“If he can wield the Hammer, he can keep the stone..”
As you may have noticed, there has been a lot of Lego games in the last few years. 17 of them if you really want a number. Some great, some not. Lego Marvel’s Avengers is the second game to use the Marvel universe, the first being Lego Marvel Super Heroes which had a great story and was a pretty decent Lego game overall. Unfortunately Lego Marvel’s Avengers is hindered by the fact that it is locked into telling the story of the two Avengers films.
The game is structured around lengthy recreations of the two Avengers movies and much shorter side missions based on the two Captain America films, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World. A free Ant-Man DLC is available for PlayStation owners while a Captain America: Civil War paid DLC pack is due sometime in May. It’s a mystery why some of the earlier films are missed, especially given the bizarre way the game goes about telling its story. The game starts with the opening of Age of Ultron film, which quite cleverly introduces all the characters and then abruptly skips back to recreating the entirety of Avengers Assemble. Only after completing this do you return the events of the second film.
Voice clips from the movies are used for most of the story elements, but, much like Lego Jurassic World, they sound awful and misplaced on a Lego figure. When any character speaks, the game sound is weirdly muted and a muffled, poor quality sample is played. Very jarring. It sounds like the dialogue was recorded using a phone directly from a TV speaker. The gibberish Lego language from the earlier games worked way better.
If you are hoping for any innovation in the gameplay department then you will be disappointed. It’s a Lego game! What did you expect?. The simple puzzles and fixed camera level design are the same as any other Lego title, as too are the collectibles and the unlocking of bonus characters. Don’t expect any major changes.
However, the one thing that has changed slightly from previous Lego games is the combat system. It now takes a long time to beat up even the weakest of enemies. Enemies usually attack in groups and most characters don’t have an area attack to cope with this (unless you play as the Hulk) and you are forced to use the new QTE attack system. After a single button press your selected character goes through a lengthy animation which will then defeat the enemy immediately. You can also combine characters to do super special moves that dishes out damage to the surrounding area. This gets pretty stale after the third or fourth time as you watch the canned animation over and over. The constant spawning of enemies is also very frustrating and at odds with the easy going vibe of previous games.
Without a doubt the best bits of the game are the open world environments. Manhattan is the biggest of these and there are also smaller open world areas such as Asgard, the S.H.I.E.L.D base and even Hawkeye’s cabin. These areas are filled to the brim with collectibles, mini quests, races, mini games and unlockable characters and vehicles. Certain mini quests and collectibles are unavailable until you unlock the correct character. You can change character at any moment by holding down the triangle button. This brings up a list of all characters you have unlocked. This also works in free play for the story levels.
There are over 200 Marvel characters in the game and many of them have never been in a Lego game before. You probably need to be a huge Marvel fan to recognize or even know all of them. Squirrel Girl, Captain Universe, Ms. Marvel and Fin Fang Foom are highlights of the impressive roster of characters but these and the rest of the non-movie characters are little more than afterthoughts than anything of substance. There are some glaring omissions too. No Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, Spiderman or Wolverine to name a few. For Guardians of the Galaxy it’s probably because there is a Lego Guardians of the Galaxy game incoming to tie up with the sequel. For the others, legal issues for sure. Those pesky lawyers.
At the end of the day Lego Marvel’s Avengers is nowhere near as good as Lego Marvel Super Heroes. This is purely down to the fact that the game has to adhere to the movies. There is no freedom to do anything fun and surprising in the story levels. It doesn’t help that the Lego games overall are getting very stale and are in need of an overhaul. With Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens just announced, it’s time the Lego games took a risk and offered something new.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers is available now on just about every platform you can think of.