LEGO and superheroes are always a good mix, both in toy bricks and in video game form. I was so excited to get my hands on LEGO Marvel’s Avenger because they are, without a doubt, the ultimate super crime fighting team. The Avengers group have a great variety of powers and combat styles, but with the prospect of playing with a cast of 200 characters, I was even more excited who I would find to use throughout the game. Having played LEGO Marvel Super Heroes previously, I wondered if this was going to be the same game as it already tapped into most of the Marvel universe. Though the new game follows the latest films closely; I had a good feeling it would be a new spin on the Marvel franchise.
As the title of the game suggests, LEGO Marvel’s Avenger follows the storyline from the first film as well as the Age of Ultron. The game also features a few moments from other Marvel films such as Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3 and both of the Captain America flicks. The story jumps between present day and flashbacks for some of the heroes’ scenes, and I thought it all tied in well while staying true to the two Avengers films. It gives you a glimpse into each of the heroes backstories, which was an excellent idea as you get to sample each of the heroes gameplay styles as well.
The thing I love the most about LEGO games is everything is smash-able. In every room and location, no brick is safe, and clearing an entire room always feels satisfying. The locations have a good balance of primary objectives and exploration, which is great and doesn’t push you too much into one direction. The prime location is New York City, an open-world area full of missions and side quests to complete. There are also many other great locations to explore, such as Stark Tower, the Shield base, and even worldly places such as London and Korea. Various locations also accommodate individual character play styles, such as Iron Man having the freedom to fly around in Manhattan.
I’m not sure if it’s just me; but sometimes I didn’t know what to do or how to progress the game further. One part of the game I was stuck at was trying to open an electrical gate, and it took me at least ten minutes to solve it. Once I picked Iron Man and started experimenting, I honed my cursor towards a cog, used my laser and finally broke the gate. I found myself stuck on many problems which forced me to experiment with the controls and environments to solve the objective. As such, I think having an arrow or a hint box with brief instructions would be valuable for those players who may feel confused. Then, for the more experienced LEGO players, they can have the option to turn off the assist icon if they feel they don’t require it.
The gameplay mechanics remain the same, much like past LEGO titles, in which players smash their way through LEGO bricks to collect as many LEGO studs as possible. Luckily there are a decent variety of puzzles and interesting mini-games to break up the combat. If you’ve played any previous LEGO titles, you will likely feel very comfortable with the control scheme and gameplay style in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers as it doesn’t really differ from what’s come before.
I found the combat system to be robust and simple, but effective in creating epic battles with a mix of combos and special powers. It’s fun eliminating multiple enemies and seeing their blocks fly all over the place in classic LEGO fashion. The special moves are active for use after hitting a combo on an enemy, then pushing (B or O) when the button appears. The animation is well designed, with each character having their own brand of destructive offense. For example, The Hulk will swing enemies like a rag-doll while Black Widow will launch into the air with duelling gunshots to her foes. In addition, you can perform tag-team attacks that are both effective and comical at the same time.
In regards to the visuals, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers uses current-gen technology to its full advantage by offering better effects, a higher frame-rate during chaotic battles and much shinier looking bricks. The soundtrack is also fantastic, and by adding some of the impressive orchestral scores from the film, it accompanies the action on the screen seamlessly and gives the battles a big fight feel.
Naturally, the humour from the previous LEGO games has returned yet again, and it never gets old; it adds particular charm to the games and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I love. All of the gags are lighthearted and are aimed at all ages – I especially loved that Nick Fury would always be having a drink from his milkshake in pretty much every scene he appears in.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of, however, was that the game added sound bites from the films. It features voices from the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and many more. It doesn’t quite match up with the whole game and seems like an afterthought. The sound bites either sound too quiet or poorly recorded. There is new voice acting designed specifically for the game, for other characters, though, and the sound is noticeably better and fits with the game perfectly.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is fun in single player, but much more enjoyable with friends and family. Some fans might notice the absence of certain superheroes from the last instalment, but this iteration does improve in other areas such as more action scenes, a more witty sense of humour, and loads of collectibles. Essentially, the campaign mode ticks all the boxes by following the film’s storyline, with a good dose of comedic personality, and succeeds in recreating the Avenger’s epic adventure as a result. Overall, it’s a solid adventure game that delivers all the best moments from the movies and revisits the signature LEGO gameplay. The game is bound to please both Marvel and LEGO gamers alike.