Lego Marvel Superheroes: Review
Written by Steve Seigh
Plot: The 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.
Available For the Following Systems: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Wii U, PC
So many pieces! I will absorb them ALL! Heh … actually, that’s impossible, the little buggers disappear after only a few precious seconds – so collecting them all is out of the question. However, there’s still a lot of fun to be had while exploring the open-world and various iconic Marvel-related locations of Lego Marvel Superheroes. The game does little to build on the tried and true “break this – build this” formula of previous Lego games, but it also feels like this iteration of the popular Lego series offers you more bang for your buck. Not only does it boast a tremendous amount of character content, it also provides non-stop laughs along your Lego adventure. I honestly don’t imagine anyone who is a fan of either Marvel or Lego not having a blast with this game – particularly when playing with friends.
The most obvious perk to playing Lego Marvel Superheroes is that it’s a game dedicated to giving the player control over a wide assortment of iconic (and not so iconic) characters from the Marvel Universe. Want to swing through the streets of New York as Lego Spider-Man? Done. Or how about if you want to become an obscure character like M.O.D.O.C.K. and lay waste the world around you, cackling insidiously all the while. Guess what? You can do that too! Though, in order to unlock all that the game has to offer, Lego Marvel Superheroes insists that you explore the world in which they’ve created for you to do just that. As a result, you end up traveling to many locations made famous by the comics and films of the Marvel brand. Each and every area (particularly the Helicarrier – which serves as your home base throughout the duration of the adventure) looks and feels like it was pulled straight out of the Marvel Universe. It’s this sort of attention to detail that will win over not only Lego enthusiasts, but comic book fans as well. I mean really, who doesn’t want to travel to Central Park, Fisk Tower, The Raft, or the X-Mansion to see how they’ve all been Lego-ized? Nobody, that’s who!
Another major positive for the game is the fine voice work for wach Lego hero or villain. Actors such as Clark Gregg (as Agent Coulson, your liaison to the Lego Marvel Universe), John DiMaggio, Nolan North, and Tara Strong are all present and accounted for – bringing with them tons of hilarious dialogue that will keep you entertained throughout your journey. Ah yes, and not only is each and every character voice executed with justice and personality, the dialogue and overall comedy of the game is damn funny. Lego games have come to be known for their keen sense of humor, and I’m happy to say that Lego Marvel Superheroes is no different in that regard. The game comes complete with witty banter, hilarious quips from your favorite heroes, and a multitude of clever threats from your favorite villains. Character personalities play with and against one another as well during the games varying character team-ups, for each of the games many locations.
Perhaps the first thing players will notice about Lego Marvel Superheroes is how very large and expansive the game truly is. Upon writing this review I have clocked about 7 hours worth of gameplay and have barely scratched the surface of it. Yes, I did complete the game’s story-mode. However, as it stands I am only 18.7% complete with what the game has to offer. I’ll give you that number again, so as to allow it sink in … 18.7% Yeah. It’s like that. There is still TONS of stuff to do, and many locations to revisit and explore before the game’s end. I absolutely love that about this game; the fact that it does contain so much content, and demands that I go above and beyond the initial task of completing its story-mode. You see now that I’ve beaten the game, I get to go back, play as characters I’ve earned, find new Easter egg events, and enjoy the game on a whole other level. To me that’s quality game development right there.
Dun dun dunnnn! The dreaded “Cons” section of the review. You all knew it was coming. Though, if I’m being honest, much of what I have to say should be regarded as being only minor gripes. Nothing said here takes away from the overall thrill of playing Lego Marvel Superheroes, and my words should be considered as merely points of contention. Very few games are made perfect (hardly any of them, really), so I ask that you all keep that in mind.
One of my complaints about Lego Marvel Superheroes is the games A.I. Often times I found my partners in Lego wandering about, getting tripped up on a sections of the environment, and generally being very unhelpful in our mission to save the planet. Quite often I found myself having to take control of a secondary (or even third character) to aide them in completing the simplest of tasks (such as traversing the environment or activating a switch). Its not the end of the world, but it is a minor nuisance that interrupts the flow of the gameplay; not to mention it also leaves your other characters vulnerable to attacks – costing you much of your precious stud count. Now, we all know that Lego A.I. has never been rock solid in any of the Lego titles, but I was hoping that by now we would have reached the point in the evolution of the franchise where dopey support characters would no longer be an issue. That said, it’s not an end of the world bug, and you’ll get along just fine, even if you do have to catch your comrades up every now and again.
Aside from a few navigational issues (that were later cleared up upon discovering that the Select button pulls up a world map), my only other complaint about the game is one that has plagued Lego games for years. Boss battles, while creative, lack an ability to include the player in an engaging way during the actual fight. Yes, Lego games, at their core, are puzzle games. However, it isn’t very much fun, when faced with one of the games many “Big Bads”, to be left wandering an area, looking for levers or things to destroy – when all you really want to do is get in there and throw a few punches. More often than not (during a boss battle) I would be left humping each and every corner, door, and crate, just looking for the next thing that would aide me in battle. Eventually, I’ll find something, but by that time I’ve already died several times, while my A.I. support characters have done next to nothing to help me out. I’m sure I wouldn’t be too happy if the A.I. went and solved the puzzle for me, but it wouldn’t hurt if they gave me a clue every now and again.
I had a blast playing Lego Marvel Superheroes! In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had with Lego game in several years. The game’s massive library of characters, locations, and nods to both the Marvel comics and film industry make if a joy for any fan of either of the Lego or Marvel brands. You get more than your moneys worth in regard to content and the game is an absolute riot to play with your friends. Minor annoyances with the A.I. detract nothing from the games enjoyment in the long run and it’s quite obvious throughout the title that TT Games went above and beyond to make this a must-play title for the holiday season.
* HIDDEN LEVEL BONUS *
Want to check out a bit of the gameplay? Recently, both myself and Bobby Shortle sat down to bumble our way through one of the many levels of Lego Marvel Superheroes. However, don’t let this video fool you. We might get tripped up during the Boss Battle, but normally we are both quite good at video games. I swear! What? You don’t believe me? Sign onto the Playstation Network and say it into my earpiece. I dare ya! My name is Boogiepop 47. I’ll be waiting … punk! Ha ha ha!
This review was written by Steve Seigh – Executive Editor of Talking Comics. You can hear Steve on the Talking Comics podcast, as well as find him on Joblo.com where he writes a featured column called Ink & Pixel. His Twitter handle is @dead_anchoress.