I’ve never played a LEGO game before last week when I received my review code for LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2, developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Warner Bros. That’s not to say I was never interested in LEGO games, but they simply slipped past my radar. As a self-proclaimed Marvel fanboy, I was excited to play Marvel Superheroes 2 to death, and the game didn’t disappoint.
Right at the start of the game, I heard the theme song play and instantly fell in love as Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” played while the Guardians of the Galaxy team flew towards a massive, sword-shaped spaceship in all its LEGO glory.
Warning: This review contains some early story spoilers
The Marvel magic is real
The game’s story revolves around Kang the Conqueror, who is on a quest to basically dominate everything in the universe. Interestingly enough, the game’s story was co-written by none other than comic book veteran writer Kurt Busiek, who wrote the 2001 “Kang Dynasty” story arc in the Avengers series.
That alone should put Marvel fans’ minds at rest. Well, that and the fact that I found the game’s story extremely compelling. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for the time-travel theme and the game’s story revolves around just that. Kang the Conqueror can manipulate time and just about every hero in the Marvel universe needs band together to take him on because he is called Kang the Conqueror, not Kang the peaceful.
After a brief introduction where you battle a Celestial with Star-Lord, Groot, Drax and Gamora, you head to earth where you meet the Avengers and a tonne of other Marvel superheroes. As you stop some strange occurrences in the world as the Avengers and visit some cool locations such as a snow-covered research facility in Syberia to an underwater oil rig, something unimaginable happens.
The whole of Manhattan is transported to Chronopolis, Kang’s city outside of time. Chronopolis isn’t like anything else I have ever seen in a game before, with areas from different timelines, for example, Medieval England, Noire Manhattan, Wakanda from which Black Panther originates Egypt and Thor’s Asgard and just so much more, there is an absolute truckload of content. Each and every environment looks so unique and beautifully crafted, that progressing through the story was always a joy.
The number of characters you meet, both superheroes and villains, is a bit daunting at times. Actually, the game has an overwhelming number of characters weighing in at 236 unlockable, some of which are just iterations of one another, for example, little Groot and normal sized Groot, or Captain Marvel without her mask.
As the story progresses, it got more and more intriguing as to how it all comes together with all these different characters from different timelines. One of my favourite areas was Wakanda, Black Panther’s home where you have to track down villain Claw, then onto the Hydra Lair with a massive airship and onto a saloon in the Wild West.
Although sometimes a bit confusing, it is still a wonderfully crafted story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the final epic battle. One of the things I loved the most throughout the story was that Marvel comic relief and the LEGO theme makes some comedic moments even more hilarious.
Unfortunately, I did feel as if some of the bits weren’t as well timed, but then again there were moments that I will never forget, for example, Thor saying things like “by Odin’s gristly chest hair” are really well timed and made me chuckle quite a lot.
The game’s story is non-linear and gives players options to choose what to do first, or if they would rather go off and stop some standard crime things happening across Chronopolis. The game ticks all the boxes and even has an amazing musical score, looks spectacular and has no noticeable FPS drops.
Overflowing with cogs and content
After you complete the story mode on each of the stages, a free roam mode unlocks and you can go back to perform various activities, like saving Stan Lee over and over again (you need to have a specific hero in your roster to do so), fight random crime, go on side quests and much more.
The carrot on the stick for players here is that you can collect cogs so you can purchase pink bricks with cogs, which unlock various cool things like big head mode, or useful additions like double cogs, a Stan Lee detector or the passive ability to pull cogs in the area towards you.
Your base of operations is the Avengers Mansion, where you can purchase all these things, chat to Nick Fury over a screen and even jump on beds or smash things to bits to collect even more cogs.
Smashing things and seeing the LEGO parts fly into the air never gets old and it is extremely addictive, so fair warning. Not to mention that there are also some battle modes, where you can play against you’re your friends in battle arenas and challenges. These modes add even more to the already content-filled experience.
As I mentioned earlier, the game has a massive number of characters you can unlock and play with. Each of these characters has different, useful skills that you will learn throughout the campaign.
Thor can obviously fly and he has some great powers to work with, for example, he can charge up his hammer to power electrical objects. Captain America can throw his shield to hit buttons and open doors. Every character is useful in some way or another and you need to use all their abilities to basically solve environment puzzles along the way.
Iron Man can weld things back together and repair structures that you can use progress throughout the levels. These superheroes can also create combo moves, for example, She-Hulk can get boosted up by Captain America's shield and jump much higher for a Hulk smash moment.
Captain Marvel can use her energy shield to get past lasers, while Mrs Marvel smashes things to pieces with her giant arm. Dr Strange has to be my favourite of the bunch, as he can manipulate time and space, changing the timeline of objects. Even so, you have to basically turn the left stick really fast and that gets pretty frustrating sometimes.
Speaking about frustration, some of the sequences just aren’t done that well and left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. One example is where Spiderman and Spider-Girl chase Green Goblin through the city, but it is probably one of the worst sequences I have ever played, as using webs and just swinging to the next point is extremely infuriating with some bad camera angles.
At rare times, the game’s insistence on trying to be funny all the time, for example, Spider-Man saying something along the lines of “I told you all that cold weather gear would pay off someday”, yes, it is snowing, we get it, stop repeating that same line. This issue reared its head quite a few times during missions, but I found it easy to ignore and enjoy the gameplay further.
Then, there is also a camera angle issue that had me frustrated. At some points during the game, having less freedom to rotate my camera as I saw fit resulted in some less-than-ideal situations and I also really disliked some characters. With massive character roster, the game can feel a little unfocused at times and it felt like environmental puzzles and using specific character skills all the time during a mission was a bit too overused.
Even so, there are much more good moments than there are bad ones and when I think back at my time with the game I smile and feel satisfied with the overall experience. Things like summoning a horse carriage with Rocket to drive through 2099 Manhattan, or smashing things to pieces with She-Hulk, listening to the quirky remarks of various famous characters and all the comic relief outshines any issues I had with the game.
You can customize superheroes to no end, try to rescue every Stan-Lee in the game or see how big of a traffic jam you can create. The fun simply doesn’t end. Even after completing the main story, I found myself going back to unlock more things, smash everything I can find into LEGO bits or just mess around in the massive open city of Chronopolis.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is an exceptionally fun game to play and even though it falters in some minor aspects, like a few badly timed jokes and annoying camera angles, the game kept me playing for over 25 hours.
I enjoyed most of my time with the game and although the character roster felt overwhelming at times, the sheer amount of content, addictive gameplay and compelling story is something every Marvel fan should enjoy. As I mentioned at the start of this review, LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is the first LEGO game I have ever played.
I loved the experience and smashing everything I could find to bits, but I do realize that the LEGO theme’s novelty might wear off for some who have played each and every LEGO game before this one. Even so, LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is without a doubt a great game with a tonne of content, so it is well worth the asking price. In the words of Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love song, “Hey (hey) What's the matter with your head?” go and grab the game right now.
This review was based off a review key provided to us by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch | Reviewed