The Marvel universe may be preparing to wage civil war, but the heroics seen in several movies have proven to be more than enough source material for the next brick smashing LEGO adventure.
A hero’s work is never done and the same can be said for TT Games, who, after breaking the rules with LEGO Dimensions, have busily worked in tandem to see LEGO Marvel’s Avengers closely follow mere months later.
It isn’t the first time that Marvel’s characters have assembled for a brick-built outing, with 2013’s LEGO Marvel Super Heroes having spun an original tale that revolved around Doctor Doom’s ploy to collect Cosmic Bricks in order to create the Doom Ray of Doom.
Where LEGO Marvel’s Avengers differs in approach, is that it becomes the first game to directly recreate the storylines seen in several Marvel films. Those are namely The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I would always argue that TT Games are at their creative best when left to pen their own material, as seen with LEGO City Undercover. But, six movies pack more than enough content to present players with an adventure that never wanes in scale or action.
The developer hasn’t chosen to separate each story with their own doorway as seen way back in LEGO Star Wars. But instead, for better or worse, sees them interspersed with one another – the early portion seeing The Avengers act as the plot to rotate around while flashbacks recall the earlier tales of the gathered superheroes, for instance.
That’s an understandable move but may come as a disappointment to those that were expecting a more wholesome retelling. That isn’t to say that what players witness isn’t lacking in spectacle, but it can sometimes jar in how often it switches between the different narratives – the expectation being that the player can keep up, based on having seen the movies before.
Between levels, players are free to wander through the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier’s sprawling rooms and corridors. It’s a meticulous recreation but largely feels as an unnecessary pit stop that slows progression seeing as there’s no rhyme or reason to the uneventful meandering it necessitates.
It’s an aspect that I have missed as the LEGO formula has continued to evolve, in that the player isn’t left to progress through the story without the hub world interfering. LEGO Dimensions had that balance, in letting players hop into each mission one after another while presenting numerous themed hub worlds as more expansive content to dip into whenever they wished.
Everything else remains part and parcel of what we have now come to expect from a LEGO game. Levels summon a mixture of action, puzzles and platforming, cutscenes are never lacking in mirth, and TT Games take the utmost care to accurately portray the source material. Dialogue plucked straight from the movies only accentuates that authenticity, and the game chimes in on the Avengers’ camaraderie with Team-Up Attacks. These see two characters combine their abilities to solve puzzles or take on bosses, unleashing colossal attacks that easily prove to be an impressive highlight and encourage co-operation when another player joins you.
There is success to be found in how each character has been carefully designed, distinctly different from one another but each remaining to be as equally enjoyable to play as. As expected, the roster is rotated to make sure that the player can experience each, and you are sure to find your favourites when you delve into Free Play.
After seeing the story through, reaching the elusive 100 percent completion will see players tasked with exploring New York City which acts as the main open world hub. With special challenges and races to busy yourself with and other locations to visit such as Asgard and Hawkeye’s rural farm, it’s hard to find any complaint in how much there is to sink your time into. And that’s not to mention retreading the story with newly unlocked characters to hunt down the usual Minikits, Red Bricks and Stan Lee, who is trapped somewhere.
Beyond this, a Season Pass has been made available on Wii U after being overlooked with past games. That covers five packs that promise new mission levels and characters, which will cover Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Masters of Evil, meaning that it can be seen as a more long-term investment for your gaming time.
In that, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers continues to represent the brand’s unbeatable value. There’s enough to occupy you solo, but more fun’s to be had in sharing the adventure and laughs with either a friend or the rest of the family.