GAME NAME: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
DEVELOPER(S): Travellers Tales
PUBLISHER(S): Warner Bros Interactive
PLATFORM(S): PS4, Xbox One
GENRE(S): Action, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): December 13th, 2013
The LEGO games have been around for a good while now. At first, they had no voice acting at all, relied purely on charm, implied humour, and actually worked extremely well. The games never did much on the combat side of things, keeping it basic, along with the level design and general gameplay.
In the last couple of years, the LEGO games have increased in frequency with Lord of the Rings, Batman 2 and LEGO City all coming out in recent times. They now include voice acting, which has definitely added a new dimension to the games, but everything else has remained the same. The latest instalment was the LEGO Marvel Superheroes game which released on PS3 and Xbox 360 at the end of last year (read our review here) and now comes to the next-gen consoles also. But does the charm match the move up in generation?
To keep things short, LEGO Marvel Superheroes starts with Dr Doom whacking The Silver Surfer from his board, aiming to collect little cosmic cubes of power to make a weapon and, well, you know how these things go. Anyway, Doom and Loki manage to free a bunch of other villains and it’s left up to S.H.I.E.L.D and its many heroes to save the world.
The story is typical of a basic superhero plot and it never moves away from this at all. The game also follows the usual LEGO design in terms of the way the game plays. At the start, you get to control a few heroes, such as Hulk, Iron Man and the rest of the team. You find yourself at the centre of the action and need to use each hero’s skills to progress. Every hero has a specific move which is needed at times.
Characters like the Hulk and Thing can pick up objects blocking the way, Iron Man has rockets to blow up silver LEGO, Jean Grey can use telekinesis when needed, Human Torch can cut out gold LEGO and Wolverine can use his claws on certain switches. It goes on like that forever depending on the character.
When you play for the first time, you will only be able to access certain areas and carry on with the main story depending on your characters, but once you finish a level, you can go back to it in free play with characters that you unlock and access the areas you couldn’t previously get to. Obviously, these areas hide little collectibles rather than adding anything to the story, but it does give a reason to play through again if you are one of the people who like to collect everything.
Something that has been added to the LEGO games recently is the ability to explore an open world setting. In between the main story levels, you have the option to explore various areas such as the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier, or the greater New York area. Again, the more characters you have unlocked, the more you can explore with the whole aim of collecting gold bricks in order to unlock bonus items and other extras.
Scattered across the open world setting are numerous extra side missions, which are a bit hit and miss. Some of them are really quite a waste of time as you aid random citizens in the street. One example is that a guy lost his favourite broom and I had to go fetch it for him, it was silly. Other missions, however, are far better though, and some even include new missions similar to the main game story levels. There is even one where you get to explore the Marvel Headquarters and battle Howard the Duck. You heard right. The other side missions revolve around using a particular character’s skillset to complete little puzzles, most of which are pretty basic. Although they are fun, they do get a bit boring after a while.
Your enjoyment of LEGO Marvel Superheroes will probably depend on how many LEGO games you have played recently. You see, they are full of charm and great humour. The returning voicing is matched well to each character which really accentuates the character’s traits and, again, adds to the charm. The problem lies once again with the combat and general gameplay. It just isn’t fresh or innovative at all; even the open world has been done a few times now and the ideas are wearing a little thin.
With the story levels, every single chapter is the same. You get a handful of characters to switch between. A major villain is at the same place you arrive at and you have to chase him down. You will battle some minions along the way with very basic combat mechanics; complete some very basic puzzle mechanics; get to the end boss, eventually, and then enter a boss battle which follows almost the same pattern every level.
While it all feels quite repetitive, it is never to the point where the game gets boring. You just expect it all to go along the same way and it never deviates from the formula. It’s not a bad thing as it works well for what the game tries to do, I just feel it’s time for a little something more in terms of the gameplay which can match the great changes they have made elsewhere.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes doesn’t really show off anything in terms of the PS4’s capabilities. Comparing it to the Xbox 360 and PS3 version, it looks almost identical and even had pop-up in the distance during open world sections. That’s not to say it isn’t brilliantly animated and doesn’t look great, it just doesn’t make much of a jump.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes is as good as any of the recent LEGO games. If you love your Marvel Superheroes, are in the mood for some simple platforming and combat in an otherwise impressive little world and story, you may just want to pick this up. If you are hoping for something completely new, then you will be disappointed. Though moving too far from the formula is probably never going to happen, a little bit of a refresh in terms of gameplay would not go unappreciated.