Out now on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita and PC
Over the last few years, Lego titles have been something to look forward to. Ever since Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Travellers Tales have taken the series from strength to strength. Up until now, it would be hard to choose which is the jewel in the crown, but Lego Batman 2, is definitely a strong contender, so will DC’s arch nemesis Marvel, be able to go toe to toe?
From the outset, Lego Marvel is crammed full of the charm that fans of the comics giant will instantly recognise and enjoy. Corny dialogue, lots of action and Stan Lee cameos. Dr. Doom is up to something. After shooting down the Silver Surfer, the surfboard breaks up into cosmic bricks, being scattered everywhere. Some of Earth’s mightiest heroes are called upon by SHIELD to get the bricks before Dr. Doom, and find out what he’s up to in the process. It’s not quite straight forward however, as Doom has recruited several villains from the Marvel universe, including Sandman, Abomination, Loki and Magneto. Kicking things off are Hulk and Iron Man, which carries on with their fantastic rapport seen in the Avengers movie, and Hulk in particular, being just as destructive and funny. Watching him face off against Abomination is nothing short of brilliant. Sandman and Abomination have taken over Grand Central Station, and it’s down to Hulk and Iron Man to stop them, and in the process, receive help from the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. This is pretty much the formula for most of the levels. You play as certain heroes, be it the Fantastic Four, Captain America, or some of the X-Men, and tend to be in pursuit of a particular super villain, be it New York, Asgard or on the ocean floor.
As usual there are the two main game modes, Story and Free Play, and the main hub of the game is the SHIELD hellicarrier and Manhattan Island, with latter a living, breathing Lego city, full of people with the same three witty sound bites. Dotted around the city and carrier, there are tasks to win gold bricks, unlock characters and depending on how many gold bricks the player has earned, several bonus levels, including a post game party at Stark tower. The bonus levels are presented by Marvel smart arse Deadpool, with his usual brand of sarcasm and sass. There are absolutely loads of characters to unlock, from the familiar to the obscure, and for the most part, it’s an absolute joy finding these, and seeing who you can play as next. Given the expansive universe and amount of characters and alternatives, there’s no shortage of people to find, even the likes of Captain Britain make an appearance. Some of the mini games can be extremely infuriating however, with the worst being an RC car race. The controls are absolutely shocking, and completing the race is as much down to luck as it is skill. Some of the races with actual sized motors can be just as frustrating, too. One in particular aboard the helicarrier had me pulling my hair out.
As always, Travellers Tales bring the wonderful inventiveness of their Lego games and combined with the Marvel universe, makes for a fun game. Add to that, this is the most visually impressive of the Lego games, and the sound design is rather good as well, borrowing heavily from Silvestri’s Avengers score, and Iron Man too. This is definitely a worthy entry into the Lego series, and quite possibly has more content than any that have come before it, but a few bugs and glitches have marred the experience, it had crashed on me a few times, and on occasions characters can get stuck in the scenery, and counter productive controls in certain areas spoil the experience as well. Add to that, some tedious loading times between levels. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a Lego game in which you can have fun with your favourite Marvel characters. What’s not to like? This is a treat for fans of the Lego games and Marvel aficionados alike, but not quite as satisfying an experience as its forebear, Lego Batman 2 DC Superheroes.