LEGO Marvel's Avengers Review

By Blair Nokes on February 8, 2016

After seemingly striking gold with the toys-to-life release of Lego Dimensions, Traveler's Tales decided to dial it back and continue to release the same styled games their known for. They've covered many major brands ranging from DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars and Harry Potter, and fans have endless supply of imagination as to what they would cover next, and what open world we'd have fun in. Just in time for 2016's year of comic book movies, Traveler's Tales decided to go back to the Marvel superheroes with Lego Avengers. It seems like a rather odd choice considering Lego Marvel is essentially an all-encompassing title that would already have every character present in this release. The announcement confused many for that very reason. This basically retells the live movies in their traditional Lego fashion.

The story is unfortunately completely jumbled. It aims in juggling the stories behind The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This normally would seem like a simple task as the movies do a tremendous job in tying the plots and stories together rather well. In this video game adaptation, they appear to be placed out of order. Not that these games are typically meant to be played for their stories, but it was just weird to notice. It begins with the now classic intro to Age of Ultron, then jumping back to Avengers, jumping backwards to the first Captain America, and then ultimately finishing the game with Age of Ultron. They also missed an opportunity to tie in Ant-Man's story, but he is still present in the game.

One very impressive feat they accomplished was the inclusion of fully realized open worlds for places like Asgard and New York for players to freely roam. While this aims to centralize around the Avengers stories, there are still a plethora of characters to choose from with the final character count sitting at 184. It includes just about every character present in the movies, all accompanied by audio snippets taken from their source material. There are also lots of characters that aren't exactly Avengers but are put in anyway, like Meteorite or Beta Ray Bill. Having more variety is never a bad option, but it does raise the question of this game's necessity when Lego Marvel Superheroes exists and already has a broad scope of Marvel characters.

Gameplay is your tried-and-true Lego format that we have all come to expect. There are loads of puzzles in levels that consist of manipulating Lego bricks to utilize for context-sensitive moments. There is a great new addition of some stylized quick timed events that kind of act as finisher moves. Another brilliant inclusion is the use of combos for characters. Partnering with different characters will yield different strings of combos, and that really does give off the feel of working with a team. I hope this gameplay addition stays a permanent one for future Lego games, as they not only look great, but are easy to pull off.

The open worlds have loads to do, and many collectibles to encourage players to scour every square"¦.brick of each realm and discover it all. Like past Lego games, Lego Avengers fully supports local cooperative so you and a friend can hang out and play together via splitscreen. This works well with the open world too, so it's nice to see that co-op isn't restricted to just the single player story modes. It's great to see action on one side of the screen, and glance over to see your partner off in a completely different end of the map doing something totally separate.

Unfortunately, this inclusion of a co-op friendly environment doesn't translate as smoothly during the story missions. Some points in missions are restricted to just single player actions, leaving your partner left feeling useless. It's a little weird, especially because even if one were to play alone, these specific scenarios could also be achieved by having an AI partner do something while your character solves whatever puzzle or barrier you need to progress.

As far as open worlds go, this is definitely one of Traveler's Tales' biggest games yet. As mentioned before, Lego Avengers comes with fully realized worlds for Asgard and New York. Other impressive environments that are included are Sokovia, South Africa, The Barton family farm, S.H.I.E.L.D's Helicarrier, Tony's Malibu mansion, and others. These are all explorable locations, which seems almost mind-boggling to think of just how many are included. The real star of the show is definitely New York, as it appears to be the largest free-roam location, and one that is just brimming with detail.

While we're on the topic of detail and visual fidelity, Lego Avengers looks great, and is one of the prettiest looking Lego games to date. The myriad of characters are all wonderfully animated, and there is superb lighting through the bulk of the locations. I have had a few instances of the game crashing me, but outside of that, I haven't noticed far too many technical issues outside of object pop-in, which is usually expected from open world titles, but still noticeable.

Final Thoughts

As a whole, Lego Avengers generally left me a bit underwhelmed. For all the good it does, it still feels a bit unnecessary as a game when I feel like I've played a Marvel game that showcases a wide variety of Marvel Superheroes a few years back. The environment designs are great, and there are many to choose from, but that also doesn't distract players from the fairly disjointed storyline that zigzags between the six Marvel movies. The gameplay sticks to the traditional Lego format of previous games, and it does show off some nifty new features like the finishers and combo attacks. Co-op is great, but I wish more attention was paid to its inclusion throughout the game so players don't feel useless in instances that only require one person. Lego Avengers is still fairly decent game, but there are far better Lego games out there.

Great environment designs that showcase memorable locales from the movies and more.
Interesting combo mechanics with other characters.
Loads of characters to choose from.
This ultimately feels like a slightly different Lego Marvel superheroes, with a few new bells and whistles.
Level designs don’t always consider local co-op, which can slow the experience for the other player.
The story is pretty incoherent at retelling the six Marvel movies.
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