Lego is evergreen, the actual bricks have seem many changes over the years and so have the videogames. While the formula is relatively unchanged the production values are constantly scaling up, the writing while not always hitting the mark is often funny and even though the games are targeted to the younger side of the market, an adult can appreciate some of the jokes and tongue in cheek approach to big franchises.
Taking a host of Marvel characters for a spin seems to have been a long time coming, on the back of movie tie-ins and the DC related games its nice to get to grips with this universe. With the domination of Marvel superhero movies still being current and ongoing there is no doubt that the characters hit home with a sizeable audience. They are not just carbon copies of each other either, every character wielding their own moves and tricks that are personally relevant to them and within a simple set of controls. It’s intuitive, very quickly.
Playing on PS4 doesn’t exactly stretch the fresh next generation hardware which is as you would expect, but it is really shiny to look at. The graphics are crisp, the models suitable glossy and apart from that it could well be playing on a PS3 or Xbox360.
Sticking to tried and tested Lego formula the player finds themselves dropped into levels with narrative selected characters, bash bricks all the way to the end, solve puzzles and beat a end of level Boss. There’s no need to change it, it works in all scenarios, what keeps it fresh is the variety of familiar environments and the roster of characters. Of course once a level is complete it is unlocked for a return with characters that are required to bypass certain areas or puzzles, this does add some replayability if it doesn’t annoy you too much. It may just be the logic in my head, but there are a some puzzles that just don’t seem obvious for the younger gamers and that’s as far as I’m going to go there.
While the narrative driven levels tread the familiar trail, there is another aspect which is plenty of fun in itself. The hub world of Lego Marvel is a free roaming New York City, complete with a scattering of tasks, challenges and collectibles, it is a big bag of adventure to explore. It might not be perfect, but for a fairly free environment to let younger players loose in, it fits the bill perfectly and as somebody with a burgeoning pair of super heroes desperate for some couch co-op we couldn’t be happier.
This Lego game is far and away the most enjoyable I’ve played, even the more popular titles of the franchise have often left me disinterested pretty quickly, not really sure why, but this one works and I keep coming back to it. Having familiar and favourite characters to play with, all of which have apt abilities and with some exceptions reasonably faithful voice acting helps. Also swapping out the regular sized characters for over sized characters like Hulk or Thing adds a dimension, some puzzles need the gargantuan characters and besides which mindlessly smashing a hundred cars for a trophy is a pleasant pastime with the jolly green giant. Besides who can turn down a play session with a Lego Punisher, Deadpool, Wolverine or even Stan Lee himself.