After delaying the release of Lego Marvel by a week, I’ve finally had a chance to sink my teeth into it by now. Although I’ve not been able to play my new console much, I’ve tried to share my time as much as possible between the titles I have. The Lego games always excite me, and this is no exception, and for me, this game has taken a huge step in the right direction. Something that affected the early Lego games was the lack of difference between some characters, and the lack of an open world; with both issues being addressed majorly in this addition to the franchise.
Firstly, the open world. Wow, Marvel’s Manhattan is brilliant. I love being able to view such an iconic city with a Lego perspective and the ability to go up to the SHIELD Helicarrier was a needed addition. Such an iconic vehicle in the films needed to be translated onto the gaming screen, and it’s been done well. It serves as the main hub for your operations, where you’ll be able to replay missions you’ve already done and track character unlocks and vehicles. The hub up to this point has served in the Lego franchise as the go-to-point, but this time around they’ve changed it so that you can find specific points to spawn vehicles, spawn to the helicarrier or change character if you are presently standing by a character specific unlock (Cap’s shield, or a Hulk/The Thing point). The ability to see Gold bricks and character studs on the minimap is a feature I really like – I have struggled in the past to get the last few percent of the Lego games where I cannot find a specific gold brick or task. However, I’m yet to see whether this will take a big chunk of hours away from the overall gameplay. Lego Harry Potter experiments with the feature of having to travel around the map to start the next level, but this in my opinion is the first time it has been such a huge feature. For example, Iron Man and Hulk have to go across the lake to Raft, or having to journey to Oscorp with Black Widow and Hawkeye after skydiving from the Helicarrier. The open world is where you find the side missions, such as returning a pet monkey to the circus for a gold brick, or stop the Red Hulk with a big character to unlock that stud, which keeps with the last few additions, meaning you don’t have to worry about the usual conundrum of, “will I have time to finish off this level?”. However, this is less of an issue than before, due to the ‘saving computers’ that are spread throughout the levels. I’ve not really used these yet, probably because I’m too used to not having this feature present in so many of the previous games. The levels certainly seem longer to me – how much of this is due to having to walk/fly/run/jump your way from level to level is yet to be seen.
Next, they’ve addressed the individuality of each character. The Lego series has always attempted to bring a tiny bit of uniqueness to characters, but there’s never really been that much – there’s the few obvious things, such as only Ron could use Scabbers in tubes for Lego Harry Potter, or Hermione/Fang to dig objects in levels, each character now, however, has a wider range of unique abilities. Sure, in the regard mentioned above, only Iron Man can blow up gold statues or only Cap can activate the Shield points, but they also fight and act totally separately now. Mr Fantastic is the best example of this. His fighting style is brilliant, with the fluid shape-shifting ability being essential to this, punching and kicking as he weaves into different shapes to beat back the bad guys. Each character moves uniquely, fights uniquely and, best of all, looks quite unique. Obviously there is still the same basic Lego model, but at last we see different heights, highlighted by Hulk, or the movement of Tony Stark/Iron Man, such as his flight or the way he lifts his helmet up and down to reveal his face.
The game keeps it’s continuity to both the Lego universe and the marvel universe well. The best example of this is the “Citizen in Peril/Student in Peril”, that the games always include, being done as a “Stan Lee in Peril”, with 50 Stan Lee’s scattered throughout the world, all of whom you need to save. The wide variety of characters in both the Marvel world and the Lego games also occurs – there are a whopping 150 characters to unlock BEFORE downloaded content even comes in as a factor. What I found with Harry Potter games were that they began to run out of ideas for characters; almost as if they needed to reach a particular number and just added anything they thought up. I understand there would be multiple Harrys etc, but including a milkman, “wizard green/blue etc”, “Vocalist/Drummer/Bassist” was just unneeded. The only slight instance of this in Lego Marvel is the two Mandarin versions – one comic, one film. There was a huge, huge difference between the Comic version and the Film version, which was just ridiculous, but that’s an argument that I’ll save for another day.
Developer – TT Games
Publisher – Warner Bros. Interactive
Genre – Action/Adventure
Players – Single player / Co-op
Click below to check out the boss fight of Mandarin I recorded, where Mandarin is in the Hulkbuster Iron Man Suit: