For its latest LEGO-based game, Traveller's Tales has turned to the Marvel universe, an interesting choice considering that WB Games usually dabbles with DC Comics-based properties like the just-released Batman: Arkham Origins. No matter as it still pours in the expected level of heart and attention to make LEGO Marvel Super Heroes one of its best games yet.
As with previous games, the story pays close attention to Marvel roots while providing enough comic shenanigans to appeal to players of all ages. Galactus, the enormous planet-eating monster, is once again headed back to Earth. Amid the chaos, a few super villains (including the Asgardian threat Loki and the masked Doctor Doom) are taking advantage of the perilous situation. Naturally, it's up to various heroes from the Marvel universe to strike back.
A Hero For Every Occasion
With LEGO Marvel, the game puts each of the characters to good use with unique abilities derived from their comics origins. Hulk, for instance, is a one-man army, throwing cars as projectiles. Iron Man can shoot missiles at objects and use his metal fists to pulverize enemies. Spider-Man can shoot webs and swing around quickly. And so on, for dozens of characters, both known and obscure.
For comics fans, it's great to see Deadpool and Wolverine take a break from their super-serious game affairs and lighten up in a LEGO world. We also love seeing Agent Coulson get a fair shot at the action, with actor Clark Gregg lending his voice to keep the character's continuity going into the digital realm - nice touch.
A number of quests are available throughout the game, as well as the ability to seek out hidden collectibles, such as gold bricks. Not all of them have a smooth flow, though. Certain missions, like escorting a defenceless character or "fetching" something for someone, can be tedious compared to letting loose with your powers. Thankfully, they don't leave too much of a negative mark on the game's general fun quotient.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes also supports two players in local co-op action, but online play is still missing in the LEGO universe. While it's fun to play with a friend, players can wander around on their own without being confined to each other. , but the screen splits in two, and doesn't have a steady stance. For instance, if a player moves upward from someone, the dividing line shifts with him or her. It would've been nice to have a static line that just stayed put during split-screen, instead of being an erratic nuisance.
Visually, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is stunning. Traveller's Tales have done a tremendous job recreating familiar locales from the Marvel universe into the game, whether it's the halls of Asgard or Nick Fury's impressive Supercarrier, flying high in the sky. The characters look great as well, particularly Iron Man, who flips open his mask to reveal the narcissistic - but likable - Tony Stark underneath.
The camera is a pain at times. Sometimes the levels are so big that it's easy to lose track of your character, thus resulting in you falling off a ledge and losing a life. You don't really "die" in the game, as you regenerate, but it's a bit frustrating to miss a platform or simply walk off a ledge just because the camera isn't working in accordance with what's happening. Again, not a big deal, but this has happened all too often in a LEGO game. Let's hope it's fixed with the next one.
Getting back to the goods, Traveller's Tales also did a solid job with the audio. While most A-list actors don't provide voiceovers for their characters here, the fill-ins do a very good job, particularly Spider-Man and Iron Man. As mentioned before, Clark Gregg does a great job with Coulson, and it's good to hear Stan Lee cut loose with his LEGO counterpart. The music is well done as well, with heroic themes that sound like they fit right in with the Marvel universe.
Even with its minor flaws with mission pacing and camera, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes easily stands as one of the best brick-built games to date. It's great seeing what each of the heroes and villains can contribute to the game, and the number of collectibles provides plenty of replay value. Plus, it's just good fun. It's not every day you get to see Hulk and his equally sized adversary Abomination get in a slap fight...
GAME's Verdict: 8.5/10
- Humorous story that will appeal to kids and comic book fans alike
- Well-designed universe with plenty to do and destroy
- Charming gameplay that makes fine use of each character's abilities
- Camera problems lead to unnecessary deaths
- Split-screen can be a pain with the constantly shifting view
- Escort and "fetch quest" missions can be tedious