Lego Marvel was a last minute purchase for me upon the PS4’s launch. I was initially only going to buy Battlefield 4, and the rest of my early PS4 library would consist of whatever free games I could get from the PSN. But something inside me told me to buy Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Lego Marvel for short). I’m very glad I bought it, as it’s a great addition to not only my PS4, but also to my video game collection as a whole. Considering that I play a lot of M rated games, this was a light, airy, fun alternative, and I have few complaints about this great title.
Lego Marvel is basically the Marvel game of any Marvel fan’s dreams. I’m by no means a Marvel fanatic, however, I am still able to enjoy the game. But for those of you who watch every movie or TV show, read all the comics, and catch up on all the lore, there’s as much for you as there is for a newbie like me. The approach that was taken toward Lego Marvel is one that features an easy to follow storyline for newcomers like me (I watch the occasional Marvel movie, and I really only know the basics) while featuring subtle lines of dialogue, obscure characters, and nostalgic points for those who are really into Marvel like my brother.
The game opens with a cutscene of Iron Man and the Silver Surfer flying around the sky, and then next thing you know, the Surfer gets hit by a weapon, and his board is blown into lots of pieces called Cosmic Bricks. Dr. Doom collects these bricks and uses them to power a secret weapon. I’m not going to get into the storyline because I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but let it suffice to say that the Doctor is teaming up with lots of baddies along the way and there may be a plot twist or two you don’t see coming initially.
Upon realization that Dr. Doom is up to no good, Nick Fury assembles the Avengers and calls other heroes for backup, such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and others. Before long, you’ve got a star-studded cast of both heroes and villains from tons of Marvel movies! Do you want to fly around as Iron Man? Have at it! Maybe you prefer the stealthiness of Black Widow or the destructiveness of the Hulk; you can have it your way.
There’s a lot I like about Lego Marvel. First, the storyline is great, and the script is well written. It’s a very comical script, which goes along perfectly with Lego games, which are always quite hilarious. It’s a been cheesy at times, and it includes corny jokes, but this is to be expected in a Lego game, and it’s part of what makes a Lego game legitimate. If Thor didn’t joke about giving Loki wedgies and Hulk didn’t split his pants, Lego Marvel just wouldn’t be corny enough. It’s interesting to see a more childish take on a set of characters who star in PG-13 movies.
Concerning the storyline itself, I love how TT Games was able to mash all the heroes’ stories together seamlessly into one huge conglomerate. It all made sense! Somehow, having Wolverine (X-Men canon) help the Avengers fight Loki (Thor canon) to obtain the Tessaract (Thor canon) so that he could use it to locate Magneto (X-Men canon) ended up all making sense in the long run, for simply one example. There are a ton more instances where storylines cross, and they all manage to do so quite spectacularly, all leading up to the GRAND finale, which truly was grand.
The voice acting is pretty good as well. The characters are obviously not voiced by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr., but their replacements do a great job at bringing the characters to life, even if they don’t quite sound like their originals. I’m 99% certain though that Agent Phil Coulson is still voiced by the same guy in Lego Marvel as in the Avengers, but that’s just a sidenote. Between the great script and satisfactory casting, I’m very pleased with the storyline portion of Lego Marvel.
The graphics are gorgeous as well. The lighting was the very first thing I noticed; in the opening cutscene, the sunlight glints off Iron Man’s armor so beautifully and realistically, it was like looking at an actual reflection. The environments are well designed and smooth, textures are all loaded well and overall, the world of Legos looks marvelous (if you see what I did there). I think the word to best describe the graphics quality for Lego Marvel is crisp. Everything just looks clean and crisp, if this makes any sense. All the edges are sharp when they need to be, rounded when they need to be, and the world comes to life in this way, even if it’s all made of Lego bricks.
Speaking of which, just about everything is made of Legos. Aside from the building themselves, (including most walls, floors, and ceilings) nearly all the objects are destructible. In the levels, furniture can be destroyed, machines can be blown up, and many times, this is necessary in order to solve the puzzles, but I’ll get to that later. In the open world, (which I’ll explain more about later) cars can be punched into convertibles and eventually destroyed, light poles can be snapped, and flowerbeds can be crunched. The destructibility is awesome.
As far as the levels go, they’re designed well. I found myself challenged on more than one occasion, and once I had to turn off my PS4 and come back later because I simply couldn’t solve a section. I enjoyed the challenge, but it shouldn’t be too rough for most players (in fairness, it is rated E10+, so I wouldn’t suggest buying this for a youngster unless you plan to help them through a few puzzles or they’re really good problem solvers). You will find that every level utilizes all the characters you take into it. You might need Mr. Fantastic to stretch to pull a lever Captain America can’t reach, thus allowing Cap to throw his shield into a switch designed specifically for it.
One complaint I have about the level design, however, is that it can be a little redundant at times. There are a few occasions where blowing up an object in order to build another object so that one person can activate it, allowing yet another person to activate the object that the previous one activated… sigh. Sometimes, it’s just tedious. I found that when playing only a level or two at a time, I was able to enjoy it without getting very frustrated. Then given a couple hour break, I could come back and play some more.
On the flipside, you left each level feeling like, well, a hero. Just about every level had at least one boss battle; sometimes more. Seriously, the boss battle I encountered on the first level was worthy of being the final boss battle for any other game. I won’t spoil the whole game for you, but the first level contains an epic fight with a giant Sandman, then later on in the game, you’ll take on Venom, Red Skull, and a ton more. This game is jam-packed with baddies. Again, a few of the boss battles felt similar to one another, but when played in sessions of a couple levels here and there, this problem is alleviated.
After finishing the main storyline, I decided to explore the open world, which is a Lego version of New York City. There is a ton to do here. Really, you will stay busy for a long time, especially if you’re a perfectionist. Traveling the city will allow you to find and unlock new characters, alternate skins, fight new bosses, take place in Deadpool narrated mini-missions, race other characters, solve extra puzzles, collect Golden Bricks, (of which there are 250) participate in races, and lots more. I’ve played in the open world for a decent amount of time, and I still feel like there’s plenty more to be done before I put Lego Marvel on the shelf.
With so many different incentives, there’s a lot of replayability in this game. Not to mention, there’s co-op split screen multiplayer. This could be quite fun… if my co-op partner wasn’t my little brother who happens to be really bad at working as a team, but that’s beside the point! I do like the co-op addition, which has been a Lego staple; the Lego games really lend themselves well to multiplayer. I feel, however, that they could have expanded on this more. Maybe a dynamic, online open world system where players could stumble upon others and help solve puzzles or interact with others in a GTA Online or Watch_Dogs fashion. I also think that online co-op for the levels would have been a great addition as well, but there’s not a bit of online play to be found, which seems like a loss because this could have created the perfect game. Don’t get me wrong; Lego Marvel Super Heroes has a great single-player campaign, but the addition of online multiplayer of this fashion could have set the bar so much higher not only for future Lego games, but for other games from other companies.
In the end, Lego Marvel has a great storyline, a huge amount of replayability, Easter Eggs for longtime fans, accessibility for newbies, and so much more. As an action/puzzle game, it does its job spectacularly, and although it falls short in the marathon-gaming department and lacks online play, it’s still a worthy addition to the collection of nearly any gamer. I definitely reccomend this game to nearly anyone, as long as they’re old enough to solve the puzzles.
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