Comic book movies have been around for decades, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe took the genre to a new level upon the release of Iron Man in 2008, aiming for a connected movie universe unlike any that had come before it. After numerous failures to bring the MCU to video games, TT Games is now getting their chance with a very faithful adaptation in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.
The LEGO brand of games has been very prolific over the last decade or so, bringing properties like Star Wars, Batman, and many others to life in LEGO form. The gameplay found in these games has been relatively simple, as you traverse a variety of different locations with various characters that have special sets of skills. Along the way, you must fight enemies and get past obstacles by solving puzzles that often require a little bit of thinking.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers follows the same pattern as previous LEGO outings, including the usage of an open world hub area that you can explore much like the previous LEGO Marvel game utilized. Essentially it does not try to break any new ground here. The characters must still fight enemies and solve puzzles while advancing through a variety of different locations, though the diverse set of skills from the different heroes is pretty vast. This can lead to some tedious gameplay in long gaming sessions, even with the changing between characters. However, what really makes this game special is the connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the ability to play through recreations of many of the scenes in the more recent movies.
As the name of the game would suggest, the major focus here is on The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, both of which get almost fully recreated. All of the major scenes have been LEGOfied through either gameplay or cutscenes, with a few of the usual LEGO twists thrown in for many of them. The game even goes as far as to recreate the mid-credits and post-credits scenes, which shows the dedication to being as exact as possible. Beyond those two films, the game also features sections based on a few other movies, though they are much more condensed.
As the only non-Avengers movie from Phase 1, Captain America: The First Avenger has a two part section that pops up in a perfect spot during the Avengers section. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier also have their own sections, though they are more standalone missions that are relatively short. While these are not to the level of the two Avengers recreations, these segments are still very faithful to the source material and give players the chance to experience something a little different than the hero teamups.
While the main focus is on the story missions based on the different movies, there is also an open world aspect of the game that gives you a lot more freedom. During the main story, you will visit some of these areas, but the free play mode is where you will get the most out of the open world locations. The largest of these by far is Manhattan, with much smaller areas like Washington DC and Asgard also being available, though those are more closed off, while still offering a number of side missions for you.
Within each of these, you will have a large city to explore while collecting new characters, gold bricks, and much more. You can even just fly around the city as Iron Man or Thor for awhile, or commandeer vehicles from the street and drive them around the town. The story mode offers players a very respectable game length on its own, but these extra areas really add a lot of longevity and replay value to this game that will have players coming back for much more.
Unlike the previous LEGO Marvel Super Heroes that was based on just the properties of Marvel as a whole, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is specifically based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which certainly does lead to some restrictions in the character roster. Pretty much any character from the MCU was fair game to be included here, with a ton of playable characters. There are even a lot of characters that have not been introduced like the new Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl, but you won’t see any sign of characters like Spider-Man or the X-Men unfortunately. This may be disappointing for many that loved the variety found in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes beyond the MCU, but the game gives players anything they could want from the movie universe and more with the selection that is provided.
Taking a cue from games like last year’s LEGO Jurassic World, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers includes actual voice clips from the movies it is based upon. With the caliber of actors that are in the Marvel films, it would have been near impossible to get them in to record new dialogue without paying a fortune, so instead the developers do a fantastic job at interweaving the actual clips from the movies throughout. Getting a few actors like Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) to record new voice clips greatly helps to bridge the gap between the movie dialogue, though some of the actual recast roles left a little to be desired.
Gives gamers anything they could want from the movie universe and more
The voice acting wasn’t the only thing connecting it to the movies either, as they also used parts of the movie score as well. The Avengers soundtracks may not be anywhere near as iconic as series like Star Wars, but it still is very effective in its use throughout LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. The main theme from The Avengers is used a good bit and is just as wonderful to listen to here in the game as it is in the movie.
While the sound mix in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is spot on, there were some technical bugs in the gameplay itself that caused some issues while playing. As with all the LEGO games, there are occasional moments where one character gets stuck on an object or something. One flaw that pretty much every LEGO game has had is the spotty switching between characters, as it is not always the most accurate, especially when controlling four characters at once.
While this can still be an issue here, the main problem was a specific bug that happened a few different times where it became impossible to switch between characters after a random point in a level. With specific characters being necessary to advance past certain sections in a stage, this made it impossible to continue without exiting to the main menu and coming back, which forced you to go back to the last save point at the start of that area.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was one of the most ambitious ventures in film history and the gamble was well worth it, which LEGO Marvel’s Avengers capitalizes on very well with the charm and humor you come to expect in these games. Like most LEGO games, the developer plays is relatively safe with the gameplay, but it is still a lot of fun to play through these very faithful recreations of many of the MCU films, complete with real audio clips from the movies. Even with a few technical bugs, the immense replay value and number of playable characters in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is bound to provide near countless hours of fun for kids and adults alike as a perfect companion to the Marvel movies.
LEGO Marvel's Avengers
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, 3DS, PC
- Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developed By: TT Games
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- US Release Date: January 26th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "Capitalizing on the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, LEGO Marvel's Avengers is what you'd expect in a LEGO game, complete with tons of playable characters and a lot of replay value."
- Faithful adaptations of the MCU
- Real audio clips from movies
- Humor and charm everywhere
- Tons of replay value
- Plays it safe
- Few technical bugs