Since 2005 there has been a tide of LEGO games enthralling both old and young gamers alike. With a host of licenses available to them, we have seen Star Wars, Indiana Jones and even Harry Potter given the LEGO treatment in their own titular incarnations. All of them share similar traits and are great games in their own right, but none of them are quite as special or have such a wide appeal as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.
Marvel is certainly one of the hottest licenses around at the moment, and creating a Marvel LEGO game is pretty much a match made in heaven. Surprisingly though, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes feels massively different to any of the other LEGO games available. Rather than heavily relying on cute humour and the usual LEGO gameplay mechanics, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a solid and accomplished platformer at it’s core. Fret not as the typical humour we love is still very much present and the art style afforded to it by the LEGO side of things is nothing more than the icing on an already sumptuous cake.
Graphically, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is without a doubt one of the prettiest LEGO games by far. TT Games have been clever in constructing pretty much everything out of LEGO and areas are festooned with detail, demanding to be investigated. Some of the animations on offer here really set the game apart from the other LEGO games, such as Bruce Banner transforming into the Hulk which never gets old. The world hub of New York is characterful and feels alive with people and cars – which you can hijack and drive I might add – going about their day.
Speaking of which, the world itself is huge and, more importantly, contains an absolute truckload of secrets, mini-games, races, side missions and all sorts of other activities just waiting to be discovered. You can spend hour upon hour just in the hub itself and still not have scratched the surface. Avengers fans will also be thrilled to hear that the Shield Helicarrier is also present, constantly circling above the city and allowing you to skydive down to the streets below whenever you feel like it.
Gameplay is rock solid, and sees many different Marvel Heroes team up with each other to find out the secret of the ‘Cosmic Bricks’ which have fallen to Earth. Unlike many other LEGO games, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes levels are vast, easily taking over an hour to complete each one. Following on from LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, it’s great to return to another vast and sprawling open world environment.
While many of the normal LEGO game mechanics are present here, that of instantly respawning upon death, we found ourselves not actually dying much at all which helps to alleviate any feeling of hand-holding that some people have come to dislike. While there is the usual destroying and building of LEGO objects to get you through the levels, there are also some light puzzle solving in terms of terminal hacking, power re-routing and other technical doohickys which help to break up each stage.
There is no shortage of characters here ether. Over 100 Marvel super heroes are on offer with some unlocked via the story mode and others via the multitude of side quests in New York City – from the mainstream such as Hulk, Thor, Deadpool and Spiderman right through to the less well known such as H.E.R.B.I.E, Rocket Racoon, She-Hulk and Howard the Duck (yes, really). Each one has lovingly been given the LEGO treatment and just look fantastic. The interaction between the characters is also great, and the voice acting is – for the most part at least – very well done. I found myself laughing out loud regularly at the quips and comments flying at me, with such lines as “HULK SMASH UGLY SIDEBURNS” being delivered perfectly.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a wonderful, rip roaring platformer at it’s core with a wonderful open-world essence. It’s one of the best Marvel games to date, and certainly the biggest and best LEGO game to come out of Travelers Tales. It will appeal to Marvel Fans and LEGO fans both young and old, while still delivering a brilliant gaming experience even if you don’t know your Red Hulks from your Red Skulls.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is scheduled for release November 15th, 2013 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS. It will be released on Xbox One and PS4 following the consoles launch.