LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 Review

By Marc Hollinshead, 19 days ago
When we ponder on the LEGO franchise, which of the extensive list of games from TT Games do we think represents the peak of their success? Some might say the Star Wars titles from the developer's early years might be their best work. Others may opt for their rendition of Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Carribean. However, a logical estimation would be that the games tied to the Marvel or DC universes are where they truly shone the most. With such a vast array of lore, characters and abilities to utilise, it's no surprise that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was well received. A few years later, we now have a sequel to that title. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 once again furthers the progression of the LEGO formula, providing us with a game that is TT Games' biggest project yet.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 releases November 17th

LEGO Marvel 2 shifts the focus to the Guardians of the Galaxy and other heroes who were absent from the first title. While we still see plenty of the core Avengers heroically fighting crime throughout the story, different characters make a regular appearance this time around. Kang the Conqueror is the latest threat and it is made apparent from the get-go. Kang's diabolical plot involves multiple worlds from different time periods being fused together into what is essentially a giant toy box for our villain. The stakes aren't necessarily as high as Galactus salivating over the planet as his next meal, but the story does its utmost to keep the tension high.

The criteria of 15 levels appears to be no more as there are more story levels to be experienced. In order to usurp Kang from his throne, the heroes must travel across the gigantic city of Chronopolis and it is here where the game is at its strongest. LEGO Marvel 2 offers the largest world ever to be seen in TT Games' history. While initially starting as a few separated areas, this time-bending city quickly opens up into one seamless open world made up of 18 unique hubs. From a snowy Manhattan to Ancient Egypt, all of these areas are completely connected, allowing you to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. Each area harbours its own distinct theme so there isn't a recycled environment in sight. It makes for some exciting exploration, culminating past efforts of the developer into what is now the pique of free play in the LEGO series.

Due to the vastness of Chronopolis, there is an element of freedom when approaching the story. As multiple groups of heroes search for the scattered Nexus Shards to end Kang, the choice of which level to play is a regular occurrence. Each hub gets its own time to shine and while there is a linear nature to the story like every other LEGO game to date, this added bonus contributes to the sheer scope of LEGO Marvel 2. As you discover more of the content that lies within Chronopolis, it'll become very clear that there is an absolute ton to do. There is more to collect, more story levels to complete and a bigger world to uncover. It's quite the feat from TT Games when we look back at their small beginnings with LEGO Star Wars.

Chronopolis may be bad news for its inhabitants, but not for us.Chronopolis may be bad news for its inhabitants, but not for us.

Aside from collecting and completing the story, one of the main draws of the LEGO games is the characters. The comic-book inspired titles in the series have clearly been the most spoilt for choice and LEGO Marvel 2 greedily makes full use of that fact. Well over a staggering 200 characters can be collected here and being introduced to the character grid for the first time certainly makes an impression. It's almost a little too overwhelming to navigate due to how many of them are stuffed into the roster but at the same time you can't help but get gleefully excited over how many character variations are at your disposal.

Abilities have also evolved over the years, giving more characters a personality of their own instead of acting as a simple reskin of another. Each figure will boastfully introduce themselves as you change to them and animations can vary on an wide scale depending on who you are currently controlling. Powers, for the most part, are similar to what we have seen in past instalments, but they work perfectly fine within the context of the game world. However, that definitely hasn't stopped TT Games from unleashing the very recesses of their creative minds with the character models we now have. Whenever you unlock someone new, it's worth checking them out even if it is just for a few moments.

Dogs are now a staple of <i>LEGO</i>, and teleporting ones at that.Dogs are now a staple of LEGO, and teleporting ones at that.

An extra mode for those who want to play with friends, or against AI if you're so inclined, is the battle mode. In these arenas you are divided into 2-4 teams and the aim is to win as many points as possible. There are just two modes on offer so there isn't a great amount of diversity. "Color Clash" has you spreading the ground of the arena with a given colour with your character and then banking the points as you see fit. The second and more interesting mode is "Capture The Infinity Stones." This one periodically places specific power-up stones in the middle of the arena, and the team who has it in their possession will rack up the points until it cycles to the next stone or they are beaten up and killed. It's a simple concept that is also executed as such, but it is an entertaining distraction should you wish to pursue it.

LEGO Marvel 2 takes many mechanics of the franchise and evolves them, but something that always seems to remain is the glitches. Once again we see a LEGO game prone to bugs, some of which can be rather irritating. The majority of them are confined to specific characters, halting their movement until they randomly decide to reanimate themselves. However, one glitch saw an end-level boss disappear, causing the level to be restarted in order to fix it. It's a nuisance that we wish wasn't consistent in the series, but sadly it is.

The controls in this title can also be a little finicky. Flying has never been the series' strong suit, and it can still be awkward here. While the left stick is used to propel yourself forward, the right stick essentially steers your character. Now I'm the kind of gamer who likes to move the camera in rhythm with the character's movement, so this was a little jarring for me at first. Holding down Y to switch characters when in story levels has also disappeared, so spamming the button until the game decides to pick your desired character is with what we've been left. It's a strange and frankly unneeded step backwards, but it's not completely game breaking. It's a shame to see the series regularly being held back by its glitches and controls when everything else is being improved upon game by game.

Keep an eye on that Groot. He's the glitchiest.Keep an eye on that Groot. He's the glitchiest.

Achievement lists for LEGO games have always followed a similar theme throughout the years, and this one is no different. Due to how large Chronopolis is, though, there is a larger focus on completion based achievements, but there are still a few random ones in there. It's probably going to be the longest completion in the series yet, but veterans will know the score. Continue to ravenously collect and you'll see that 100% eventually, along with all 45 achievements.

Summary

LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is a testament of how far TT Games has come in perfecting the LEGO formula. From tiny hubs focusing on story completion, we now have a gigantic and diverse open world to explore as we see fit. Chronopolis is great fun and uncovering all of its secrets is a hugely entertaining and rewarding experience. The wide range of characters and story levels help to keep that exploration fresh, but unfortunately a few problems with glitches and controls hold it back. Nonetheless, comic-book fan or LEGO fan, this is a title that will no doubt satiate your appetite for some superhero goodness.
4 / 5
Positives
  • Large and diverse open world with plenty to see and do
  • Original story that spans across more levels
  • Tons of interesting characters with which to play
Negatives
  • Finicky and sometimes awkward controls
  • The LEGO glitchiness strikes again
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent just shy of 15 hours exploring Chronopolis and breaking a ton of bricks while earning 21 of the game's achievements. A code for the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.