LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
OUT NOW PC, PS3, PS4, 3DS, XBOX ONE, XBOX 360, Wii U
ANOTHER YEAR, another clutch of block-busting LEGO adventures, the latest returning to the Marvel universe in a follow-up to 2013’s LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Rather than spinning its own brick-laden yarn, however, LEGO Marvel’s Avngers retreads the storylines of both of Joss Whedon’s Avengers movies — making liberal use of the films’ dialogue in the process. As you might expect, the focus is on keeping things lighthearted and digestible, but there’s no shortage of content here, with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man 3 all slotted in as part of the game’s extended universe. With a supporting cast that numbers into the hundreds, pretty much everyone you can think of gets a turn this time around.
The game’s semi-open world provides a playground for trying out the characters’ new abilities, such as the Hulk’s devastating new hyper jumps — which allow him to leap high and land on top of enemies, ouch — or Iron Man’s natty Hulkbuster Armor, as seen in Age Of Ultron. Newcomers also add some interesting quirks, such as Fin Fang Foom’s penchant for growing to enormous sizes and crushing enemies underfoot. There’s a noticeable emphasis on bigger, more fantastic heroes this time, and the gameplay’s all the better for it.
Double-team moves spice up the buttonmashing combat, with heroes working together in unique ways to create devastating combos. Want to have Hulk use Iron Man as a human-sized baton, or have Thor electrify Captain America’s shield to give enemies a shocking surprise? Not a problem. These combo cocktails are a high point in scuffles but also a source of irritation. Finicky positioning means they don’t always connect, and it’s tough to stay in the right place with hordes of enemies swarming all over you.
With its menu of situational puzzles and smashing/rebuilding brick-based architecture, the game sticks faithfully to the tried-and-tested LEGO playbook, but that’s hardly a surprise given the franchise’s popularity. Besides, there’s so much content here that it’s hard to find too much fault with cleaving to a winning formula, especially with the glut of new characters and abilities on offer. If you’ve not warmed to the LEGO series’ charms then LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is unlikely to change that, but for stalwart block-heads or those looking for some Avengersthemed comfort food, this is a pleasing mix of action, humour and chunky, colourful bricks.