by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
I love Lego!
There, I've said it. I'm a grown man who plays with toy bricks. When growing up, it was probably my toy of choice - and could still be now, come to think of it. I had boxes of the stuff, but stored it away when I went to University and began working. Having a family has its advantages though, as it gives me the chance to act like a kid again, and for me that meant buying Lego for my kids (and admittedly, for myself). Lego and video games came together with Lego Star Wars and has been a wonderful franchise since. Lego and video games comes together again with comic book characters (this time from the Marvel stable) in the latest installment to the series, Lego Marvel’s Avengers.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers follows the story of the two Marvel Avengers movies, letting gamers take control of Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and a host of other characters from the movies as they take on Loki, Ultron, Hydra and their range of minions.
As with other Lego games, the aim is still basically to run around collecting Lego pieces - this time in settings from the Avengers movies, particularly looking out for the gold and elusive blue pieces. There are other collectibles as well, many of which are out of reach during a players first play through of the story. Once new characters are unlocked, they can be used to reach these unreachable areas. Pretty much anything can be destroyed to reveal the Lego collectibles inside.
There aren't as many puzzles in this installment of the game and I was a little disappointed by that. And there is less Lego Building than I remember from past titles. Indeed, it seems that there has been more of an emphasis on combat in Lego Marvel’s Avengers. I guess, that is fair enough though, considering the Avengers movies are about superheroes fighting evil forces. My favorite section of Lego Marvel’s Avengers was probably the free play area, a section of the game that seemed to have the most puzzles and variation, where the characters wandered around the city completing quests for citizens and collecting gold bricks. In this area, the game felt, to some extent, like an open world game like Grand Theft Auto.
Combat is fairly simple, with just two attacks available for each of the characters as well as a jump button which can be used to evade the enemy. On screen prompts allow for special moves to be used, and these are kind of cool, but become repetitive rather quickly. A few more animations would not have gone astray. The enemy units are reasonably weak for the most part and do not put up much of a challenge. But they can get particularly annoying if your character is in the middle of placing bricks together to form a contraption of some sort, or need some space to activate a device. This is not so much of an issue when playing co-op with a friend, as one person can take on the enemy whilst the other completes the task at hand.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers retains the look of previous Lego titles, with Lego pieces mixing with colorful settings. There are quite a range of settings too, most are scenes straight out of the two Avengers movies. The variation in the scenes does allow the game to retain a certain amount of freshness throughout, despite the fact the that the combat is largely similar for the duration of the game. Each of the characters look great too, and many have more than one costume, which changes the way they play (for instance, the Steve Rogers character cannot access the Captain America shield). And each of the characters are well voiced. In fact, the audio in general is exemplary. From the moment the title sequence begins, the game does its best from an acoustic standpoint to place you in the Marvel world with the dramatic background score.
Being that the game is somewhat more dramatic, the comedy aspects that we've enjoyed from previous Lego titles have diminished a tad. Humor still exists, but with the emphasis being on combat, there are times that the comedy goes missing somewhat. It is mainly during the cut-scenes that the characters add some hilarity to the story (some of the laugh out loud aspects from the movies appear) and although the cut-scenes are a bit of fun, sadly, the in game humor just isn't there to the same degree as past titles.
Focus has changed
For me, the Lego games have been about solving puzzles as much as breaking bricks and then the combat has taken third place. In Lego Marvel’s Avengers, the developers have placed the focus squarely on combat then discovering the hidden special items through smashing bricks and puzzle solving holding up the rear. And although I did enjoy my journey through the Lego-themed scenes from the Avengers movies, I can say I didn't quite enjoy myself as much as I have in the past. The combat is rather tedious after awhile (even with the multitude of characters to play as) and the lack of the puzzle element does little to relieve that repetitive feeling. The audio does its best to place gamers in the Marvel world though, and if, like The Hulk, you like to smash things, then Lego Marvel’s Avengers will satisfy that urge.
Music and voice acting is superb. Heaps of characters to play
Combat is rather repetitive