LEGO Marvel's Avengers Reviews

AuthorReview
nemesis646
128,427 (80,175)
nemesis646
TA Score for this game: 1,912
Posted on 02 May 17 at 11:54, Edited on 02 May 17 at 12:03
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LEGO Marvel's Avengers is the seventeenth licensed LEGO game to be made by Traveller's Tales, and the second to use the Marvel license, originally released in Q1 2016. Unlike its predecessor (not its, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Avengers focuses more upon the Marvel Studios cinematic franchise, commonly referred to as the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe', rather than Marvel Comics as a whole. Its main story adapting the plot from 2012's The Avengers and 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron (both directed by Joss Whedon of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame).

Story

The game begins by immediately throwing the player into the first mission, which takes place as the titular superhero team fight against the forces of HYDRA, adapting the opening scene of Age of Ultron and giving the player a taste of what is to come later on by letting them control all but two of the team. While the game sacrifices narrative pacing and order by opting to adapt the opening scene of the second film rather than the first, such a gamble ultimately pays off as the action is incredibly fun and leaves the player hungering for more.

From there, the story returns to the opening scenes of the first film, and continues to proceed through the events of the both films in order. It is here that the narrative suffers slightly; quite understandably, less family-friendly elements of the films have been adapted out, including some of the more serious violence. With that said, such a sacrifice is understandable in order for Traveller's Tales to keep the game rated for children aged seven and up, and more than enough slapstick comedy is inserted to make up for it. The plot also feels somewhat rushed as a combined total of over four hours of film is compressed into twelve levels, although given the game's status as an adaptation this is generally forgivable.

Gameplay

With Traveller's Tales having developed licensed LEGO games for over ten years now, players have come to expect a certain standard of gameplay, namely a largely destructible background, the hoarding of 'studs' in order to buy more items and large numbers of enemies to defeat, with boss fights inserted to provide some variation as necessary. Avengers continues such a formula, while occasionally adding in new puzzles or granting pre-existing characters from Heroes the ability to do things they previously could not.

The game's level design is quite inventive, taking some liberties with the source material in order to provide a more fun experience. For instance, instead of having Hawkeye be brainwashed immediately, the game allows the player to control both him and Nick Fury as both fight against the Asgardian Loki, which makes for a surprisingly good experience. Other notable highlights are the party, where the Avengers have to use their abilities to clear Iron Man's penthouse and tidy up, as well as the Black Widow's attempts to escape the Hulk and the final fight against Ultron.

Similar to other games in the LEGO game franchise, there are large open hubs where the player can explore, allowing them to obtain quests and collectibles (including a wide range of vehicles and characters, both from the films and comics). These are largely similar to prior instalments, although these provide the player with more things to do. My main criticism would be the amount of backtracking that is sometimes required, but this isn't too excessive.

One of Avengers' flaws - and a common criticism from mainstream reviews - is that it doesn't really add many new ideas to the core gameplay of the series. This is largely true, as aside from the new combination moves - where characters can team up to inflict powerful attacks on their enemies - as well as a change to the finishing moves (previous instalments allowed gamers to perform such attacks on enemies much more easily, whereas this one only allows this if stamina has been built up), there is nothing that makes Avengers different from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes or the previous LEGO superhero game, namely LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Having said that, the idea of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' comes to mind. In the case of the LEGO games, a large part of their appeal is the smashing of background objects to earn money, romping through waves of enemies and solving different kinds of puzzles; the same is true of the quests one can find by exploring. It may well be that Avengers does not provide as much innovation for the series as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes did, but it is still a fun experience which adds some interesting and cool ideas to a series; with luck, future superhero adaptations will take some of the ideas here, such as the new puzzles and combination moves, and implement them alongside any other changes they have.

In terms of glitches and bugs, I found my experience was typically fine, bar one or two instances where my co-op character physically refused to move and got stuck, which caused issues when solving a few puzzles. These were fixed fairly easily with a save and restart, although having played the game roughly a year after its release I imagine most of the more serious problems (which reportedly led to many complaints when the game first launched) have since been fixed through patches and updates.

Audio and graphics

Graphics are largely unchanged from Lego Marvel Super Heroes, with quality mostly being good. The reuse of old assets is entirely understandable, and in fact works since part of the aesthetic of Heroes was based on the films.

In terms of audio, the music - largely taken from the films - is as superb as ever, and balance between music and dialogue is usually fine. Archive audio from the films - since getting big-name actors like Robert Downey Jr. would be borderline impossible - is used reasonably well and quite inventively at times, with new actors brought in to replace old ones when using pre-existing audio simply would not work. There are times when idle dialogue becomes a little repetitive - Tony Stark spouting off the same one-liner does eventually grow a little tiresome - but this is mostly forgivable.

Summary

While perhaps falling short when compared to its spiritual predecessor, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and not necessarily adding many new features to a series that has increasingly relied on formula, LEGO Marvel's Avengers still provides a decent gaming experience in its own right for gamers of all ages, especially those who are fond of most things Marvel.
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