There’s something really special about the licensed LEGO games. Ever since the release of LEGO Star Wars back in 2005, we’ve seen at least one new licensed LEGO game a year. It’s no surprise either – they’re good quality games that take a well loved property and add some charming LEGO magic to it. You’ve still got to wonder though, after eighteen games are developers TT Games still able to keep producing quality LEGO titles without the formula starting to feel old? Judging by latest release LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, the sequel to 2013’s LEGO Marvel Superheroes, the answer is an astounding yes – LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is one of the finest LEGO games yet.
Whilst LEGO Marvel Superheroes offered its own unique story, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers instead re-creates the best action scenes from both Avengers movies, both Captain America movies, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World – with added LEGO humour, of course. TT Games have really gone all out with attention to detail, with minor things such as Agent Coulson checking out his Captain America trading cards a neat touch that fans of the movies will appreciate. Each scene from the movie is re-created perfectly and the game starts with a bang, allowing you to play as each member of the Avengers as you fight through the opening battle against Hydra from Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
TT Games have done a great job in creating a LEGO re-imagining of your favourite action scenes from each movie, and to add to the authenticity they’ve also included the actual voiceovers and soundtrack from the movies too. Whilst the soundtrack is a welcome addition, the voiceovers could be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you’d notice that it could be really quiet or somewhat distorted, something I can only assume is a result of cutting out the background noise from the actual movies themselves. Whilst an oddity, it didn’t take anything away from the game and for the most part it wasn’t too common an occurrence – besides, it’s worth it to have the actual voice talents of talented actors such as Robert Downy Jr. and Samuel L Jackson in the game.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers follows the same tried and tested design that has featured in all other LEGO games with simple combat mechanics, platforming action and a constant barrage of puzzles to solve. Whilst it doesn’t change up anything you’ve played in previous LEGO games, the formula still proves to be fun – especially when you’re constantly smashing up your foes and the environment. One of the best features in a LEGO game is the ability to smash up nearly everything on show – something all the more satisfying when you get to do it as the Incredible Hulk. It’s worth destroying everything you can though, especially when you consider that it rewards you with studs that can be spent to buy all new characters.
There’s an abundance of characters to play as in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers with over two hundred available to unlock. You unlock them by progressing through the story, finding them hidden in levels or by spending your hard earned studs to purchase them. It’s an addictive process and there’s a certain excitement to be had from unlocking an all new character to try out, especially since most of them manage to feel so unique. Admittedly, there are a few characters that don’t really offer anything special other than a gun and standard abilities, but with over two hundred characters on offer you’d expect a few boring ones in the mix.
Whilst the character count is high, fans of LEGO Marvel Superheroes will be disappointed that the likes of the X-Men and Fantastic 4 don’t make an appearance despite appearing in the previous game. It’s understandable given that LEGO Marvel’s Avengers focuses on the Avenger’s primarily, but their absence is a shame given that they featured so prominently previously. Fortunately, there’s over one hundred all new characters on offer including some incredibly obscure ones that even the most die-hard of Marvel fans may struggle to recognise – some may consider that a flaw, but I think it’s great fan service.
Each superhero in the game feels just like their non-LEGO counterpart, with characters like Ironman being able to fly and fire rockets whilst Captain America can throw his shield to take out foes. You’ll even be able to use the mind control powers of Scarlet Witch or the super speed abilities of Quicksilver – each character’s special abilities are cleverly implemented. If you have the right pairing of characters you’ll also be able to perform unique team-moves too, offering a more powerful attack to take out foes or obstacles blocking your path. It’s not just in combat situations that you’ll need to use your powers though – puzzles not only require wit, but also correct use of your character’s abilities.
If there’s one thing I’ve always had beef with in LEGO games it’s the slightly obscure puzzles, and they make a return in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. I don’t know what it is about the LEGO games, but I always seem to have difficulty working out what exactly I have to do to solve some of the puzzles. The game does give you some direction by telling you what type of power you’ll need in most situations, but I still found myself baffled at times. Fortunately, I’m not a complete idiot and was able to solve simple puzzles that required me to use Ironman’s laser to cut through metal, Scarlet Witch’s mind control to get an NPC to do my bidding or Nick Fury’s invisibility to evade security cameras. Sometimes though, the solution just isn’t always as obvious.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers features fifteen main story levels to play through that can also be revisited after completion in free play mode. Whilst playing in free play you’ll have access to all the characters that you’ve unlocked, allowing you to reach areas that were previously inaccessible in order to find all the secrets hidden within a level. It certainly gives you an incentive to replay missions, though gamers who only intend to play through each level once will be satisfied with the roughly eight hour play time. I’ve put over twenty hours in myself and still have plenty to unlock…
Whilst open worlds have played a role in previous LEGO games, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers ups the ante by including eight open world areas this time around. These include the likes of Asgard, Barton Farm, S.H.I.E.L.D. Base Exterior, Sokovia and even Tony Stark’s Malibu home. It’s great that you can explore all these famous Avengers locations and each offers a replication that bears a close to identical similarity with its movie counterpart. Each location is also full of collectibles to unlock and side missions to complete, offering a ton of activities to enjoy whilst not playing through the game’s main levels.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Marvel game if you didn’t get to explore New York City too. New York City offers the biggest open world in the game and also features the most activities to complete, including some great airborne races. However, whilst New York City could be considered the main hub of the game, it’s also the least interesting – I felt like I’d seen everything it had to offer in Lego Marvel Superheroes whilst it also lacked the personal touches of the smaller open world environments.
It wouldn’t be a LEGO game without multiplayer abd co-op makes a welcome return, although it’s a little disappointing we still don’t get an online mode. Instead, there’s local co-op where players will play on the same screen, though it will split if you get too far apart from each other. It’s enjoyable and works well in set pieces, especially when you’re in the air taking out airborne enemies whilst your co-op partner is on the ground taking out the ground forces. Either way, there’s still a ton of fun to be had that’s both appealing to hardcore gamers and a family audience.
The LEGO games have never been known to be graphical powerhouses, but I couldn’t help but to be impressed with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers visuals. Whilst the character models still look like… well… LEGO models, the environments are simply outstanding. From the opening snow filled forest all the way to the vibrant colours of Asgard, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers constantly impressed as the most visually stunning LEGO game yet.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers could well be the best LEGO game so far. The gameplay is as enjoyable as ever, each superhero feels great to play as and there are a ton of different locations that you have the freedom to fully explore. It really feels like TT Games upped the ante this time, offering perhaps the most content packed LEGO game yet, with not only fifteen enjoyable levels to plough through but a ton of side missions to complete and unlockables to collect too.
Whilst it’s not quite perfect, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is a fantastic LEGO game that offers an awesome superhero adventure that’ll keep both gamers and Marvel hooked for a long time.
– Classic LEGO gameplay that’s still as enjoyable as ever
– Characters feel unique with an abundance of powers on offer
– Eight open worlds to explore that are packed with detail
– A ton of unlockables that’ll take you a long time to find
– The best visuals in any LEGO game so far
– Some puzzles still feel slightly obscure
– The omission of some superheroes will be disappointing for fans
Developer: TT Games (www.ttgames.com)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (www.wbie.com)
Release Date: 29/01/2016
Format(s): Playstation 4 (reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, PC