We’ve seen a few Hobbits on a journey, an adventurer named Indy, a battle between Jedi and Sith lords and Gotham city’s finest crime fighters. I am of course on about the plethora of LEGO video game offerings over the past few years. Now it’s time for the Marvel Universe to get in on the action for the newest and first LEGO based Xbox One (also available on 360) game, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.
During a routine surf to Earth to announce the imminent arrival of Galactus, the Silver Surver is attacked by Doctor Doom. Subsequently his surfboard is smashed to pieces and these are spread out across the Marvel world, the pieces are known as Cosmic Bricks. Should these fall into the wrong hands then evil plans will come to fruition, that’s why Doctor Doom and the cunning Loki have got together to assemble the ultimate villain team to do their bidding. Led by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, the scene is set for Earth’s mightiest heroes to unite to prevent the threat
I have to be honest; despite playing most of the LEGO games and enjoying their natural charm, not many of them could keep my interest for long. That all flew from my mind and was forgotten as the mighty Hulk and a cocky Iron Man are thrown together in the opening mission to secure a Cosmic Brick from Sandman and Abomination. Basically a tutorial (and an introduction to the man that will be in your ear giving orders, Agent Coulson) to get you up to speed with things like character switching, interacting with objects and what the new extra large characters can bring to the table.
Each main story based mission seems to follow the path of destroying minions, creating havoc, solving a few puzzles before facing off again a boss or two. Although that may sound like the levels may suffer from repetition, fortunately the freshness is added via different characters, nifty problem solving, a change of scenery (get ready for Asgard, Stark Tower or Prof X’s School for Gifted Youngsters) and a decent script.
The boss battles turn into rather simple puzzles once you figure out how to cause your first bit of damage and then you rinse and repeat. It’s refreshing to also have a set of puzzling challenges to progress throughout a level as well that don’t melt your brain, they are merely just teasers. These won’t take long to figure out but it changes things up from just smashing LEGO pieces and exploring every last inch of an area.
Exploration is a large feature, especially if you want collectibles or just a whole lot of studs which is the game’s currency. Anything that can be broken, even evil mini-figs, can give out a varied amounts of studs to then use to purchase unlocked characters and helpful add-ons such as Studs x 2. Every little helps, which is why you will feel it’s necessary to punch/kick/shoot all things in sight to earn that extra few hundred.
Aside from the story, you’ll be placed on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier as a form of home base to create a custom character, choose a mission to replay or spend studs. You can design your own mini-fig to use in-game; mine personally had Human Torch’s hair, an angry looking face and clothes of the Sandman and Mandarin. Possibly the best customiser I’ve seen in LEGO as it can combine super powers too, meaning I could flame the place whilst using Mandarin’s ring power.
The best is yet to come though as when you jump off the Helicarrier you’ll find the huge New York City free-roam area. Meaning in between official missions you can wander around doing side-missions for someone like The Punisher or helping a local circus guy find his monkey. This has been my favourite part as it is full of things to do that may need different characters to pull it off. Luckily it couldn’t be easier to switch from Wolverine to Iron Man, a hold of Y then choose anyone you’ve unlocked.
There are 250 Gold Bricks to earn and although you can get them for completing story chapters, the majority are from the NYC sandbox. The map automatically shows an icon for them if you happen to wander nearby one, so the difficult part is figuring out what you have to do to earn it. One of the coolest so far was a robot wars style remote control car battle in an underground car park, just simple and straightforward fun.
Secondary collectibles to those are the Deadpool Red Bricks that come from additional missions that attempt to make use of a few heroes whom you might not have had the pleasure of using yet. Cleaning up JJ’s office as Coulson and Doc Ock is something you can never dream of occurring but you just go along with the witty banter and madness. It’s worth noting that Deadpool is toned down a lot from his usual antics, so don’t worry any concerned parents, your children are safe in the hands of LEGO.
The man, the legend, Mr Stan Lee (one of the most famous creators in the Marvel world) has upped his cameo role to being a regular damsel in distress. Either he is extremely clumsy or someone has cloned him, whichever it is you will have to rescue him from danger fifty times then he’ll be in your character arsenal.
Speaking of the characters, they have pushed the boat out for a massive roster of over 120 heroes and villains. These all have different special abilities too, even the costume changes of Iron Man MK 8 to Iron Man MK 42 offers you other abilities which is a fantastic effort from LEGO. Just seeing the lesser known Beetle or H.E.R.B.I.E. is enough for me to believe the more knowledgeable fan will revel in the unlockables but there’s familiarity for anyone to get pulled into it for a jolly good time with Iron Man, Spidey, Captain America and co.
Let me summarise, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has been super-sized in its array of talent on show and the replayability factor where the second time round you can use a character that might open up a secret room. There’s always more to do and if you have a friend nearby then it’s all locally co-operative. I haven’t said much about the larger mini-figs but I can assure you they add a new dimension for destruction. If you fancy getting 100% completion, be prepared for a long haul, I mean that in a good way, you will get every pennies worth. It’s ideal for a younger audience but there’s enough humour to go around for all ages.