Makes you wonder why they hadn’t made this type of game sooner
Disclaimer: I originally received this game as a birthday gift
As the Silver Surfer, Herald of Galactus and bestowed with the Power Cosmic, approaches planet Earth, he is subdued by Dr. Doom and his surfboard broken into several cosmic bricks. The supervillain then plans to use these to conquer the world with a little help from Abomination, Loki, Venom, and of course, his invention: Dr. Doom’s Doomray of Doom.
LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes (October 2013) is not only LEGO’s and Traveller’s Tales second sandbox game (the first being LEGO City Undercover, March 2013), no, it is also whole lot of fun play while not straying from the LEGO formula. In the fashion of previous titles, players go through 15 different levels where they take on the roll of various Marvel Comics superheroes to try to save the day. Sadly, as with its predecessors, players are required to know the characters as well as the lore behind them beforehand to understand their motivations. In this particular case, it might therefore be advisable to have either read the comics or watched several of the Marvel-based superhero motion pictures starting with X-Men (2000) down to Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), as this production references a lot of them, be they by Sony, 20th Century Fox, or Marvel Studios themselves.
Gameplay and Controls
Of course, as this is by LEGO, family friendliness is at its core. Any violent scenes from the movies has been toned down and MARVEL Super Heroes even features two save slots, so that siblings can share one copy. Furthermore, a second player can join or leave a session at any point, given that they are in the same room as the first player. This title only supports local but not online multiplayer. With that in mind, even though it is possible to use a keyboard, the game heavily relies on the usage of an analog stick to maneuver and should definitely be played with a controller, preferably an Xbox 360 one.
Speaking of controls, they can be a bit of a hassle. Like other sandbox games, this production includes a slurry of activities alongside the main story. Players can engage in car or flying races, obstacle courses, or simple fetch quests, giving the game around 35-40 hours of content. Unfortunately, while most of the stuff is a lot of fun, the controls get in the way of some of the side activities. The remote controlled car challenge on a rooftop in the Lower East Side, for example, can take up to an hour to complete and is very frustrating to get through1. There, the camera will assume a top-down position and the vehicle will be controlled like a real RC, which means that going left or right are dependant on where the car is facing, which gets confusing quickly. Another downside is this game’s inconsistent sign posting. For example, when players want to find the gold brick hidden around the Empire State University campus, they are initially given a trail of gold coins to follow, which then mysteriously ends with no other obvious clues given. Hadn’t it been for a YouTube video, I might not have figured out how to find the brick2.
Finishing these side quests or replaying previously visited stages, of course, rewards one with new playable characters. And there are a lot of big names to choose from with 132 Marvel Comics heroes, villains, as well as side characters in the base game, and an additional 16 DLC characters spread out over two packs. So, it’s highly likely that one’s favorite is hiding amongst them somewhere. Sadly, not all of them are equally well-designed, with some, like Gwen Stacey or Aunt May, left without any special abilities at all. It would’ve been nice if the developers had given them unique side missions, or abilities like lock picking, or anything, really to justify picking them up. Even something as outlandish as Lex Luthor’s Warsuit (yeah, I know that that’s DC) would have been fine.
Performance and Bugs
By and large the game should run pretty smoothly on older computers, like the 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium desktop PC with an Intel Core 2 CPU, 3070 MB RAM, DirectX 11, and a GeForce 9500 GT graphics card that I used. There, it fluctuates between 20-30 fps (frames per second) with everything set to high, so parents shouldn’t be worried about that. However, a couple of minor bugs might pop up here and there.
Occasionally, when swapping out heroes, the game would get stuck in the switch animation and then transform every playable character into a random citizen, while at other times, I had Jean Grey get stuck between two floors while free roaming through New York. The truly disturbing bugs though, popped up during boss battles:
During the boss fight in stage 6: Red Head Detention, Captain America is expected to use his shield to approach the bad guy, but when he did do so during the freeplay of the level, nothing happened. At that point, I had unlocked the classic outfit for Captain America, but the game wouldn’t let me progress unless I used the default costume. Then, during the story playthrough of stage 14: A Doom With a View, The Thing stood in the top left corner of the arena when a Doombot (V-Series) ran towards it. The bot got stuck and The Thing was too large to walk past it, so the boss fight could not continue. When these bugs showed up, the only way to continue was to turn the game off and on again in order to continue playing.
Overall, even though it still carries over some of the bad controls from previous titles, LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes is one of the best LEGO games out there. The story is filled with comedy and everything simply looks adorable. However, like its predecessors, the game sometimes has a hard time communicating what it wants players to do, or just straight up forgets to tell them. Despite that, the amount of fun that’s to be had easily makes up for that and the unlockable content is also a nice addition.
LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes is available as digital download on Steam for $4.99 USD or your local equivalent, or in retail for Windows (requires Steam for activation) for $7.99 USD, for the Wii U and PlayStation 4 for $19.99 USD, or for the Xbox One for $22.99 USD. Its sister game, LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is available for Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PlayStation Vita for $19.99 USD.
Hey there, pretty face
Thank you for reading my article. If you like, please do feel free to leave a comment. There’s no need to register or login. You can also follow my reviews on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/8839524-Gaos-Corner/ In any case, all screenshots shown here were taken by me during my playthrough. Stay positive and have a nice day.
LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes gets 8 LEGO sets out of 10 creative structures
- Punx_R_Alive, Lego Marvel Superhero RC Car Race Golden Brick Tip, YouTube, Alphabet Inc., posted 2014, August 09, accessed 2017, June 28, retrieved from https://youtu.be/au4lqadkyX8
- packattack04082, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Empire State University Dig Quest Gold Brick (Upper East Side), YouTube, Alphabet Inc., posted 2013, October 10, accessed 2017, June 28, retrieved from https://youtu.be/hd0ibEHD9-g</a