Not content with representing one of the major comic book brands, TT Games' LEGO video game series has now joined up with Marvel, who are continuing to take the film industry by storm. Originally pitched as an Avengers cross-over, the title was expanded to cater for Marvel as a whole, and it does so with great aplomb, featuring a plethora of characters from many of the different comics produced by Marvel throughout the years.
The plot in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes focusses around the sinister exploits of Doctor Doom, who is attempting to collect "˜Cosmic Bricks' that were created following the shattering of the Silver Surfer's surfboard. To do so, he has enlisted the help of many of Marvel's super villains, meaning he's teamed up with the likes of Loki, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin and Magneto.
It's a great story from that perspective, because it gives each of the core Marvel factions a significant focus. You will primarily spend time as the core Avengers characters, so Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America, but prime time is also given to the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men. It would have been nice to see some lesser known characters featuring throughout the story, but it's understandable that Marvel would want to focus on those that are currently in the money-making spotlight for them, even if it does get a bit too blatant sometimes (we're looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy).
As you would expect, the story oozes charm, with humour one of the primary factors. You will often see Nick Fury chomping down on some food and there are numerous plays on the Hulk's intellect. None of it ever feels forced and while it's not "laugh out loud" funny, whenever there's a cutscene you are guaranteed to chuckle to yourself a few times.
TT Games know exactly what they're doing when it comes to the LEGO series now, with the franchise expanding into numerous licenced territories. However, the implementation of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is perhaps the best. It's true, that this isn't the first game to deal with the supernatural, but everything about how the different superheroes functions feels natural.
No matter who you're fighting as, the combat style is adapted to suit that specific character, and while it's not always the case almost every character feels unique in how they play. Of course, when it comes to characters such as Hulk and The Thing or Spider-Man and Venom, you wouldn't expect a great deal of variation, but it's still there if you look close enough. For example, Spider-Man has his unique "Spider Sense" ability, while Venom is able to osmose to reach Gold Bricks. Likewise, if you're playing as the Hulk and Spider-Man, you're able to change into their alter-egos, Bruce Banner and Peter Parker.What's more, the game even caters for these additional characters, with things like Peter Parker's photography side-quest. However, it's only when you delve deeper into what the game offers that you will start to find these nuggets.
Before you get to that stage, you'll want to go through the 15 different levels offered, and this does present a mixed experience as some levels are more enjoyable than others. You would expect this, but perhaps not to the degree that's present here. For example, Times Square Off can get rather monotonous, while Juggernauts and Crosses has a much better flow to it. Boss fights are perhaps a little on the generic side too, but at least the game does have the foresight to mock itself "“ notably when bosses highlight that they don't know why they keep falling for the same traps.
In many ways, the game only starts to come alive once you complete it. This isn't so much a criticism, it's just that there's so much to do. You might only complete 10-20 percent of the overall experience by playing through the single-player campaign normally, which means there's a significant portion of the game that still needs exploring.
You will find yourself jetting around this remodelled Manhattan, collecting loads of different characters, vehicles and Gold Bricks so that you can undertake the rather comical Deadpool missions. The collection side of things might not appeal to everyone, but it's worth it just to experience some of the Deadpool missions. Again though, it's a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the quality. Some of them, such as Feeling Frisky, are great, but Stunt Show Surprise on the other hand, is quite the opposite.
Reviewing this game on the PS4 feels like a bit of a waste, as it doesn't feel as though it uses much of what the system has to offer. That's not meant as a huge negative, the game looks fine and plays flawlessly, it's just not meant to be a graphical spectacle. Still, while on that subject, some of the menus are very shoddy. It's about time TT Games starts to think about making these much more modern. The menu that's used when accessing the terminal on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Carrier and selecting previous missions looks just plain ugly.
When looking at other aspects of presentation, the voice cast is beyond stellar. You can quite clearly hear voice acting greats from all over the scene, with the likes of John DiMaggio, Nolan North, Tara Strong and Troy Baker all present and accounted for.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes can be chalked up as another success for both TT Games, the LEGO franchise and of course, Marvel. Not only does it bring a huge collection of super heroes and super villains together, it gives them all purpose too. The story is a decent enough one, but it's the gameplay that perhaps shines the most here. That, and the huge amount of replay value offered.
|The attention put into each character's gameplay.|
|The quirky comedy.|
|How much there is to do after completing the single player campaign.|
|The UI doesn't feel remotely next-gen.|
|Too much focus on the "big names".|
|Some of the levels are a real bore.|