level designs are hit or miss, with some even using old models from the LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 game. Other levels, like Asgard or Asteroid M for example, looked fantastic. Each level features various collectibles, although most of which are unobtainable until you unlock Free Play mode to go back in with different characters. This definitely adds to the replay value of the game, especially when you consider it’s at least a 12 hour romp through the campaign the first time. Add that in to the open world of LEGO Manhattan and you’ve got a pretty hefty bang for your buck in terms of content.
The LEGO series of games hasn’t evolved too much over the years, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is no different, for better or for worse. While it features a ridiculous amount of superheroes and villains alike, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table aside from flight controls. If you’re okay with that, or you’re familiar with the LEGO series as a whole, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, especially as a Marvel fan or a fan of bro-op games in general.
If you’re looking for something to buy for your kids to play on your shiny new console, your options are pretty slim at this point and they should have tons of fun with it, but if you’re like me and you’ve grown tired of the same break-and-build game mechanic and collect-a-thon achievements over the years, it can grow quite tiresome rather quickly.