It seems people just can’t get enough of smashing things into brightly coloured fragments of plastic these days. Having covered everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to Doctor Who, the Lego video game franchise has grabbed onto just about any big name franchise it could get its hands on. However, with this latest one, you’d be forgiven for starting to get just a little tired of the series’ gimmicks.
Ultimately this follows many of the same tropes and concepts as LEGO Marvel Superheroes, albeit with a more dedicated focus upon open world exploration. Rather than some of the more enclosed mission environments or villain lairs from the past games, players are expected to navigate the vast realms of the films. Along with familiar home-base of the Helicarrier, the high fantasy bastions of Asgard and Black Panther’s home turf help to add a little more flavour here, offering a broader variety of visuals for anyone tired of the grey New York skylines. While they ultimately boil down to the same series of construction quests and punching henchmen until they explode, the fact that they’re given a lick of paint goes some way to help keep things fresh.
Equally, the new ensemble of heroes break away from the traditional figures we’ve come to expect with Kamala Khan, Sam Wilson as Captain America and unfortunately the relentlessly shilled She-Thor all putting in an appearance. While those hoping for a few of the more truly obscure heroes from the 80s and 90s will be left disappointed, their presence at least helps to give the impression of the developer making full use of the source material.
Unfortunately, once you break past the new figures and new colours, you’re mostly left with the same game as before. A smoother running and somewhat better looking game to be sure, but if you’re starting to get tired of the same old experience, this isn’t going to change your mind. No one would be asking for them to reinvent the brick here, but with the perpetual simplicity of the puzzles and the brain-dead AI, there’s little real challenge or push for real improvement of the game’s core mechanics. The addition of Ubisoft open world clichés hardly helps matters and combined with the usual problems, it can make for a slow, ponderous experience.
Ultimately, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is unremarkable. It suffers from the Dynasty Warriors syndrome of splitting people down the middle, and you’re either going to love the variety, ideas and jokes or you’re going to be left wondering why so little has really changed since last time. Give it a look if the thought of a giant brick-built Hulk still gets a smirk out of you, but otherwise give it a pass.
LEGO MARVEL’S AVENGERS / DEVELOPER: TT FUSION / PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 3, PLAYSTATION 4, PLAYSTATION VITA, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, WII U, / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW