Lego Marvel Super Heroes Review
Traveller’s Tales’ obvious affection for Lego showed all the way back in 2005 when they created Lego Star Wars, which is credited with starting the Lego game series. They’ve released many Lego games, including ones based on Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. They’ve never once settled for cashing in on a license. The core gameplay in the Lego games hasn’t changed all that much, but Traveller’s Tales found ways to tweak it and innovate in other areas.
They’ve disappointed along the way (Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues), but they deserve credit for always trying something new. Lego The Lord of the Rings seemed like the zenith of all their effort, delivering a fantastic experience that was very pleasing to me as a Lord of the Rings fan. I didn’t think they could top it, but they proved me wrong with Lego Marvel Super Heroes. It’s one of the best superhero games and the best Lego game to date.
The Silver Surfer gets knocked out of the sky by Doctor Doom and his surfboard shatters into several pieces, referred to as “Cosmic Bricks” in the game. Doctor Doom attempts to retrieve the Cosmic Bricks in order to build a “Doom Ray of Doom”. Nick Fury enlists the help of the Marvel Universe to thwart his plans. It’s a very fun, action-packed and well-written story that would fit right in among the best that comic books have to offer if it weren’t for the fact that it takes place in a Lego game, which means it’s also adorable, hilarious and clever. The setpieces and dialogue are impossible to dislike.
The story in Lego Marvel Super Heroes is broken up into 15 levels. These levels are all similar to levels from past Lego games. The goal is still to solve unchallenging, yet still somewhat imaginative puzzles while engaging in a simplistic combat system with easily beaten enemies. Enemies still only take a few hits before shattering into various Lego pieces, but the same goes for the player as well. But death is never really a punishment in a Lego game; the playable characters respawn at the very spot where they were defeated. Most levels end with enjoyable boss battles that contain some of the better puzzles in the game.
Anyone who has never played a Lego game will probably be turned off by everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Lego games have always been the “you have to play them to get them” types of experiences. It’s tough to accurately describe just how amusing they are and how obsessive-compulsive they can cause a person to become. First you start off collecting just a few Lego studs and then you have to collect them all, have to buy everything, have to reach 100 percent. Traveller’s Tales knew they had something from the start and they keep working with it and making it work.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes features that winning formula at its best. The levels are filled with all sorts of great moments, from Tony Stark initiating House Party Protocol during a boss battle to Magneto bringing the Statue of Liberty to life and attacking New York City. Despite everything being in block form, Lego Marvel Super Heroes could be turned into a great superhero movie; think The Avengers, but with a lot more than six heroes.
I finished up all the story levels in Lego Marvel Super Heroes and then stared in confusion at my TV as the screen read that I had only completed 17.9 percent of the entire game. I had gone out of my way to obtain studs and collectibles in every level. Then I remembered I hadn’t even really explored New York City all that much yet. I had been sidetracked by the lengthy main feature and had neglected to check out the gigantic world that Traveller’s Tales built.
So I eventually did check it out, and let me just say this: wow. I thought Lego The Lord of the Rings was packed with content, but Lego Marvel Super Heroes is bursting at the seams. Bonus levels, narrated by Deadpool, are available in several building across the city. Citizens offering quests are around every corner. Collectibles are scattered everywhere, as are races and other distractions. Sure, it isn’t quite the next Grand Theft Auto V or anything, but being a Lego game it leaves an impression nonetheless.
Graphics & Sound
Traveller’s Tales only recently started including actual dialogue in the Lego games, and I’m glad they decided to keep it up. Lego Marvel Super Heroes just wouldn’t be the same without the terrific voice acting by such notables as Nolan North, John DiMaggio, Clark Gregg and the oh-so-popular Troy Baker. The acting brings the superheroes to life and makes them feel even more like the characters the planet has come to know and love. From a graphical standpoint, I’m always willing to give the Lego games some leeway as they are intentionally supposed to look block-y and misshapen, but Lego Marvel Super Heroes is actually quite beautiful. New York City is represented about as well as it can be in a Lego game, and vistas like the Asgard section in the story levels really left me taken aback because of their visual splendor. Also, as strange as it may sound, Lego Marvel Super Heroes features fantastic water effects.
The story levels in Lego Marvel Super Heroes stumble when they toss a seemingly endless amount of enemies at you. This leads to having to solve a puzzle while being bombarded by attacks, which lends a sense of tedium that isn’t really found anywhere else. One could argue that having to collect studs to unlock characters is dull, but I don’t think it is, and besides, it’s entirely optional. However, I did still come across some parts in Lego Marvel Super Heroes that bored me.
What Lego Marvel Super Heroes really is is a comic book fan’s dream come true. It’s a lovingly crafted homage to Marvel and its history. I’ve been playing it for 23+ hours and will be putting several more hours into it. Traveller’s Tales have their work cut out for them if they plan on topping it. They’ve been stepping up to the plate for nine years. It’s nice to see them finally knock it out of the park.