Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review
Lego Marvel’s Avengers is the latest title from the seemingly unstoppable Lego series. Focusing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lego Marvel’s Avengers offers the familiar formula of brick breaking, action platforming, and puzzle solving gameplay. Throw in the typical light hearted humour and charm that Lego always brings to the table, and with a number of stages that recap the films, as well as large open world maps filled with collectibles to explore, Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a solid, if somewhat basic addition to the series.
The game’s storyline stages largely cover the events of Avengers, and Age of Ultron, with a brief flashback stage that recaps portions of the first Captain America film as well. Extra stages also take a brief look at Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: Winter Soldier. The events of each of these films are covered in Lego’s typically irreverent way, a light hearted, slightly parodic version of the source material that cheerfully downplays the darker elements while playing the comedy up. It’s unfortunate though that they focused so heavily on the Avengers films. Granted, it’s in the name of the game, but more stages based on the other films Marvel put out would have been nice. They missed 2 Iron Man films, 1 Incredible Hulk film, and 1 Thor film when it came to putting the stages together. An Ant Man stage DLC is apparently incoming, but it would have been truly fantastic to have some Guardians of the Galaxy content. Even if it they have little to do with the Avengers, the wackiness of that film would have been amazing with Lego’s brand of humour.
The focus on the Avengers films is a bit of a problem though. Unlike Lego Marvel Super Heroes, which had an amazing collection of stages and characters that covered most of the famed and iconic heroes and villains that Marvel have created over the years, Lego Marvel’s Avengers is positively dull in comparison. The stages based on the films just aren’t quite as fun as teaming up Captain America, Wolverine, Human Torch, and Spiderman, and then going to beat up Doctor Doom and Magneto and stopping their world conquering laser beam. The roster, despite being larger than the last Lego Marvel game, is a hell of a lot weaker. While it has nearly 200 characters, most of them are strictly D-Listers. The selection of characters is a combination of ones from the films – from dozens of variations of Iron Man, to minor and obscure film characters like Agent Sitwell or Beth the Waitress – as well as a vast array of Marvel characters, generally linked to the Avengers comics. Old school comic villains like the Grim Reaper, Korvac, and the Swordsman. A huge collection of lesser known heroes who have been part of the team over the past few decades like Sentry, Moondragon, Blue Marvel, among others – because honestly, most of the heroes in the Marvel Universe were members of the Avengers at some point – as well as more modern characters who featured in spin off Avengers comics like Wiccan, Hulkling, and Speed from Young Avengers, and Cloud 9, Trauma, and Finesse from Avengers Academy. Of course, the cinematic focus on the Avengers means no Spiderman, no Fantastic Four, no X-Men, and none of their associated characters. That’s a significant chunk of Marvel’s most memorable characters missing.
Gameplay wise, it is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Lego games. Breaking bricks, solving puzzles, action platforming and hunting down collectibles. The stages themselves are fun little set pieces recreating the events of the films, but aren’t always so co-op friendly, which is disappointing considering how great the Lego games are for two player action. In some stages, there are parts where it feels like one player is kicking their heels while the other is doing all the work. The most egregious example? Hulk vs Hulkbuster Iron Man in South Africa. One player controls Iron Man, and the other… Controls the satellite and does very little.
As always though, the stages only take up a small part of the overall game, with the post-game content being the larger and more rewarding part. Unlocking characters and abilities, and then replaying previous stages to hunt everything down, and exploring several open world locations to track down collectibles takes up most of the gameplay time. Aside from the huge Manhattan open world map, several smaller open world map locations have been created. Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion, Washington DC, SHIELD base, Sokovia, Asgard, Hawkeye’s Farm, and South Africa. While considerably smaller than Manhattan, they also offer a range of collectibles to find, and their addition is a good thing, considering Manhattan is more or less copy and pasted from Lego Marvel Super Heroes. There is one baffling design flaw though. The game has no proper map, just a tiny little radar like thing filled with colourful dots. Which, needless to say, can be a bit of a headache when navigating the huge Manhattan open world.
Presentation wise, Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a bit of a mixed bag. The game looks good, or as good as you can get from the charmingly blocky and simplistic Lego series. Although to be fair, the stage design is quite impressive, and I quite liked the Asgard open world location and the Dark World stage. The sound design is both simultaneously good, and bad. Good in that Lego brought back Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders to record a bunch of new and very funny lines for Agent Phil Coulson and Agent Maria Hill, and their narration is quite often brilliant. Case in point, one of the briefings she provides before a stage is a redone version of her hilariously awful Coulson dramatic death speech from the Avengers blooper reel (seriously Youtube it, it’s gold: “COULSOOOOON!! You were the greatest man I ever knew! You. Will Be. Avenged! I will get the Avengers, and we will avenge you! COULSOOON!!!!”) And for many minor characters and comic characters, they’ve got some decent, and often deliberately cheesy voice acting. However, for major characters like the Avengers themselves, Nick Fury, and Loki, a.k.a the big money actors, they just reuse and recycle voice clips from the films. The result is a little strange, and often doesn’t sound right. Which is the bad part of the sound design. The soundtrack seriously overuses Alan Silvestri’s Avengers theme though. Which, despite being an excellent theme song, one of the most iconic of recent years in fact, can get very jarring if listened to over and over for 30 odd hours of gameplay.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a solid addition to the Lego franchise, but disappointing in comparison to Lego Marvel Super Heroes. While it’s a fun recap of the Avengers films, the focus on those films also hamstrings the game creatively, with the stages and character roster being rather dull in comparison. While fans of both Lego and Marvel will still enjoy this, it’s not one Traveller’s Tales better works.
About: Simon Mawson
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