If Lego Marvel Super Heroes has taught me anything, it’s that you should never judge a book by its cover, or a video game by its first level.
The first time I played this game, I was not the biggest fan. But then again, I was not a fan of any of the Lego video games except for the Star Wars series. I rented the game when it first came out and quickly became bored. I just couldn’t find myself picking the controller back up after beating the first level.
For whatever reason, I decided to revisit the game a few months ago and gave it another shot, and let me tell you, I am so glad that I did. I even requested the game for Christmas and have been playing it nonstop since then.
As I mentioned, the first level did not hold my interest. You control the Hulk and Iron Man as they try to stop the Abomination and Sandman from destroying parts of New York City. The game has just started and you get a feel for each of the characters’ abilities. Iron Man can shoot missiles and fly around while the Hulk can do what he does best (SMASH!). You’d think this would be fun, but for me, it was a little boring. I think it’s because the first level was full of these complicated puzzles that took me forever to figure out. Like you had to know how to use the Hulk to move a bus or how to defeat Sandman by shooting him with water. The level was more tedious than fun. All I wanted to do was smash baddies and do fun Marvel character things!
After a few levels, I started to get into the groove of things. I don’t know what it was, but the game instantly caught my interest once I changed characters. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t so restricted as I was in the first level? The game became ten-times more enjoyable once I was able to fly around the city at my own pleasure. Your main “base” is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, but you have the ability to jump off and dive into the middle of New York. From there, you can explore the world as virtually any mainstream Marvel hero you want (granted you have unlocked them).
So far, my favorite characters have to be Thor and the Beetle, though Captain America and Juggernaut are close behind. I haven’t even unlocked the full roster yet! There are 155 characters available, ranging from the Red Skull, to Galactus, to ordinary HYDRA agents. In order to unlock most of them, you have to complete mini-quests across New York. These quests can include putting out fires, smashing through walls, or even fighting a giant Lego Sentinel! Why did I ever doubt this game?
The story itself is nothing spectacular. It’s your classic “super-villain wants to collect a massive power and use it to take over the universe” plot, spearheaded by well-known characters such as Dr. Doom, Loki, Magneto, and more. Although the plot didn’t impress me, it was still amazing to see all of the Marvel heroes and villains in one place; none of this Fox/Sony/Marvel restrictive bull$%#& that has been affecting our live-action movies.
Some fans may consider this inferior to another Marvel video game from a few years back called Ultimate Alliance. That game was somewhat entertaining, but it didn’t hold well with me. I think it’s because the characters felt too small. It was like I was playing with tiny figurines instead of epic superheroes. With Lego Marvel Super Heroes, it works even though it’s a similar format. I feel like I’m actually acting as the heroes instead of moving around little mini-figs.
You often get to choose between four different heroes to complete missions, but when you’re free-playing in the city, you only get two. What I would have liked to have seen in this game is more cooperation between characters. For example, in Ultimate Alliance, you could do a combo where Iron Man shoots a laser at Captain America’s shield and uses that to wipe out enemies. It would have been awesome to see them do something like that in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, but I’m not devastated that it is absent.
Each character has his or her own cool abilities and talents, adding to the replay value. I can’t emphasize enough how fun it is to explore other heroes’ and villains’ quirks. Flying around with Thor’s hammer, tossing Captain America’s shield at multiple enemies, picking up cars and throwing them with the Hulk, torching objects as Pyro, and plowing through streets as Juggernaut are just a few of the activities you get to experience when messing with different characters.
It’s also important that you go back and replay levels with new heroes in your lineup since there are places that can only be accessed with specific powers. In one area, you can only reach a certain spot if you have a character who can manipulate metal, so you will need to revisit it with Magneto. In another area, you might need a large behemoth like the Hulk to lift something out of the way. There are countless things to do in the game and it’ll be a long time before you find yourself without anything to keep you busy.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes can be found on multiple systems and platforms. Since it was released in 2013, you can get it for a significantly reduced price on Amazon or at your local game shop. However, given the enormous replay value and the hours of enjoyable activities, it’s worth paying the full price for this outstanding game.