One of my favourite games of 2013 was the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game. It seemed to find a great balance between all the elements. From the great open world areas to the choice of available superheroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was a joy to play.
LEGO and TT Fusion/ TT Games have once again decided to combine two of my favourite childhood (and adulthood) things, LEGO and Marvel. This time around, as the name suggests the game focuses on the Avengers cinematic universe, and faithfully recreates these major movies scenes in LEGO form. As with previous LEGO, games players get to play as their favourite superheroes, as they fight, build and solve puzzles. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers does not try to deviate from this cut and paste formula. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as this formula is what I have always loved and appreciated in these games.
Unfortunately, having to focus on the Avengers films, the narrative comes with some restrictions that tend to make the game less enjoyable than the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game was. In order to try and join up the storylines from the two Avengers, as well as the Thor and Captain America films the plot frantically jumps between these films as it tries to tie them up in one cohesive storyline. This sometimes makes the narrative feel disjointed and makes some scenes feel out of place. There are some really exhilarating set pieces and action moments such as the battle of New York (where players fight waves of Chitauri) and Taking on Ultron in Sokovia.
Gameplay as mentioned still revolves around simplistic combat which is limited to a normal attack and a special attack. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers tries to mix up the formula by introducing team-up moves, these moves has two characters combining their abilities to create one devastating attack. Visually these look great as Thor strikes his hammer down on Captain America’s shield causing a shockwave that devastates their enemies. Although these attacks look really good I found myself not relying on them too much and only using them on occasion. Combat also now includes one button quick-time events where players press a button when prompted during battle, which initiates a quick cinematic attack. Similar to the team-up moves I found that these attacks didn’t add very much to the simplistic combat outside of some visual flair. This does not mean that the light simplistic combat is a negative as it tends to feel fast-paced and breezy which works great in LEGO game.
As with combat, puzzles are light and quite easy to solve. Each character has a special ability that players are able to use in order to solve environmental puzzles. For instance, Thor can charge up generators while the Hulk can smash and pick up heavy objects (what else did you expect of him). Solving these puzzles is a great incentive for switching between characters and trying out each of their abilities.
When not playing the main story missions, players can venture into several large open world areas (Manhattan, South Africa and even Asgard). These open world areas each are dotted with quests to solve, collectables to collect and even races to take part in. I actually found myself enjoying these open world locations more than the main story, as the goofiness that is associated with LEGO games permeated these quests and environments. It wasn’t long until the obsessive collector in me took over, as I tried to collect and unlock as many characters as I could. It’s when exploring these open world areas that I felt the game shined, as there is no story or plot tying down and restricting the player.
If you are itching for some co-op fun then LEGO Marvel’s Avengers can certainly scratch that itch. As with previous LEGO games, co-op is a blast, especially when exploring the open world areas. There were some main story missions where I felt co-op wasn’t implemented as successfully as it could have been, especially some boss fights where one player felt mostly useless. This does not happen often, but it did take the fun out of some of these fights. Another problem that popped up because of the attempts to keep the plot as close to the movies as possible is the audio. Lines are taken directly from the films and mixed into the game, these lines of audio don’t always fit in with the humour that is so prevalent in the LEGO games, and often times felt out of place and unnatural.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers had a lot to live up to after the excellent LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. A Disjointed plot and some out of place audio, unfortunately, stops it from reaching those heights. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is still a fun romp in the Marvel universe, thanks to the open world areas filled with quests and collectables as well as the huge number of characters to unlock. Those that are fans of both Marvel and LEGO and don’t mind the simplistic nature of the combat and puzzles will find LEGO Marvel’s Avengers an entertaining and fun experience.