Lego Marvel Superheroes: Preview

Written by Steve Seigh

PlotThe game begins when the Silver Surfer, herald to Galactus, is knocked out of the sky, with his surfboard shattering into several ‘Cosmic Bricks’ that fall onto the Earth. With these blocks containing immense power, Dr. Doom gets together a band of villains to make the “Doom Ray of Doom.” However, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury calls upon the superheroes of the Marvel Universe to retrieve these blocks before they get captured by other villains such as Loki and Magneto.

Recently, the good folks over at Warner Bros. Interactive invited the Talking Comics crew to the 9th floor of the Bryant Hotel inside of Manhattan, New York for a preview of the latest offering from the Lego video game franchise: Lego Marvel Superheroes. Naturally, it was our pleasure to oblige. We viewed it as being the perfect opportunity to witness many of our favorite Marvel superheroes, in Lego form – dashing about a digital city, performing feats of various daring do. I myself am no stranger to video games, (or the Lego franchise) and I’m happy to say that Lego Marvel Superheroes looks to be shaping up to be a lot of fun!

Upon knowing that we would have a chance to see a near final build of the game in action, I immediately began to ask myself a question: How exactly is Lego going to set this title apart from all of the others? As if to put my mind at ease, the first thing I noticed about the title was its marked improvement in graphical quality above all other Lego titles that have come before it. Now, please be aware that when previewing this game it was courtesy of the upcoming Sony Playstaion 4 console, but Lego Marvel Superheroes boasts both smoother character animations as well as richer, more immersive  environments in which to explore. For example, rather than just lifting Lego Iron Man off the ground in a singular animation – upon activating the propulsion systems in his suit – Tony appears to balance himself and compensate for every direction in which he wishes to travel. It’s tiny details such as this that will lend authenticity to the title and give players the sensation of flight within the game.

Now, as I’ve said, the environments within the title are now more impressive than in previous Lego titles. Lego has recreated New York City to the best of their ability and you can be certain that it is indeed teeming with life. Skyscrapers stretch high into the sky, subway tunnels lead to subterranean adventures, and there are puzzles hidden around each and every corner of the vast landscape. Also, those looking to do battle in some of their favorite Marvel locations need not worry. Areas such as  the Baxter Building, Stark Tower, Central Park, and even Grand Central Station  have all been recreated and are ready for you to tear them down. Also to note is the inclusion of much larger Lego heroes such as The Hulk. Able to lift massive objects, which can then be used as weapons, The Hulk comes complete with his signature, lumbering gait – as well as all the fan favorite attacks seen within the pages of so many Marvel comics. His bulk perhaps causes him to move about the levels a bit slower, but that’s a small price to pay for the sheer level of destruction he is capable of dishing out.

Those looking to travel the Lego-ized city while being a bit lighter on their feet, fear not, for there are plenty of other heroes for you to select in Lego Marvel Superheroes. During our time with the game, Bobby and I got to witness the antics of both Captain America (who blasted into battle using not only his trusty shield but a good deal of fisticuffs as well) and (my personal favorite) Mr. Fantastic! I would like to go on record as stating that seeing the Lego version of Reed Richards was the highlight of the demo for me. Reed not only behaves as you would expect him to – bending and morphing his body into anything he sees fit to accomplish his goals – but the sheer absurdity and varied nature of his many forms had this Fantastic Four fan grinning from ear to ear.

I think it’s important to note that while previewing the game and listening to the title’s director speak passionately about it, that it was clear to me that this game is being helmed by a long-standing fan of the Marvel brand. For us comic book folk, that is indeed a most important and reassuring aspect of this particular Lego title. The last thing we want is someone (even if it is Lego) coming on board to a titanic property such as this, and treating it as if it were nothing more than a quick cash grab. Comic book fans know when they’re being toyed with, we know when someone may have perhaps just cut and pasted their way through a comic book related video game to make a quick buck. That is not the case with  Lego Marvel Superheroes. From what I’ve seen, everything about this title screams authenticity – both in respect to the Lego and the Marvel elements contained within.

What we want as comic book fans is a Lego title where we can feel like our favorite heroes. It’s a given that the game will be packed to the gils with humor, but I’m hoping for some genuine comic book action beats as well. It’s important that Lego bear in mind that not only will casual gamers be exploring this title, but hardcore fans of comic books as well. A lot of us will be on the hunt for those “insider” nods to popular stories and for the play mechanics of each character to reflect their personalities and skill sets. With a roster that holds over 100 playable characters from the Marvel Universe (Deadpool, Johnny Storm, Ghost Rider, Black Widow, Storm, Wolverine, Thor, She-Hulk, and Spider-Man – just to name a few) it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be at least a few characters that everyone can enjoy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXg3n6N86wI[/youtube]

Lego Marvel Superheroes is set for a release on October 22nd for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and Playstation Vita systems, with versions available for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 at launch.

This Lego Marvel Superheroes preview was written by Steve SeighExecutive Editor of Talking Comics. You can hear Steve on the Talking Comics weekly podcast as well as find him on Joblo.com where he writes a featured, bi-weekly column called Ink & Pixel. His Twitter handle is @dead_anchoress.

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