The formula for the LEGO
game franchise has very much established itself across each instalment throughout the years. From collecting as many bricks as you can manage to unlocking wacky new characters, TT Games has been happily churning out new titles each year that follow the same premise but have a few tweaks here and there. The evolution of the games is definitely noticeable, but is it really worth changing things up on a larger scale when the games are already so successful? The latest release, LEGO Marvel's Avengers
, continues the superhero theme with which TT Games is well acquainted, so does it do enough to encourage fans back for more block-tastic action?
The Marvel heroes return for another round
It may be easy to think of this game as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
2.0 and you wouldn't be far off. However, instead of an original story featuring a vast array of heroes, the focus is on the two The Avengers
films with a few extra levels referencing other Marvel moments. Like the majority of recent LEGO
games, there are a total of 15 story levels, but only 12 of these follow the aforementioned films, whereas the others are set apart for specific Iron Man, Captain America and Thor storylines. This certainly adds more variety and thus causes LEGO Marvel's Avengers
to be its own game rather than a LEGO based movie tie in.
On the other hand, though, you're taken through each film's story a bit too quickly. This is all the more apparent the more that you play because the game seems to want you to quickly go from level to level without any downtime. There are transitions between most levels where you are asked to perform a specific task that breaks the monotony, but it's not until you're further into the story that you'll be free to explore at your leisure. The levels themselves are your standard LEGO
affair. Solving basic puzzles, smashing up objects, defeating waves of enemies and fighting a couple of bosses will all be part and parcel of what you'll be doing, but in different contexts.
Due to the limited amount of levels for each film, the game tends to swiftly gloss over some story content and place you straight into the more epic parts. This causes cinematic moments to be a regular occurrence, meaning that most levels feel exciting and dramatic with a few occasional calmer segments. The three "extra" levels also work in the same way, quickly narrating you through the plot and then allowing you to play through more thrilling content. Amongst all of this, the ever-present LEGO
humour is still littered throughout the game, reminding us not to take it seriously. Whether it's Agent Coulson firing at Loki with a boxing glove or Stan Lee making his umpteenth appearance, LEGO Marvel's Avengers
still remembers its roots, but at the same time has evolved into something of a spectacle at which to marvel (no pun intended).
Loki is obviously one of those "taking candy from a baby" type of villains
With the heroes being as super as they are, combat should amplify that trait. Older LEGO
games used to have each character simply acting as a different skin for the same thing. As the series has evolved, so has the individual abilities of each character. Superheroes give the developers even more freedom with combat and it is clear that they are aiming to make every character worth unlocking. Aesthetically there are some impressive models, and there appears to be a few newer powers given to characters who we haven't seen before. Of course, there are a few useless characters that are only really there for the sake of it, but for the most part there will be a genuine desire to try out every one that you unlock. TT Games isn't quite there yet with having a roster full of completely unique characters, but they have come a long way since their first LEGO
Fist fights aim to be as dramatic and exciting as the films, with every single character having their own finishing move when fighting enemies. To add to this, once a special meter on the character portrait is fully filled, a special paired combo with another character can be performed. Certain pairings have unique moves, like Captain America and Scarlet Witch, or Iron Man and Thor. Lesser known characters will only do a simple flip and ground smash with each other, which obviously isn't as exciting. Nonetheless this is a welcome addition to one of the oldest staples of the franchise, making punching blocks feel more of a fluid experience.
Another aspect of the LEGO
series that has evolved tremendously is the hub areas. Originally these were barely anything more than transitional areas between levels and a place to buy characters and bricks, but now they take up a huge portion of the game. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
gave us a sprawling Manhattan hub full of collectibles and activities and now the boundaries have been pushed even further by presenting a total of eight hub worlds to explore. This may sound absolutely huge, and it undeniably adds diversity when exploring, but it's not as expansive as you potentially thought. Aside from Manhattan, the other hubs aren't all that big and there isn't nearly as much to collect as on the New York island. There is still the 250 gold brick limit and collectible totals still average out as the same as previous titles, but this time they are just spread around multiple areas. Each hub has its own unique design, though, so there is still more to see in terms of physical travelling.
As you collect to your heart's content, you'll be delighted to hear that this is made even easier with the improved mini map. Instead of a literal map where you can see collectible locations, a radar has replaced it, showing the direction of every single item no matter where you are. There is no more switching to the map and creating a custom route to something as it's already right there for you. This does mean that the radar can be flooded with shiny dots when in hubs, especially in Manhattan, but it is not all that overwhelming. Keeping track of what's left to find is now as straightforward as ever and, dare I say it, brings back a rare enjoyment in collecting in-game items and unlockables. Furthermore, those who were frustrated with the flight controls in past games can now breathe a sigh of relief as an alternate and far more responsive method of flying is now in place. Using the right stick to steer now makes those dreaded flying races much less of a nuisance.
Despite how ambitious the series is becoming, LEGO
games have regularly been hindered by glitches and design problems. Unfortunately, this instalment is no different. The levels don't seem to be affected too much, but there was an occasion when entering a new hub caused everything to black out and not load properly, having characters enter into an infinite falling animation. Attempting a collectible mission when simultaneously being directed to a story level also had two stud trails of the same colour appear, causing a lot of confusion as to which was which and is an odd oversight from the developers. Items themselves are seemingly immune from the glitch disease, but after previous games, it's worth being careful when searching for them all.
The achievements for LEGO Marvel's Avengers
once again follow a very similar trend to past games. To get the full 1,000G you will need to complete all levels, visit everywhere you can
and complete the game to 100%
. Amongst all of this there are also random tasks
to complete, but nothing is too taxing. All in all, it's another simple LEGO
achievement list that will have you seeing everything that's on offer.
If you've played any of the recent LEGO
titles, LEGO Marvel's Avengers
will be familiar to you. The overall formula remains the same and there is still plenty to find and collect in the form of bricks and characters. If you look at the very first title in the series, though, it is clear how much has changed and evolved since then. Combat in this instalment is far more fluid and exciting, characters are unique in design and there are plenty of abilities spread throughout. There is also so much more to do other than completing story levels. The speed of the story leaves a distinct desire to get to the hubs but exploring them is not nearly as frustrating as it used to be once you make it. Problems and glitches still crop up every now and then, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the game. While the LEGO
series could do with switching up the formula to reignite it, this latest romp with our favourite heroes is still an enjoyable one.
- Combat is more fun with new features
- Many characters feel unique and are all worth playing as
- Tweaked mini-map makes collecting much easier
- Pushed too quickly through the story
- Some glitches arise once again
The reviewer spent 14 hours fighting bad guys, roaming around all of the hub worlds and collecting plenty of goodies, all while earning 29 of the game's 40 achievements along the way. A physical Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.