Title: Lego Marvel Avengers
Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed on), PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Mac and Windows PC.
Price: These are all on GAME’s website, so the instore prices will probably vary:
PS4/Xbone – £44.99, Wii U – £32.85, PS3/Xbox 360 – £34.99, PS Vita/3DS – £24.99, PC – £24.99 if you’re buying on Steam.
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Developer: TT Fusion, TT Games.
Release date: Out now
Family Focus: Click here to read more.
Verdict: Buy it for your seven year old or your die hard comic book fan. The rest? Steer clear.
I’m not a LEGO person, and I’m not a Marvel person. I find superheroes too over the top for my tastes, and LEGO games always struck me as a bit pointless. If I have the real version of the game, why do I need a plastic one? But I was determined to give this one a try and broaden my gaming experience a little, and I’ve learned two things. One is that maybe the Avengers movies aren’t as boring as I thought, and two, I still really, really, don’t like LEGO games.
LEGO Marvel Avengers, if nothing else, is a visual delight. There’s a lot of dedication to meticulously recreating the scenes from the movies, and the characters, despite being little LEGO people, are all easily told apart, with their own quirky features. The stages have a lot of ambience to them, whether it’s lighting or set pieces – this is not a visually disappointing game. Even down to the textures, it’s very obviously impressive – Loki’s cloak actually looks like it’s made out of rumpled fabric, rather than plastic, which is a pretty mean feat for a Lego world.
The gameplay on the other hand…I was a little perturbed that I constantly ran into the problem of not knowing what the hell I was doing, in a game very clearly and explicitly meant for small children. There’s no map or objective marker, which I suppose would take a lot of fun out of the game when the stages are so small and linear, but there has to be some give and take. Instead, you get little pictograms at the top of the screen, showing the images of what you’re supposed to be interacting with, and that’s it. The problem is, that’s about as clear as paint.
Half the time, you’re so overwhelmed by mooks, it’s nigh impossible to concentrate on what you’re doing. Others, the objective is in a weird spot or out of eye line, so you’re running around like an idiot for half an hour, and don’t even get me started on building things out of LEGO blocks. It was a cute idea for the first hour, but most of the time I was playing, I couldn’t tell them apart from other debris littered around the stage, and the rest of it was frantically mashing the circle button to get them to fit together. For some reason or another, standing next to the hopping bricks isn’t enough; you have to be in exactly the right spot, or nothing will happen.
Then when it comes to the environments, it’s another level of frustration. Although the help bits are useful, most of the time, the command prompts aren’t what they seem. Square flashes up. Do I hold it down? Tap it fast? Press it according to the pulse on the screen? And then the QTE has gone on for ten minutes and I’m bored, since there’s no pattern to it. And while there’s objective markers at the start, and presumably in the free roam mode, it just serves to drag the main storyline out, and to be honest, there’s not a lot of it.
I finished the plot to the first Avengers movie in just over four hours, and then you have the optional missions, so if I’m right, that’s only about eight hours of plot. And I know that there’s a ton of extra side missions, places to explore, and characters to unlock, I really don’t think a game’s selling point should be “oh but there’s tons of side quests after the game!” They won’t link with the main plot, they’re just collectables, which I don’t think is worth paying fifty quid for. And yes, while I’m aware there’s a lot of variety with characters and special moves (you can unlock free roam after you clear levels, so you can go back for the collectables), the fun is taken away when you’re throwing arrows at everything and having to Google what to do next.
As for the plot, the phrase “what’s the point?” really comes to mind. All you’re doing is rehashing the movies, in a linear setting. The plot of the films remains unchanged, with maybe a few things changed, like Loki being hit with a loaf of bread instead of a weapon, to make sure it doesn’t get too dark for the kids. If I wanted to watch the movies, I would have watched the movies. And in all honesty, it’s a bit of a weird subject, for a kid’s game. I know superheroes are primarily seen as things for kids, but there’s a lot of fairly dark subject matter in the movies, that’s just glossed over and presented with lolrandom humour. But overall, apart from finally learning what the first Avengers movie was actually about, it didn’t interest me in the slightest. If the game had taken place within that universe, with its own plot, I might have been more keen and not felt I was watching the 7+ version of the Avengers.
But more than that, the plot just feels tacked on. There’s a weird thing where any of the lines spoken have the background music faded out, with the quote layered over the top. It’s almost like when you press a button on an action figure, and it spouts out its programmed line. The narrative is loosely strung together with no real chance of player interaction, with QTE’s for boss fights. It feels more than a little depressing.
And this is where my realisation that I am really not the target audience for this game comes in.
This is by no means a bad game – it’s cute and funny, chock full of LEGO. But unless you’re a die hard comic book fan, one of those gamers who obsesses over collectables, or a seven year old, this game really won’t appeal.
- Impressive use of textures.
- Voice acting from the film cast.
- Plenty of gameplay variety.
- Very linear levels.
- Lack of objective or quest marker.
- Frustrating QTE triggers.
This is a great game for children of all ages, especially those who love superheroes. Buy it for anyone and everyone.
Thank you to the developers TellTale and publishers Warner Bros. for providing GGS with a review copy of the game!