LEGO Marvel Superheroes Review | Fanboys Anonymous

LEGO Marvel Superheroes Review

Posted by Orion Petitclerc Monday, November 11, 2013
Before I became an über comic book fanboy (specifically a “Venomaniac”), I was—and still am, to a degree—an über LEGO fan as a child during the 90’s. My love and appreciation for comic books and all things Venom didn’t blossom until just before Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, if not earlier (my memory is a bit hazy). My flagship LEGO collection was comprised of the Star Wars sets, and my first introduction to LEGO videogames was 1997’s LEGO Island for the PC. (Who else thought the pizza delivery kid, Pepper Roni, was rad?) From then on, I dabbled in LEGO Racers for the Nintendo 64, LEGO Rock Raiders, several LEGO Bionicle games across different platforms, and even the LEGO Universe MMORPG. By then, my tastes for LEGO videogames had dwindled after trying LEGO Indiana Jones for the Xbox 360—one of a host of LEGO videogames which followed LEGO’s tried-and-true Action/Adventure format. Even my interest in physical LEGO products diminished as I became older, but those fun little plastic bricks still hold a special place in my heart and closet.

I was almost sucked back into LEGO videogames with 2012’s LEGO Lord of the Rings; the allure of another of my top favorite fandoms transforming into hilarious little brick people almost claimed the old, veteran LEGO gamer in me. The allure was not enough, however; while the reviews came in generally positive, they panned the poor audio quality in the voiceovers. Buying a new game isn’t cheap, so I wasn’t about to dish out $60 for something I knew I wouldn’t absolutely love. Then came the news of the LEGO Marvel Superheroes game. Some interest sparked in me as I had invested in the “Spider-Man: Spider-Cycle Chase” set earlier (face it: it was for LEGO Venom), plus I’m loving just about every Marvel movie coming to theaters and I loved the (unfairly) cancelled Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon. I wasn’t quite sold, though, until Venom was announced as a playable character. Then Carnage, Moon Knight, and Superior Spider-Man were also teased. It was game over.

Let's Play LEGO Marvel Superheroes
As much as I love my favorite characters and LEGOs, I came into (the Xbox 360 version of) LEGO Marvel Superheroes tentatively. My last LEGO videogame experience left a lot to be desired. I was unfamiliar with the new style of gameplay LEGO Indiana Jones had introduced to me, and the idea of running about the screen collecting evanescent LEGO currency by smashing everything in sight was unfavorable and boring. Aside from the mechanics, the characters’ silent humor felt too juvenile at the time for my matured tastes. LEGO Marvel Superheroes blew my expectations out of the water.

Granted, I was miffed that I couldn’t play Venom or any of my favorite characters right off the bat. Free play and open world exploration wasn’t unlocked until after the third story mission, “Exploratory Laboratory” (which had Venom as the final boss, which tickled my fancy and kept me playing), so I was stuck playing as and against characters I had less interest in. I was impressed with the audio and graphics, however—both a definite improvement from all of the previous LEGO games I had played—and the humor, although basic most of the time, grew on me with the comic book and film in-jokes. Even though I don’t count Deadpool among my favorite Marvel characters, I still had fun spotting him inserting himself in the background of gameplay and cut scenes.

Let's Play LEGO Marvel Superheroes
My personal "SQUEEEEEE!" moment.
I felt like Marvel and the game developers, Traveller’s Tales and Warner Bros. Interactive, were rewarding me, especially as soon as the Manhattan open world map was unlocked: the level prior had unlocked Venom as a playable character. A good 80-90% of my time on Manhattan was spent swinging around and causing mischief as the minifig and his bigfig form, and I was proud to learn that fans had petitioned the developers to include the bigfig as a special ability. (Even though the “Ultimate Venom” bigfig is basically an alternate skin for the Hulk bigfig with all of Hulk’s powers and special combo attacks, tearing up the streets and enemies as a big, hulking Venom was nonetheless entertaining as heck!) After unlocking Venom, I made quick work of obtaining my other favorite characters. Having the ability to do this made the game an instant favorite of mine (although I have my nits to pick with Moon Knight’s abilities).

Where I had a difficult time enjoying the aforementioned gameplay style, smashing everything in sight and collecting all of the currency bricks was somehow infinitely more entertaining when playing as superheroes and villains. The controls, albeit simplistic, make the game accessible for just about any level of game player, from the young and novice to the old and pro. You have a jump/double jump/fly/web swing button, a primary attack button, a secondary attack/special power button, a character swap/character grid/bigfig transformation button, movement control, and camera control. You can control two characters at a time in the open world and side missions, or up to four characters in the main story missions. The main story missions are each pretty linear and straightforward, with plenty of puzzles, obstacles, and enemies between point A and point B to keep you busy. There’s also a lot of content in the main story, and side missions that you’ll need other characters with special powers (like beam attacks, magnetism, or Mr. Fantastic’s stretching abilities) to unlock in free play mode. These gain you other unlockable heroes and villains, and also go toward gold bricks (you collect these to unlock side missions).

