The Lego video game franchise has been chugging along since 2005, when Lego Star Wars first debuted. The newest game in the line of "Lego meets blank" is the Marvel universe. This marks the 14th game Lego has released in this crossover series, and one that many people have been really amped for. But this begs the question, has the Lego video game format gotten stale or are the games still fun? We got to check out Lego Marvel Superheroes for the Wii U, and here's our first impressions.
What Lego Marvel Superheroes really boils down to is the classic battle of good versus evil. Cosmic blocks, made up of Silver Surfer's board, are scattered across the globe. Loki and other big names from the Marvel Universe are scrambling to get them because they're incredibly powerful and bad guys love power. It's up to heroes of the Marvel Universe to stop them.
You'll end up chasing down classic villains throughout the Marvel Universe in some familiar places like the Baxter Building, Hydra Headquarters, Stark Tower, and even the Marvel building in NYC where you battle The Vulture and Howard the Duck. That's right. Howard the Duck is in this game. What sets this game apart from the others is the fact that in between levels, you have all of New York City to explore. The open-world gaming here is a lot of fun, but horrible for people with A.D.D.-gaming. There's lots of options, in-between levels. You can fly up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, unlock side missions when you collect enough gold bricks, search for unlockable characters, or even just smash things as the Hulk for fun. Lego Marvel Superheroes takes the things that really worked in Lego City Undercover and expands on them, making the replay value of this game incredibly high.
The Wii U experience is going to be quite different than playing the game for any other system because of the fact that the Wii U features the second screen on the controller. There's a few different ways to use it. The first way is to use it to quick switch to another character on your team. This comes in handy when hitting the X button doesn't always give you the character you want. The second way is to actually play the full game on the second screen. Again, this comes in handy, especially when someone else in your household wants to catch up on something like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The last way, and one of our personal favorites is that the second screen becomes the map of the area you're in. This comes in handy when you're searching the city for unlockables and the map on your television isn't detailed enough. Lego Marvel Superheroes utilizes the Wii U controller incredibly well.
The replay value is extremely high with this game. You can't collect everything on your first playthrough, so you'll need to beat the level, unlock more characters, and come back for freeplay mode, and for the most part, the levels are so much fun that it doesn't seem like a task. It's more than a pleasure to play these levels all over again. Plus, who doesn't want to unlock EVERYTHING in this game? There's so many different characters, levels, and places to go that you'll be glued to your seat for weeks.
One thing that really stood out was the voice acting. There's a ton of familiar voices throughout the cut scenes and gameplay here. Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Coulson, and John DiMaggio comes in to do a slew of voices, including Galactus, whom he played on the Hulk Agents of SMASH cartoon. Also included in this game are Phil LaMarr (Blade, Gambit, and War Machine), Tara Strong (Squirrel Girl), Will Friedle (Archangel, Nova, and Rick Jones) and returning is the man who truly has been the voice of Wolverine for the past few years, Steve Blum. There's lots of variety in the voices here, and it makes comic nerds, like myself, very happy.
The game isn't without its faults though. Switching between characters, in battle, can sometimes be a hassle, especially when you're looking for a specific character to complete a puzzle. On top of that, the AI of your other teammates is incredibly stupid. You'd assume that the rest of your team should follow you around, but so many times, they're stuck in another part of the level, just running in place or they can't make the easiest of jumps. These are the two most frustrating parts of this game.
As always, with Lego games, you will come to a point where you just have no clue what to do. It happen a few times while playing throughout story mode. On occasion, a box will pop up either giving you a hint or telling you what to do for a certain puzzle, but there were actually a few times where the puzzle blended in way too well with the rest of the scenery, so you couldn't really figure out what to do next.
Lastly, one minor problem that irked me with every level was that Stan Lee's "Excelsior" was the loudest thing in the game. When you get to 100% of collecting the little pegs, his voice screams through the television like Banshee's voice. It was the most terrifying part of the game.
This was a series I thought was done. I didn't think they could make another really good Lego game, since the past few, aside from Undercover, never really won me over. That being said, Lego Marvel Superheroes may be the best of the franchised Lego games. As a comic fan, I actually enjoyed this game more than Lego City Undercover, which was a crowning achievement in Lego games. Sure, this game is, in a sense, more of the same. You know what you're getting into when you pick it up; however, Lego Marvel Superheroes takes all the things that worked in previous Lego games and raises the bar. It's a good mixture of the 616 Universe and the Movie Universe to give fans of the comics and films a warm, fuzzy feeling. If you're on the fence about whether or not to pick this game up, come over to the fun side and give it a shot. Overall, I highly recommend this game, unless you hate fun.
Lego Marvel Superheroes is available for the Xbox360, PS3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and PC. It will also be available for the Xbox One and PS4.