I’ll confess, I’ve never played a Lego game. Truth be told, it’s not really my cup of tea – why bother playing a version of a game that’s just made out of weird little blocks? But I got the chance to go and play the new Avengers Lego game, and have a chat to some of the devs, and you know what? They’ve got me, hook, line and sinker.
The first thing that struck me was just how much the people behind the game are dedicated to it. They’d set up this entire event for us, complete with fantastic mocktails and the cutest cupcakes I’d ever seen:
It was amazing getting to chat to developers, and realising just how much work they’d put into this. It’s not only including older characters and storylines that never made it out of the comics, it’s also working in the plots from the newest films. Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: Winter Soldier – you name it, it’s in there. It’s a really cool and diverse roster, with over a hundred playable characters who all add up as you unlock them along the way.
For me, this feels like a great way to entice new players into the genre. I, for example, only have a tiny interest in comics, and only know about the really mainstream ones. But a game like this not only pays homage to all the fans who have been around for years, but opens up opportunities for new fans to learn more about the lore and the characters. See a name you don’t recognise on the roster? Google ’em and find out who exactly they are. And who knows? From there, you might go and pick up their comics, and voila. A fan is born.
One more cool thing about the character roster is that you can slip between two of them at a time. In the brief scenes I played, I could swap between Black Widow and Hawkeye, and Thor and Captain America. Each character has their own playstyle, mode of attack, and special moves to interact with the environment, so using both of them is integral to getting past the level. Natasha, for example, had to operate some equipment that Hawkeye couldn’t, yet he had to use his arrows to swing them across to the next scene. Cap can use his shield to repel stuff, whereas Thor can charge his hammer to unleash bolts of electricity across the stage. It’s little things like this that make me excited to do the review.
Plus, I really liked that you aren’t confined to just the one city. You can go all the way to Asgard, or just Manhattan, if you’re not feeling adventurous. This game strikes me as one that wants to push the boundaries as far as they can go, all while sticking to its core theme, and most of all, making it enjoyable. It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it’s not trying to make itself uber gritty and serious. It’s fun for everyone, and that’s what’s important.
Though I didn’t manage to play too much of it (curse my lack of control know how), the one thing I really took away from this is the creativity it encourages. I remember reading somewhere that the whole point of Lego is to encourage children to build, to play, and to set spark to their imaginations, and that’s something I really took away from this preview. You don’t just proceed from A to B, you have to look around the level and work out which character can do what. You have to play with it, see what happens, and will inevitably be delighted at the results. And I for one can’t wait.
Lego Marvel Avengers is out now across the UK, and will be available for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Windows PC. Watch out for my review in the next week or so.