The LEGO Universe has been adapting different types of popular media over the years, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars and of course, the popular Batman series. On January 26th, the latest videogame in the LEGO universe, Marvel’s Avengers, made it’s debut. Don’t confuse this with the popular LEGO Superheroes, which came out a few years ago!
So how does this game measure up?
The game begins with the opening sequence from the Age of Ultron series and continues with the player invading the Hydra post in Sokova as the Avengers team. The game doesn’t solely follow the Ultron storyline. The game jumps back and forth with levels from The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The First Avenger Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World. This made it hard to concentrate on a real overarching plotline.
Understandably, TT Games was aiming for fanservice and including as much as they could, but it just felt disorganized. For example, Captain America is playable within the first arc of the game as his assumed position of leader. However, when the levels are unlocked, players are taken back to Steve Rogers past (and unkindly forced to watch Bucky Barns fall to his (originally perceived) death). Despite this, the company did incorporate the actual voice acting and music score from the six movies, which gave the game the edge it needed. Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, and Hayley Atwell all provided extra dialogue for the game as well. Their characters explain certain tasks and background information throughout the game, making it feel as though I was actually on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Much like previous LEGO games, gameplay is simple. You are dropped into a scenario (usually being able to switch between two to three characters) and must battle or solve your way through. Each character provides a unique ability to help solve certain problems within the game. Black Widow and Nick Fury are able to turn invisible and walk undetected by the S.H.I.E.L.D security cameras, whereas Agent Hill cannot. Captain America can use his shield to deflect oncoming targets while Bucky cannot. Players must use different characters to further themselves in the level. Like previous LEGO games, the combat takes about one or two moves in order to defeat (easy) enemies. Some characters have specialty moves, but they’re not really needed. The game also has a platform feel, with some levels having a more “open-world” concept – such as the LEGO version of New York City. The first time the city is encountered within the game, the player (as Captain America or Agent Coulson) must find the plane which will take them to the S.H.I.E.L.D base. The game does direct players where to go within the city, unless you accept a mission from Luke Cage. Within this mission, you must search the city to find runaways from Luke’s Heroes For Hire, which allows for you to explore LEGO New York a bit more and unlock Luke Cage at the end.
Additionally, there are over 200 playable characters that can be unlocked! This is especially interesting for me as it includes a plethora of different female characters, which would not have been included were they sticking strictly to the movies (which would be restricted to Agent Hill, Peggy Carter, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch). But within this universe, players are able to unlock characters that we have yet to see within the Marvel Cinematic Universe! You are able to unlock Squirrel Girl, Jewel (which is Jessica Jones’s ex-superhero persona) or Ms. Marvel, who have all been pretty successful in Marvel’s television show and comic books.
The most frustrating part of this game was having to restart multiple levels due to character glitches. Often, when I switched between characters in a given level, I would find one had ventured off too far and got stuck in areas where I could not retrieve them. If I was not able to save at a checkpoint within the level, I had to restart it in order to try and salvage my characters from getting themselves trapped in glitchy areas.
In the end, the fan service throughout the game is what really made it enjoyable for me. I feel as though the player’s love for the Marvel universe is what will dictate their enjoyment of the game. Once you move passed it’s little Marvel hooks (I’m looking at you Jessica Jones), then you can see how it fails to set itself apart from other LEGO games. Despite this, I found the game to be extremely entertaining as it was relatively easy and fun. Like every LEGO game, the humor and charm were actively immersed into each level. Pick up LEGO Marvel’s Avengers if you’re looking for a simple, all-ages game that gives you a good laugh while you’re kicking Hydra’s butt!