I definitely have the feeling that there are too many Lego games at this point. Lego Star Wars was an amazing game. It made you say FINALLY, there is a good Star Wars game. But it also made you say, OMG this is a good Lego Game. Traveler’s Tale Studios did what any good company should… they made more… a lot more. At first it was just a couple of sequels to Star Wars, but then they started branching out. And now we have lego versions of Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and now Marvel. The problem is that though they have changed licenses and the graphics have advanced. The formula has maintained largely the same. Break some bricks, build some stuff by holding “a” and find secret areas to unlock secret characters for freeplay. It has gotten old to be sure.
So when I first heard of Lego Marvel Super Heroes, I wasn’t particularly interested. I hadn’t gotten Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings even though I liked the licenses just fine. Although I felt Batman was one of my favorite in the lego series, I decided not to get Lego Batman 2. And Marvel Super Heroes was no different… yet another one along the way. But then I watched a preview video of it and saw all the characters that were in this version. Over 100 characters to unlock from the Marvel Universe they promised including all the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and X-Men. Wow that’s a lot of characters. This and I did think Batman was one of the better, I felt super heroes lends well to lego games so I decided to give it a go after seeing Amazon had a pre-order deal where I got $10 in credit back.
I have since then played through the entire base story and am now starting to double back in search for unlockable characters and figuring out how to open up some new boards. And I have to say, this Lego video game is far and away my favorite of the bunch and am more than happy that I decided to delve into it.
First off, like I said, I think super heroes lends well to lego. The various super powers gives a varied amount of things to do in the game. And though these are just variations again on things that have been done time and time again, it somehow feels more here. Powers are broken up into groups and so you need more types of heroes in order to truly clear a board. The types are Psychic, Magnetic (which both kind of work the same), Spider-sense (which wolverine has as his super hero senses), pet digging (again wolverine and sabretooth), Fire dealing, Fires, Energy, Breakable by weapon, breakable by strength, lifting, web-slinging (which mr. fantastic has), genius, invisible, Shield Unlocking, Beam Reversal (done by Cap’n America’s Shield or characters who have energy shields), flight, spider-climb, agility (generally walls to jump up) and then there are some more I think. I recently found one specific to just Sand Man so I think there are more like this. As you can see there’s a lot of different powers required, and though they all kind of go off themes we’ve seen before, the sheer amount of powers needed adds a real variety that I don’t think has ever been done before.
In particular I was impressed by Spider-sense which has always been difficult for games to portray with any real meaning. In this game it allowed characters to uncover hidden feats. Often times it uncovers hooks to use for web-slinging creatures to pull, or walls for spider-climbers to climb but it sometimes opens things for other characters as well. It’s better defined by saying that it is extra sensory and not really the definition of spider sense, but it is a pretty good compromise.
The unlockable characters is also quite something. I finished the main story line of the game and have only locked maybe a quarter of the characters that you can play. I am not even sure how to unlock the rest for sure but am pretty sure there are areas in most boards that allow you to get hidden characters. An example of this is that in the X-Men mansion mission, there was a moment I saw Colossus fighting Juggernaut in the background. There was nothing obvious that I felt that I could do, and at the time I assumed he’d show up later. However, I now think that was a moment I needed to somehow get involved to unlock him. There was a similar moment I thought I saw Deadpool and am sure there was a way to unlock him there as well. I know there is a race against Silver Surfer which I am sure will let you unlock him. And I’m sure others will be unlocked from further stages that I can find.
This wasn’t the first game in which to use voice acting for the game, but I hadn’t played the other two that had. I was very dubious of the fact that they were bringing in outside actors to voice all the super heroes, however for the most part I find that it has worked out rather well. Obviously there are moments of cringing, but all in all I think the voice actors did a pretty good job. Not great but certainly not bad.
The visuals were also quite good. It was nice to get the big lego figures like Juggernaut and Hulk, but that was a minor addition. Some of the graphics were quite cool, like the fight against Magneto where he would pull together various metallic objects, slam them against the ground, see them break and have him pull them back together. It was a very impressive graphical job.
The game was not without glitches. The stage in particular that I think about when it comes to glitches was the Lost World stage. I was glad that they included the Lost World as it is one of the more memorable locales in Marvel lore. However, the characters got stuck several times at different parts of the game. We would need to stop the game and start over from the beginning and it became very frustrating. This was really the only stage to have these issues though and I wonder if it might have been thrown together towards the end of the development of the game and thus didn’t get as refined as other stages.
Another thing I was disappointed by which really wasn’t any fault of TT Games, is that I felt that it was about time that they added 4 player co-op into the game. With so many characters and powers, and moving into a new generation, this felt like the proper time to finally make that advance. The lego series had long been one of the best cases of cooperative game play, but it had only been two player. The Co-op modes are still quite good, but I would have liked an advancement in this area.
I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the storyline. It followed the Avengers past more than the Fantastic Four or the X-Men and then brought in the FF & XM sort of haphazardly. It didn’t really work. The main story was fine, and it was a good way to bring together all the various super heroes that the game required, albeit generic. Afterall, defeating Galactus requires a lot, I just thought it was funny that he was a Fantastic Four villain they only played a minor part in the story. I think Black Widow & Hawkeye played as big if not bigger part which is funny considering how minor of characters those two actually are in the world (though I liked that they gave Black Widow her invisibility back). Still, considering the blockbuster success of the Avengers movie, I certainly understand and Lego has never been known for spectacular story-telling. In fact, they generally just borrow the movie story and go with it, so I can’t complain too bad when they are trying to go out on their own like this.
I bought this game on the Wii U, but it is available on any console out there for around $50. It will also be on the next two consoles that are releasing later this month for $60, so the only next-gen console that it will be on for $50 is going to be the Wii U. I can’t really speak for the other consoles, but I can say for the Wii U, the graphics are impressive and it is nice to play on the gamepad instead of the TV (though there are no other uses for the game pad).