Vehicle gameplay is also integrated into the open world. You can unlock a small roster of ground, air, and water vehicles with which to transverse Manhattan from one mission to the next by any mode you choose. Many of the unlockable vehicles are standard to what you’ll see roaming the streets and waterways (such as buses, cars, speedboats, and S.H.I.E.L.D. class vehicles), but there are also many custom vehicles with special abilities based on Marvel’s movie, comic book, and LEGO play set properties, such as the X-Jet (Blackbird) and Spider-Man’s Spider-Cycle (yes, even the infamous Spider-Buggy). As cool as piloting some of these special vehicles are, though, I had much more fun and success traveling with just the characters themselves, especially when you go anywhere fast with a flying character’s boost ability (like zipping across the map as Iron Man or Thor).

Let's Play LEGO Marvel Superheroes
And I thought his Ultimate Spider-Man cameo was pushing it.
Aside from the impressive 150+ character roster (expandable through DLC as well!), there is a whole LOT to do in LEGO Marvel Superheroes. Aside from the compelling main story missions and the fun side missions narrated by Deadpool, there’s a host of contact-based mini missions and challenges throughout Manhattan. You can also collect minikits with the use of a minikit-detecting Deadpool red brick, and save a minifig Stan Lee from certain peril in the main story and side missions and throughout Manhattan to unlock him as a playable character possessing an amalgam of many unique Marvel hero powers. There are literally hours and hours of gameplay to be had with this videogame, and I think I only just scratched the surface of what it has to offer—and I already completed the main story missions!

And speaking of the main story…

Let's Play LEGO Marvel SuperheroesThe game begins before you even create a new gameplay profile with the pre-start screen cut scene, depicting (an off-screen) Galactus traveling the cosmos consuming all in his path, and instructing the Silver Surfer to find him a new planet to devour. The Silver Surfer happens upon Earth, but his arrival doesn’t go unnoticed by Doctor Doom. Doom shoots the Surfer down, and his silver surfboard shatters into many “Cosmic Bricks,” which Doom sets out to collect and collaborate with Loki to create his “Doom Ray of Doom.” S.H.I.E.L.D. and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are on the job to stop Doom and his plans, which involve a cabal of Marvel’s most famous villains, with the threat of Galactus ever looming just out of sight. The story takes players to many visually entertaining locales, from scenic New York City to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, and from Asgard to Asteroid M. The developers did an outstanding job bringing LEGO Manhattan to life, giving each neighborhood its own personality. The uniformity of Manhattan’s sunny summer day made navigating and inspecting the city easy, but I would’ve liked to see the City that Never Sleeps come to life at night—a time which the developers really could’ve played with by making the streets active with enemy mobs and instanced supervillain encounters.

Also, just like any Marvel film, there are mid-credits and end-credits scenes at the end of the main story. So stick until the very end!

THE VERDICT

Let's Play LEGO Marvel SuperheroesLEGO Marvel Superheroes is the best LEGO videogame and one of the best Marvel videogames I’ve ever played. It’s that simple. When it comes to playing as all of my favorite characters under one title, no other Marvel videogame has delivered. The videogame’s simple controls and game mechanics make it easily accessible for all ages, and the humor caters to the younger, older, casual, and geeky audiences. The voice acting is amazing, the audio quality and soundtrack is immersive, and the graphics are top of the line for the LEGO videogame line. I did experience a particular console-freezing glitch twice during open world gameplay, where I would fall from the sky with Thor near an electrical charge panel and cause the game to freeze up, but those were minor incidents, easily remedied and less-than-distracting from my general enjoyment.

I give LEGO Marvel Superheroes 6 stars out of 5. The extra star was for including all of my favorite Marvel characters.

If you haven’t already picked up LEGO Marvel Superheroes for yourself or for your LEGO or Marvel fan, this is most definitely a great investment and gift idea, especially for the holidays. As an added bonus, the videogame is available for pretty much every current- and next-gen console, including PC, Wii-U, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. I can pretty much guarantee that if you have a favorite Marvel character from the films or comics, you can play a LEGO version of them in the game with much satisfaction. (Seriously, Marvel has pulled so many characters from their catalogue—even Howard the Duck!)

So what do you think of my review? Have you played the game, and if so, what are your thoughts? Who are your favorite Marvel characters, and did you get to play as them? Who would you have liked to see included in the game? Let us know with a comment below!
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER

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