Also On: Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Vita, 3DS
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Lego hold’s a sweet spot in my heart and I don’t mean just the video games. Lego is something I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid and I still get excited for new game titles and interesting sets alike. When Warner first announced Lego Marvel's Avengers (I'm just going to keep it simple and just call it Lego Avengers) I was kinda let down. After how much I enjoyed Lego Marvel Super Heroes I feel it’s a bit of a step backwards to limit the story of the game to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU). With the story being limited to the MCU, I began to question; will the characters also be limited? Which films will be included? Lego Marvel Super Heroes featured a really well done original story featuring tons of characters from the Marvel universe. So Lego Avengers definitely had its work cut out to live up to the only other Lego Marvel title.
The films included in Lego Avengers (in no particular order) are: The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor 2: The Dark World, and Iron Man 3. The game essentially covers the first time the Avengers (of the movie universe) come together and then includes all the subsequent films that lead until Age of Ultron. Fans of the MCU will immediately realize the noticeable exception of the surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, which is not included. I don’t know if the developers just didn’t have enough time, if they couldn’t pay for the voice cast within their budget, or if they are saving them for some other game… either way its a glaring exclusion. Warner has also announced a season pass for the game, but the Guardian’s story is not a part of that either.
Following in the relatively new trend of Lego titles, the game has full voice overs. Most people expect this now since over the past three or so years they have all been voiced over, but Lego Avengers is still an impressive feat in my eyes. Warner was able to secure the rights for practically every character from the MCU films featured. The entire Avenger team is the original cast from the movies and for the most part it’s dialogue ripped straight from the movies, but it gives the game some extra authenticity and I think it sounds pretty good (unlike how the audio rips sound in Lego Jurassic World). I did notice a couple voices that were not the original actors and they had mixed results casting these. The Red Skull is an example of good (and easy) recasting while Bucky and Pepper Potts in my opinion was done horribly (sounded like they cast someone to play Bucky from the Comic universe not the MCU).
While on the topic of in-game audio, I also need to mention that the musical score from the Avenger films is included. I am a big fan of movie soundtracks so when Lego goes the extra mile and secures the rights for the in-game music as well, I feel it’s warranted to make mention of it. The music gives that extra bit of authenticity that makes playing through the movies just that much more enjoyable. Without it, I don’t know if I would feel as comfortable giving Lego Avengers the score I gave it. Now they don’t include the film scores from any of the other included movies, but I’m sure that had to do with keeping the game to a certain budget.
Once I started playing I really liked the way the game flowed. While going through the original Avengers movie you have a flashback level of Captain America: The First Avenger. Much later in the story you unlock the ability to play levels themed after Iron Man 3, Thor 2: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Unfortunately, these levels are treated almost like bonus levels, and I don’t feel like they put as much care into them as compared to the others. They even made comic style segments between the action rather than rendered cut scenes. It all came off kind of half-assed and lazy after seeing some of the great work they did with most of the other levels. Also, don’t even get me started on how they didn’t include a level for my boy, Ant-Man. What’s up with that?! (I know they are making a character pack for Ant-Man, but I feel a level should have been included as the game is relatively short and he does have his own feature film.)
One of the biggest selling points of the Lego Avengers is the included roster of playable characters. As I mentioned earlier, this was something I worried about prior to release. There is definitely good and bad when it comes to the over 200 large roster. I’ll start with the good: The roster is not limited to characters from the MCU and does feature some rather new comic characters (Sam Wilson as Captain America). There are tons of different Iron Man armors featured and a really cool system in place when you want to switch armors. While many of these characters were featured in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, it’s still an incredibly deep lineup with fan favorite B characters and most of the heroes/villains of the MCU.
Some of the pitfalls of the roster are: There aren't any Guardians of the Galaxy characters included (I’m sure most of you figured that out earlier in the article but I need to mention it anyway). Since this is an MCU Lego game we also lose out on Marvel characters that are featured for other studios’ films. So you won’t enjoy the tag team of Cable and Deadpool, the love triangle of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Wolverine, or the Baxter building and the Fantastic Four (even though their movie outings haven’t been anything “fantastic,” but rather terrible). Nevertheless, not having any X-Men, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, and some scattered others is a head scratching issue. My main issue with this is that these characters were featured in Lego Marvel Super Heroes so obviously a comparison will be drawn. Why not feature the characters in their comic book iteration like how many of the other characters that aren’t in any films are? This way you don’t need to acknowledge the movies that you don’t want to give any extra attention to. Well that’s enough of that rant.
Everyone knows how Lego games are played. You go through the level, collect the Lego studs and destroy EVERYTHING in your path. Some new innovations Traveller’s Tales added to Lego Avengers is the ability to do double team moves. These moves vary by which two characters are doing them and they include a really good variety of attacks. I can see this double team feature being carried forward into other Lego releases, probably expanding beyond super hero titles (I’m looking at you Lego Dimensions). There are also some new hacking style mini games that try to mix up the reputation of the stages, but towards the end of the game I was just getting annoyed at having to even do some of these. While I’m talking about the tail end of the game, I need to mention that the final few levels felt very repetitive to me and many of the tasks just felt rather tedious. It could be that I just don’t enjoy the Age of Ultron film as much as most of the other included content, but I don’t think that’s the case.
Like every other Lego title along with the huge 200 plus roster, there are tons of other collectibles to assemble (wink wink). Along with the 10 Minikits hiding in each level, there are also hub worlds to explore. Building off the New York City hub that was included in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, you can also travel to Asgard, Washington DC, one of SHIELD’s bases, and few others. Scattered in these Hubs are characters, gold bricks, missions, Stan Lee in peril (many of the Stan Lee appearances scattered throughout the game are very well done) and races. Needless to say there is still plenty to do once you finish the main story of the game.
Overall is Lego Avengers the best Lego superhero game? Sadly, it’s not and it’s not even the best Lego Marvel title. But does that mean it’s a bad game? Absolutely not; Lego Avengers is still a blast to play through and relive the MCU’s most recent films while also collecting tons of other Marvel characters and exploring all different locations. If you haven’t played Lego Marvel Super Heroes, I would advise you to pick that up first unless you’re a fanatic about the Marvel films. Either way suit up for some of Lego’s mightiest heroes.