Lego Marvel’s Avengers is the latest instalment in the Lego franchise by TT Games and this time follows the cinematic universe Marvel have crafted over the last few years. With Lego Marvel Superheroes still standing as one of the better Lego games the question to ask is whether there is a need for this new instalment.
As with all Lego games the basics are still in place here. As an action game you are tasked with battling your way through levels, solving simplistic puzzles and building Lego structures. You control the movie characters and are able to switch between them at will, with each character having different skills. Iron Man can fly, Black Widow can go invisible, Captain America has his shield. The puzzles on offer are never more than finding the right character to use their special move on a switch. As with the other games you have infinite lives and death is only punished with the loss of your Lego stud collection.
Levels are based around a sizeable selection of films Marvel has created, and if you’ve watched the movies on offer then you’ll recognise the levels used. What is good here is the way in which they have interwoven various movies together. The game first level starts off with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but then later levels use flashbacks to give you scenes from Captain America: The First Avenger as well as well as the first Avengers movie. It’s all handled really well, and shows the strengths of the detailed narrative at play within the Marvel movies in the way the stories are all linked together. Make no mistake though, if you’ve only seen one of two Marvel movies the plot may leave you wondering what the hell is going on as it does cover an awful lot of ground.
Structurally this game doesn’t have one overarching hub world, like New York City from Lego Marvel Superheroes, and instead uses three separate hubs. To travel between these hubs you need to exit to a menu and fly a spaceship to where you want to go. What this results in is a huge change to the way you will enjoy and explore this game, making it feel much more segmented and less accessible than Superheroes. These issues do dissipate somewhat once you’ve finished the tightly scripted story mode though, and are finally given free choice where to explore.
Graphically things look really well with levels displaying a level of fidelity to the movies which help you easily identity what you are playing. The playable characters are also identifiable from the movies carrying their specific costume designs and weapons. The game boasts a fully authentic voice cast with the dialogue taken straight from the movies. Whilst the bigger stars haven’t recorded any additional dialogue you get additional lines from the actors behind Phil Coulson and Peggy Carter. The use of the original actors does give the game a very authentic feel and all the best lines from the movies are present here. There are occasions though where the lines spoken seem out of place in the game, probably as a result of being taken directly from the movies rather than tailored for the game. Overall the use of movie dialogue here does help the game providing that extra level of immersion.
Another difference from the previous Lego Marvel game is the combat. Instead of just button mashing your way through you are now prompted to press a button to enact a special finishing move. Normally this is the kind of thing you’d use in a boss fight, but here you can chose to do it to every bad guy you fight. Whilst nominally a good idea this soon wears thin, particularly due to the fact that each finishing move can take seconds to complete and just works to slow down the flow of the game. Also the game makes some odd choices over level design when playing in two player mode. There are certain scenes in the movies where it’s very much one Superhero working alone. In order to show this in the game the second player is often given a simple task to complete in a very small location. This means that whilst one player is busy solving puzzles and fighting enemies, the second player could be left just flying in a circle with nothing to do. As a way of engaging a second player this is terrible design.
At the end this is still very much like any Lego game you’ll know. The simplistic puzzles, often poor level design, wealth of collectibles and humour are all present. The source material here makes the game both more immersive if you like the movies, but also harder to engage with if you haven’t seen the movies. This is certainly different enough from the Lego Marvel Superheroes, and I did enjoy my time here, however if you aren’t a fan of the movies your enjoyment is likely to be hampered.