The Lego games have a huge appeal, and have covered all sorts of genres and subjects from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and even Lord of the Rings. They have a universal appeal and are enjoyed by kids and adults alike. There are probably quite a few adults that adore the Lego games from Traveller's Tales and after you play Lego Marvel Superheroes it's not hard to see why.
This is probably the biggest and best Lego game since LotR and Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes.
The Marvel roster is massive and the attention to detail in the game itself is pretty amazing. It's a real treat for Marvel fans and Lego game fans alike.
By now the Lego game franchise gameplay should be fairly standard fare for anyone who's played, with its mix of character based abilities (and there are a lot in this one) and character gates locking off certain challenges until you acquire that character/power in your roster. Mixed with puzzles galore, massive battles and a fun/immersive story.
Lego Marvel Superheroes takes that gameplay we know and love, and improves on it by making this game one of the biggest/fun packed experiences yet. It's huge; it won't seem like it at first since you're confined to a level or two of exterior/interior mayhem with only a few characters. Tony Stark's Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk are on scene to outwit the villainous Sandman helped later by Spider-Man.
With the inclusion of such a diverse roster of characters, TT has been able to create even more fiendish setups and puzzles for our titular Lego figures to solve and explore. Then you have the Big Figs, the huge bulk of Abomination and the massive green meanie himself, Hulk, are fantastic ways to let off some steam and trash everything in sight.
Every character has their own fighting style, powers, special weapons and you're sure to find several of your favourites in the big roster. Combat mechanics are vastly improved over the previous Lego games.
The Big Figs have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like all the other characters and with a mix of puzzle requirements to play with you'll find yourself swapping from character to character, sometimes in the middle of a boss fight so that you can build something new or open up a new avenue of attack.
Iron Man can blast silver objects with his rockets, Hulk can tear big objects apart and throw green-handled objects. Iron Man can build...Hulk smashes. Hulk can also turn into Bruce Banner by holding down the Y button for a short length of time. Banner can get where Hulk can't and operate things the big angry guy doesn't want to.
Spider-Man has a spider-sense which shows up invisible and hidden objects in the game world, it also reveals puzzle elements that Spidey can then grab with his webs and usually pull down.
You'll be building things, breaking things and smashing objects to get the Lego studs that provide the all important currency to get more cool things in the game. From new characters, vehicles and rewards to the all important built-in cheats that must be unlocked via the Deadpool Bricks found in the 11 bonus levels.
To open said bonus levels you need to be able to collect enough gold Lego bricks to build the doorways associated with them. It's been done before and the method is tried and tested, working really well in the likes of Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes.
Then there are the numerous secrets, mini-kits, rescuing Stan Lee in every story level and more to enjoy in the game.
Once you go beyond the initial linearity, you're treated to a hub world like no other Lego game. The whole of Lego New York is your playground and it's packed with things to do. There are side missions galore, gold bricks, characters, races and more to do around New York as you interact with the teeming city, full of people and vehicles.
There's a fast travel system available to allow you to quickly get around and your HQ is the Shield Hellicarrier. This massive structure floats protectively above in the New York skyline and can be reached via a vehicle station quick return, fast travel option on the map, or flying characters such as Human Torch, Iron Man or Thor, you can also take one of the many flying vehicles you've unlocked such as the X-Jet up there and land.
There's just so much to do in the game and it's extremely worthwhile exploring every nook and cranny of the locations. Some of it will be locked off until you have the correct character and their power set at your disposal, but none of it feels unfairly limiting and there's a sense of progression throughout.
Time and time again I found myself going off the story to explore Lego New York, collect more studs, more bricks and more characters before I dived back into the levels.
Of course there's Free Play mode as well which is unlocked once you beat the level once. These levels will also take some time to complete since many are quite complex and fairly large with multiple set-pieces that play to the strengths of the various heroes involved.
With the familiar controls, refined flying controls and excellent addictive gameplay the only mar on the game are the driving controls for some of the events/races. They are way too twitchy and you'll spend a lot of time crashing and restarting due to overcompensation.
The flying controls are better than Lego Batman 2, and the character flying controls are significantly better than Lego Batman 2.
Character swapping is still a bit glitcyh and not as good as it was in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. In Free Mode and Free Roam you can at least bring up the huge roster and choose a new character...though it is a bit problematic when you're switching by holding down Y and the character you're controlling has an alternate form on Y as well: such as the Spider-Man to Peter Parker or Hulk to Bruce Banner transformations.
The non-Lego objects are rendered with a great amount of detail, easy to pick out amongst the toy-box nature of the Lego creations and the whole visual style works beautifully. Tiny Lego Iron Man is a personal favourite of mine, with various Iron Man suits at his disposal throughout the game. The quality of the graphics is great for the previous generation of consoles and the whole thing is really well done.
TT really knows their stuff these days and their engine gets better and better with every iteration.
So simple and effective, the game is packed with lots of tiny animations in combat, exploring and when a character idles. Each one of them has their own set of personality-driven and character based animations when idling. Iron Man often snaps up his faceplate and occasionally he'll do the 'robot' when doing nothing.
When in combat there are numerous moves that trigger time and time again, from Spider-Man's signature web-based combat techniques, to a little bit of misdirection by Captain America as he spins his shield to entrance a foe before punching them back to the Stone Age.
Every animation serves to enhance the charm of the game and provide a truly great memorable combat experience when in the thick of it.
Your enemies are given the same layer of animation quality too, so you can see their special attacks and abilities as the levels play out.
A bit glitchy now and then, especially vehicle handling, but only minor niggles in the vast array of things that go boom, balance on other things (using telekinetic power to move objects - which can be a bit tricky as well) and generally interact in a meaningful manner. The weight and power of the Big Figs is palpable in the game and it really feels awesome to smash things as the Hulk or the Thing.
Enemy AI is pretty decent and the boss fights are puzzle based more often than not, requiring a feel for the enemy in question and knowledge of the game's rock/paper/scissors mechanic when it comes to what power does what.
Pedestrian AI is reactive, though some of the escort missions are tiresome due to bad pathfinding on the escort-able characters. They're more of a slog than anything, taking character A back to location B with character A getting caught up on things and losing their way.
Once again TT are masters of the great sound suite, so there's not much we can say here about the sounds used in the game except they are spot on to the various characters and we love the Hulk's transformation sound effects.
The game features a really grand score, with some excellent moments in the various themes that really play to the comic book style. There are some great epic action soundtrack themes, such as the Skydive theme when you leap from the Shield Hellicarrier and catch Lego studs as you fall to the ground.
Or many of the level based themes that provide a great counterpoint to the game's massive levels. Including one particular section involving Iron Man.
Lego Marvel Superheroes is fully voiced and features a host of voice talent across the world of animated shows, with many reoccurring favourites including Steve Blum, Tara Strong, Troy Baker, John DiMaggio, Nolan North, the voice of Agent Coulson and many more. It's superbly delivered voice work and the humour in the dialogue is pretty strong too.
There's local offline play only for 2 Lego heroes and the free roam, plus story and free play are open for co-op craziness. The camera has selectable dynamic or vertical split-screen, works really well and co-op is a blast.
The only issues we have is that the game often forgets which hero you are, telling you that you need something like Captain America's shield to deflect a particular beam, where Jean Grey's TK shield will work just as well. These are only minor little things in the grand scheme though.
It has one of the biggest rosters and engrossing games out of the Lego series, continues the upward march to near-perfection. Lego Marvel Superheroes sees both developer and game go from strength to strength. This one is pure Lego superhero magic and is the best game in the series so far.