When a call from Nick Fury interrupts a victory wrap party that The Avengers are hosting to celebrate saving the world, teams are dispatched to Siberia, where massive radiation spikes have been detected at a remote research facility, to thwart Attuma’s forces deep under the ocean, and to stop a prison breakout that’s headed towards Brooklyn Bridge.
It soon becomes clear that something is wrong, not least when Kang the Conqueror appears above New York aboard his sword-shaped time warship and uses a device to warp Manhattan to a different location. Attacking multiple eras at once, the time-travelling supervillain is ripping cities and locations from time and space to create Chronopolis, which becomes the sprawling hub world that you will explore between story missions in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. Inadvertently assembling an elite team of superheroes at the same time, it falls to you to band them together and put an end to his diabolical plan.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes remains to be the best-selling LEGO game ever, and, with excitement building around Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 has arrived at the perfect time to ride that, with, we can assume, similar aspirations for success.
But, perhaps, more importantly, it is the creativity, re-invention, and clear passion for the source material that has seen TT Games work hard to better the original in nearly every way imaginable. That leans on experience that they have gained while working on games like LEGO Dimensions in the years since, but, return to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes even for a moment, and it soon becomes evident just how ambitious this sequel is.
It comes as no surprise that most of your time spent with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 will see you punching down goons, pondering over solutions to puzzles, and switching between characters to overcome obstacles in your path – staples of the often unfairly berated LEGO formula. But, it is in thinking up new ways to play around with how the game’s enviable collection of characters are used to interact with the world that really starts to stand out.
That can see Captain America using rebound pads to ricochet his shield to slam into a switch, Doctor Strange manipulate objects to make move them forwards and backwards through time, Spider-Man slinging web between two points to make a tightrope to crawl along, or Star-Lord simply slipping on headphones to listen to “Mr. Blue Sky” on his Walkman as he enemies mid-battle. With more than 200 superheroes and supervillains on the character grid, TT Games deserves far more credit in how they have been able to bring each of them to life with their own personalities and powers to boot.
With your progression in the story seeing you leap through portals as assembled teams, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 constantly encourages you to muck around with different characters, meaning that you will have the chance to check out much of the roster that way. And, sure, you will always want to stick to your favourites, but the sheer breadth, and willingness to turn to some more obscure characters, shows just how much passion and enthusiasm has gone into this.
Chronopolis will continue to grow as Kang tears in more and more locations, and, while it is fun to soar around with characters that can fly, you can use the map to fast travel to each area. These are filled with puzzles, Gold Brick monuments, races, and other activities to keep you busy with. And yes, Stan Lee is in peril once again.
As you hunt towards 100 percent completion in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, it’s worth stopping at the Avengers Mansion. The Minikits make a return and, once 10 have been collected in a story mission, reward the player with the chance to unlock comic book covers that are on display in the Trophy Room. You can also head into Gwenpool’s Room to hear some banter, redeem any character unlock codes, and buy Pink Bricks – which replace Red Bricks this time around, rewarding you with the usual stud multipliers and other cheats.
There are also Battle Arenas, in which The Grandmaster watches up to four players compete against each other, or in teams, on maps specific to the mode. There are two game types at the moment, with Capture the Infinity Stone seeing players rushing to grab and capture the powerful gems to score points – with bonus points being awarded for unleashing their power to wipe out their rivals. And then there’s Colour Clash, which sees each player given a separate colour that they then use to basically paint the arena to score points. These are a fun distraction for those wanting to get more players involved, because, as with playing co-op in the main game, the more the merrier.
Whether stomping around Ancient Egypt, exploring the jungle kingdom of Wakanda, or storming the mythical land of Asgard, the art direction to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, with its comic stylings, is incredible. As is the heroically empowering soundtrack and character voiceover work, too, helping to inject even more personality into the digital LEGO Minifigures.
With a Season Pass promising to deliver six Level Pack and four Character Packs based on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Cloak & Dagger, The Runaways, and more, there’s much to look forward to beyond seeing the story through to completion, as well. That will set you back another £11.99 (€14.99) but will extend the adventure for those that enjoy their time with the main game.
Bursting with fan service and a superb script that is packed with silly puns and quick wit, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a (cosmic) blast to play through. Bolder in ambition and bettering its predecessor, what more could you want from what is arguably one of the developer’s best brick-built adventures in recent years.