LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Review
Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox One
Another year, another LEGO game and another LEGO game review starting with the phrase, another year….Following on from the critically acclaimed, innovative, yet very expensive LEGO Dimensions comes the more traditional LEGO experience with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. The game, spanning a whopping number of the Avenger’s movies - individual and as a group - right up to Age of Ultron and containing over one hundred collectible characters, being light on content is certainly not a criticism you can levy at LEGO Marvel’s Avengers at all. That said though could the now extensive use of the standard LEGO template, ranging way way back to LEGO Star Wars mean that it’s now getting a bit old and repetitive?
We begin this new LEGO romp in the middle of the main introductory scene from Avengers Age of Ultron, in control of Hawkeye and Black Widow, battling their way through the snow, working their way towards the Hydra base. The mechanics are familiar, the gameplay is very much the traditional LEGO template and graphically it looks good with the rich Marvel colour palette shining through. Skip to the next chapter and you find yourself at the moment where Loki first appears in Avengers Assemble, when he steps through the portal and confronts Nick Fury. Skip to the next chapter and you become Captain America as he and his steadfast pal Bucky they take the Red Skull head on, assaulting the Hydra base and dealing with the creations of Dr. Zola. It’s commendable that the team at Traveller's Tales have managed to weave a typical charming, funny LEGO adventure using a mish-mash of two Avengers movies and a slew of the standalone phase two Marvel movies, without completely making a hash out of the narrative.
What becomes apparent after a few of the early chapters is the wealth of content and characters available here, utilising as many of our favourite superheroes as possible along the way to make it’s own adventure. There are indeed a whopping one hundred characters to choose from with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers and it is the wealth of choice on offer that will keep the die-hard LEGO fans coming back for more long after that fifteen chapter campaign is completed. Sadly though, and this is the real let-down, there isn’t a massive amount to differentiate the characters from one to another. The introduction of solo and dual based special moves is a welcome one but it doesn’t really provide much variation on ‘mash x and see what happens’ formula that lego players will be long used to by now.
To add to the substantial campaign, not only is there the entirety of Manhattan to mess around in there are also a number of of hub worlds that players are free to explore should they wish to, seven in total in fact, each containing a number of opportunities to unlock new characters, earn more studs and most notably provide the ability to take part in a plethora of side quests.
The combat throughout remains very simplistic and button mashy, as with the majority of LEGO games, fling yourself at anything that looks like it might break, mash x and things will invariably happen. Some effort is made to spruce this up, in a handful of ways. The introduction of signature moves for each of the main characters along with dual combo moves using your favourite characters, on paper sounds like a hoot, but sadly in reality it’s as simple as pressing a different button during combat - just taking a break from mashing x and pressing another button is tough to sell as gameplay variation but for the first few times you try it with each character it is reasonably cool, albeit brief. This is made worse when you are battling with characters you aren’t all that familiar with, which will happen unless you are a real Marvel enthusiast, as you end up not really paying a great deal of attention and resorting to button mashing as it gets the job done quicker.
For the die-hard fans of the Marvel universe along with LEGO game lifers there is a lot to like in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, and a wealth of content for you to get lost in. Its upbeat, whimsical sense of ‘LEGO’ humour is a delight for kids and adults alike familiar with the movies that are being riffed upon. The long campaign, the plethora of side quests and game hubs, an awful lot of characters ranging from the core Avengers all the way down to obscure bit part players and all this comes naturally with the huge amount of collectibles which is standard for a LEGO game. In truth LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is exactly what you’d expect from a LEGO game, which depending on your affinity with Marvel or in turn the LEGO games could be a good or a bad thing. It’s clear that for anyone who’s played a lot of LEGO games this one could feel like a bland step too far, especially given how LEGO Dimensions tried to push the franchise forward a little using innovation and varied gameplay.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is a return to the more traditional style of the LEGO games, following a bit of a departure from the innovative LEGO Dimensions. Brimming with characters and as a result of closely following all of the Marvel movies to date (individual and The Avengers as a group) bursting with enough content to keep the family happy for days. Sadly though, the template is now starting to look a little tired and for anyone who’s been here from the start (even way back playing the LEGO Star Wars games) fatigue has no doubt set in. A solid entry but it’s getting a bit tiresome now.