Iron Man: Hey big guy, we gotta move this rubble.
Hulk: Hulk SMASH!
Iron Man: No, Hulk. You have to be very precise.
Hulk: Hulk SMASH!!
Iron Man: No, you have to…
Hulk: HULK SMASH!!!
Iron Man: Ok, Hulk. Hulk Smash.
This is pretty much how I envisage day-to-day life in the Marvel universe. Full disclosure though, I consider myself much more of a DC fan than I do Marvel, though as a whole I love all the different characters and properties in the comic book world.
I remember the first time I laid eyes onto the Lego video game series, and I also remember the innate sense of wonder and excitement I experienced once I entered their multifaceted, breakable worlds. But a lot has changed since the humble beginnings all those years ago. No longer are all your characters mute, but now there’s an entire cast of voices and personalities, furthering the rich atmosphere and humour. Also, instead of making your way through linear levels, you now have entire metropolises to explore: Gotham City, New York or Hogwarts to name a few. The rate of growth for Traveller’s Tales’ series has been amazing to watch. Now, nearly a decade later, the Marvel verse is up, and with much iteration seen since the first Lego game, there’s plenty to love, but also extra additions that would still be on my wish list.
In a nutshell, Silver Surfer has led Galactus (destroyer of worlds) to Earth. Upon the Surfer’s arrival, he unfortunately encounters a bit of a problem and his board is destroyed into ‘cosmic bricks’. These bricks contain an immense amount of power and therefore gather the likes of Doctor Doom, Magneto and Loki, as they’re drawn to their wonder, each with their own agenda. In response, Nick Fury calls for all Superheroes to band together to help stop the impending arrival of Galactus and the impending threat of the Supervillains.
Throughout the course of the story you’ll meet plenty of the Marvel cast, with a total of 150 people making up its character roster. Only a handful of these are in the main campaign though, but should you want to play as Howard the Duck in free play (yes, he’s a widely unknown Marvel character), then go right ahead. For the main cast, much like the recent titles, they’re also fully voiced. This also includes the actor who plays Agent Coulson from the movies, as he reprises his role here. Though don’t expect anyone else from the movies to lend their voice, that’s handled by an entirely separate set of people.
At its heart, Lego Marvel Superheroes has the same set of goals next to all other Lego games: break, collect and explore. The biggest difference between this latest entry and all others, though, is the consistent quality seen in its simplistic gameplay and the variety that binds it together.
As I said before, the series has seen more open-worlds become available and with a lot of the Marvel universe set in New York, you can explore every part represented for geeky joy. That means that whether it’s the Baxter building from the Fantastic Four, or Oscorp Tower from Spiderman, everything is situated on the one island, blending seamlessly with one another. However, there’s more than you’d expect. After all, don’t forget, the X-Men are part of Marvel, too. So don’t be surprised to see that the X-Mansion has been squeezed into the border of New York as well.
The good news is that if you like Marvel then you’re going to love this game, and ever more so if you’re a kid. The gameplay is still predominantly consistent of destroying every obstacle in sight, but there are a number of puzzles mixed in to keep variety. Similar to other games, most of the characters carry the same type of abilities as in the DC universe; flying, laser vision etc. But with Marvel there have come a few new additions, such as swinging as Spiderman or playing a big character such as the Hulk. It’s the large form factor of Hulk that have then helped with the other larger set of cast – Juggernaut or Doomsday, for example. It was refreshing getting to smash my way through levels as a hulking pile of plastic, not to mention the comedic value it offered as wel
It’s worth noting that if you do tire of the huge character roster and have always wanted to create your own superhero, then you’ll be happy to know that you can. With the newly added character customiser, you’re given the ability to mix and match powers from numerous other characters. Should you want to have the ability to swing like Spiderman, as well as have Iron Man’s suite and armour, then why not? How about you create someone entirely new and set him upon New York? This really is your chance to place a new hero or villain into the rich Marvel history.
I have to confess, with over ten Lego titles developed, my experience has only been with a handful of them. As such, I found that Lego Marvel Superheroes encompasses the ‘complete’ package for those wanting the very best experience from the series. I’m still surprised that online co-op hasn’t made an appearance, as the added ability to navigate levels or the entire map with a friend online would make for a very special feature. With the Next-Generation of consoles being ushered in, I hope that the extra power provides the ability to do so.
It’s funny, because even though this game is marketed towards the likes of youngsters, many older fans such as myself do play the games as well. Despite the simpler puzzles and easier gameplay, I often at times found myself at a loss on how to progress at many points of the campaign. It was amazing to see myself having problems, but many of my friends experienced them too. They say, as you get older you get smarter, well I’m not too sure. After my time with the main story I’d completed just over a mere ten percent of the game, but if given enough time I’m sure I’d seek out all the secrets and clues – such is the life of a video game writer!
- + Open world New York to explore, filled with secrets
- + Huge character roster filled with a rich Marvel history
- + Multilayered gameplay
- - Its simple game design can often be deceiving
- - No online multiplayer