Review: LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
One of the first games I ever played on PlayStation 4 was LEGO Marvel Superheroes. At the time it cemented itself as my favorite of all the LEGO games with its original story, insanely large cast of characters, and a well realized open world to explore. The core mechanics of each LEGO game might be very similar, but it’s how unique each character feels that make these games so much fun. In Marvel’s case it’s flying through the skies as Iron Man and climbing up tall buildings as the Hulk that’ll never get old.
In LEGO Marvel’s Avengers the story and characters are now directly pulled from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This leads to a story that covers both Avengers movies, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Winter Soldier. This also means that all spoken dialog throughout the game (with a few exceptions) is taken directly from the films. The adaptations of the MCU movies work well as abridged versions of each story. Going through the first Avengers movie and reliving some of the major set piece moments is just great. Unfortunately the structure of how these stories are presented starts to work against the game. The game starts with the opening scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron before flashing back to the first Avengers movie. After that there’s a brief level that covers the first Captain America movie before leading through the rest of the first Avengers film. After finishing the first Avengers movie the credits roll and you’re free to play the rest of the movies in any order you want. The early jumping back-and-forth is a bit confusing at first, but I get what they were going for. I like the idea of tying these movies together with flashbacks and such, but it doesn’t quite come together for this game. It’s also unfortunate that, for as well realized as the two Avengers movies are, the other movies a reduced into a single level.
The connection to the MCU also means that this game isn’t going to feature the X-Men and a handful of other characters that were in the previous Marvel game. (The Guardians of the Galaxy are also missing for some reason.) It’s unfortunate to miss out on popular characters (I’m sure Spider-Man is a deal breaker for some), but Marvel’s Avengers is still no slouch. There are well over 100 playable characters that stay true to their own unique abilities. This game also introduces team-up abilities that two characters can pull off when a special meter is filled. These abilities are both flashy and capable of taking out large groups of enemies with ease. The core Avengers also have their own unique team-up abilities like Thor slamming his hammer against Captain America’s shield to create a huge shock-wave. It’s these unique abilities that really nail what I love so much about LEGO games. Without fail LEGO games consistently feature a staggering attention to detail. Each character controls in a way that feels true to who they are, there’s plenty of fan service on display, the visual gags expected from a LEGO game are here in full force, and of course the use of Stan Lee cameos is consistently hilarious.
The stages that go through the MCU story-line play out about how you’d expect from a LEGO game. There’s lots of smashing blocks, building things out of LEGO, character specific switches, and a wealth of unlockables. The structure here hasn’t changed. Sokovia, Malibu, the Barton Farm, Asgard, Washington DC, and South Africa join Manhattan this time around as hub areas. The only major difference I noticed in this game’s version of Manhattan is the removal of the X-Men area in favor of an Avenger’s building. That aside it’s still the huge open world from the prior game with more side missions, unlockables, and characters to find. The new hub areas are cool to explore, but also much smaller than Manhattan. Ultimately these hub areas make it incredibly easy to lose numerous hours hunting for collectibles and completing side objectives as your favorite character. I do wish Manhattan at least had a map that I could pull up though.
Despite my issues with the order in which each film is presented I really enjoyed playing through abridged versions of the MCU. It’s a lot of fun to play through my favorite moments from the movies and the visual gags added along the way fit really well with the brand of humor found in Marvel movies. The new hub areas and hundreds of unlockable characters just ensure that I’ll have plenty of reason to come back to this one for the foreseeable future.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Lots of fun to replay specific moments from each movie
- Both Avengers movies are represented really well
- TONS of things to do within numerous hub areas
- New team abilities are pretty cool
What I Dislike:
- The non-Avengers movies feel like an afterthought
- The order in which the story is told can be a bit odd
- A map of the Manhattan hub area would be nice