by: Anthony Zangrillo
Finally, the Marvel Cinematic Universe receives the Lego video game treatment. The pint-sized parody model adheres strictly to the plot of both Avengers films, while including some memorable moments from the other Marvel films. Building and smashing bricks are just as fun as previous titles, yet some of the puzzles may frustrate younger players, due to a lack of easy to follow instructions. Furthermore, merely duplicating the story of popular movies may disappoint some gamers, yet TT Games sufficiently adds a great deal of creative elements to warrant this derivative work.
As a kid, almost every popular movie would receive a video game tie-in. Many times these licensed affairs were shallow and disappointing. In the modern game era, movies rarely receive the formal video game treatment, thanks in large part to third party brands incorporating the intellectual property into their already successful game engines and styles. TT Games and Lego have paid homage to countless entertainment properties including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic World, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. In addition, Lego has tackled original stories through the Batman series and the previous Marvel Super Heroes entry.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers successfully captures the award-winning, wacky Lego spirit, yet limiting the content to familiar movies make certain levels feel like a chore, rather than an exciting endeavor. Even more frustrating, the game often delivers images of goals rather than explaining how to complete missions. While helpful Avengers symbols act as a tutorial, I found myself resorting to these tips too often.
The visual presentation is great. Every monumental scene is given a new flavor transcending the original film in a comical tone. However, it feels that game sometimes rushes through the stand-alone films. In fact, too much time is spent in the two Avengers focused films. At first, actual dialogue from the film is seamlessly blended into the Lego scenes. Yet as the game progresses, the fact that only Colbie Smulders and Clark Gregg were available to reprise their roles of Maria Hill and Agent Coulson, respectively. Hill and Coulson have original lines of dialogue more in line with the Lego tone. While it’s cool to have the actual lines from the movie, adhering to the script often creates awkward pauses and scenes.
For gameplay, Lego Marvel Avengers adheres to the successful formula for level design. However, surprisingly, many levels begin with a mundane introduction attempting to incorporate some of the lower Marvel characters like Coulson into the mix. Thankfully, this game includes many hub world areas for the large litany of Marvel characters to explore. It is awesome to see the Hulk rampage through New York City’s streets, leaving bricks in his wake. Kids will have tons of fun hunting down gold bricks throughout this metropolitan hub.
This game’s most glaring deficiency is its lack of online co-op. Lego has consistently chosen to leave this feature out of its entries. While the technical details of this mode could provide more trouble to the developers than it is worth, I still would’ve enjoyed to play the game with my friends online. Still, every level of the game supports local co-op that could be utilized online through share play. However, this game does not feel as collaborative as previous Lego fare. Many times, the co-op puzzles felt forced and somewhat obvious. When a puzzle tries to surprise the gamer, it often ends up in confusion rather than success. Furthermore, many of the iconic scenes only utilize one character, so the other player ends up wandering around aimlessly as an epic clash engulfs him.
While not the strongest entry in the Lego library, Lego Marvel’s Avengers will satisfy both young and old gamers through the game’s reverence of the movie source material and its addictive collect-a-thon gameplay.
The Motion Picture Club received a copy of Lego Marvel’s Avengers for the PS4 from the game’s creators.