Marvelous bricks are back, again.
As I sit here, ready to write about the latest LEGO game from Travellers Tales, I am wondering how many more times I can do this. Despite the constantly chuckle-inducing brick-based humour, the joy of smashing things to pieces and collecting little LEGO studs, and the referencing to so many great licenses, there have been so many LEGO games and they are all so very similar. I think I may be suffering from LEGO fatigue.
But the latest entry in the series is LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. With a cast of well over 100 well known, and not so well known, super heroes, and the content rich Marvel Cinematic Universe to draw on for reference, this could well be the caffeine-like antidote to any self-inflicted LEGO illness.
There is no escaping the fact that anyone who has played any of the previous LEGO games from Travellers Tales will find themselves on familiar ground with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. It is a formula that has only been merely tweaked over the many years that these games have been churned out. Different characters have different abilities that are needed to solve simple puzzles and access new areas, most things can be smashed to pieces in order to collect little studs, and there are plenty of enemies to beat up along the way. Collectibles are numerous, and the game encourages more than one playthrough simply to collect and use multiple different characters that can be unlocked. It is a simple formula that is designed to engage both kids and adults.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers follows the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dipping into the two Avengers movies, the two Captain America movies, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Not all of the movies are given equal treatment, but the pleasing pace found in the game ensures that the action never lets up.
And neither does the humour. Marvel’s Avengers sticks much more closely to the movies than perhaps previous LEGO titles, limiting the opportunity for big, laugh out loud scenes. But there is still plenty of little giggle moments to enjoy throughout, poking fun at some of the world’s most popular super heroes. Of course, much of the humour is designed for the fans of the movies or the characters, and as always the fan service is impeccable. Still, the younger players will find an abundance of slapstick comedy that will please them.
Visually, the game looks incredible. From the individual heroes that have faithfully been recreated as little LEGO characters, to the environments that are faithful to the movies, and the various different hubs that the player works from through the game, the developers have really honed the style over the years, and Marvel’s Avengers is very likely the best looking LEGO game so far.
The same cannot be said for the audio, however. The soundtrack is as great as you would expect, but the voicework gets a little bit flaky when part is lifted directly from the movies, and the rest is recorded for purpose. Jumping from one to the other is far from smooth, and a noticable difference in quality is obvious.
The combat in Marvel’s Avengers has also been tweaked to include finishing moves and team up attacks. While teaming one hero with another to perform a special move is great fun to both watch and execute, the finishing moves, in which the player has to hit a button to perform an animated move, gets tiresome after a while and serves only to drag out the usually quick combat. With the huge numbers of enemies that the player will be smashing their way through in the game, this is quite a big deal.
There are some other issues with the game. Sometimes it can be unclear as to what the player does next to progress, and some of the puzzles are unusually difficult for a family-targeted game. There are a couple of mini-games that are just annoying, and some of the iconic boss battles can feel surprisingly hands-off.
But hey, It’s a LEGO game and the target audience will lap it up no matter what. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers still follows the familiar formula and doesn’t quite offer the antidote to LEGO fatigue. But despite the familiarity and the various issues with the game, it still manages to be great fun, and is absolutely packed with content and collectibles. If you have played any LEGO game before, you know what to expect, and you know what you want.