Lego Marvel's Avengers Review
publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment
developer: TT Games
|ESRB rating: RP
release date: Jan 26, 16
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We may be inundated with LEGO games as of late. Any time a big action movie releases, we’re bound to have a LEGO game based off of it, especially if the movie is a cult classic like Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars. However, it is hard to be tired of them when they’re just so darn fun and cute, which is the case with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (not to be confused with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes).
Whereas LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was a bit of a LEGO Batman setting with an original story starring heroes and villains of the Marvel-verse, Marvel’s Avengers is based upon the Avengers movies. It’s the first two Avengers movies along with some pieces of Captain America, Captain America Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3, and Thor: Dark World mixed in. One would think that with all of these action-packed movies that TT Games would have more sequences to cut out then shove into the story mode, but for whatever reason, that does not seem to be the case. In fact, TT padded the movies to bring in more levels for players, which resulted a few weird and forced levels, such as the scene where Nick Fury visits the gym Steve Rogers frequents to discuss the Tesseract mission. TT Games decided this would be the prime place for exploration, destruction, and building as Steve remembers his life back in World War II. It was an odd choice.
One thing that I’ve noticed TT Games has lacked with their movie-parody games since they’ve added in the movie voice tracks is less humor. When the games had no dialogue, TT Games was extremely creative in how they had the characters “tell” the story, and since there was no spoken dialogue, it was far easier for the developers to intertwine in their silly humor that the LEGO games have been known for. Since the LEGO Batman and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes games don’t follow a set movie, TT was able to write in their silliness and the games worked just as well when the characters were miming the jokes. As Marvel’s Avengers is based upon the movies, it lacks most of the humor we’ve come to expect from LEGO Games (That’s a shame, cuz the humor is really what makes LEGO games tick… well, it used to – Ed. Vader).
The game does find ways to turn the more violent aspects of these movies into kid-friendly devices that are rather humorous. For example, instead of Black Widow stabbing a Chitauri to get him to turn his air-scooter, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers has her use a toilet plunger. There’s also this strange motif with everyone drinking strawberry shakes and spilling ice cream. Apparently that’s the real reason for Hulk’s anger—dropped ice cream. Stan Lee’s random appearances and comments are just as hilarious as well. And of course, the idea of Thanos growling over the loss of yet another Infinity Stone while doing his laundry is quite comical indeed. But that’s the extent of the humor in the game, and it’s sadly far and few between in comparison to other titles.
Using the audio from the movies hampers the game in a few other ways as well. As previously mentioned, all dialogue in the story missions comes directly from these movies. Some of the one-liners are reused throughout the game as part of attacks or reworked into the cut scenes. Sometimes this form of cutting and pasting works very well. Most of the time, it’s awkward. Although this isn’t half as awkward as Pepper Potts’ lines being read by a voice actor who is clearly NOT Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m not sure why TT Games was able to use all the audio from each movie except for her lines. Even Cobie Smulders and Clark Gregg returned to the voice acting booth to record new lines for the rest of the game, but Gwyneth’s pre-recorded lines from the movies wasn’t included? It’s bizarre, and fortunately, they don’t incorporate many of her lines from the movies.
Gameplay is rather standard fare for a LEGO game. The various characters each have their own unique abilities, many of which are shared across characters. Iron Man has the ability to shoot explosives at silver objects and melt gold objects, and Hawkeye has arrows that can do the same as well. Hawkeye has actually become the most diverse character of the game, almost like he’s LEGO Batman who wears all of his suits. Hawkeye can shoot at ranged enemies, melee up close, blow up silver objects, melt gold objects, and break glass with sonar arrows. Hawkeye can practically do it all. In most LEGO games, it’s the women who are the most agile and therefore can double-jump and use agility walls to traverse different areas, but Marvel’s Avengers recognizes that a few men are just as agile, therefore Captain America and Hawkeye can also do any of the agile abilities of the ladies.
Marvel’s Avengers has also introduced team combo attacks that can be implemented when the characters are standing close by and a chained attack has occurred. When activated, the two will combine their powers for a lovely area of effect and a bit of massive carnage (in LEGO terms, that is). Some characters have partner-specific combos, such as Quicksilver with Scarlet Witch and Thor with Captain America. Occasionally, these combos will be part of the gameplay that must be triggered to move on. These cues are not as complicated as a Mortal Kombat X Brutality or similar ilk; it’s quite clearly marked who must be involved and when it must occur.
As in other LEGO titles, the story mode is the tiniest piece of the whole pie. There is of course a freeplay mode for all of the story missions, which is the only way to acquire all of the collectibles in the game—by switching between all unlocked characters to open up new areas in the level. Each level has a minimum stud requirement to achieve True Avenger status of the level, three character tokens for unlocking more characters in the massive roster, a red brick, and a Stan Lee in peril. And of course there is a hub world where players can run around the open world to find more Stan Lees in peril, gold bricks, red bricks, character tokens, and create as much mayhem as you want. Manhattan has returned as the main hub world, but this time, Marvel’s Avengers has other hub worlds to explore. It’s almost as if LEGO Dimensions has merged with Marvel’s Avengers, but without the necessity of buying more toy sets. In addition to Manhattan, players have Washington, D.C. and the SHIELD Helicarrier to explore. Oh there are some “secret” story missions as well, that can only be accessed from space. By launching into space, players can see all of the hub worlds and story missions scattered across the entire Earth, which is how three extra story missions magically appear.
I’m not going to lie; it’s incredibly overwhelming for a LEGO game to have this much to explore.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers has its weird moments, but you can’t deny there is plenty to do or that the gameplay is rather well polished. It doesn’t even have those lovely glitches LEGO games infamously contain, and they have finally cleaned up the flying mechanics. Fans of the LEGO games and Marvel movies will enjoy it regardless of the minor issues.
Large open world, polished gameplay, lack of typical TT Games glitches, solid flying mechanics, and plenty of silly LEGO fun;
Awkward use of movie audio, padded levels, and less humor than typical for LEGO games.
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